The absence of a chance to touch and feel the product paints a picture of obscurity in the minds of e-shoppers. This is where comparative analysis comes into play. Internet technology has made it possible for retailers to install handy product comparison tools that aids the ultimate purchase decision. Of the many attributes of a product that can be analyzed, Pathwwway Gaming believe that the important few include:
- Technical and non-technical features of the product must be provided in the comparative analysis
- Price comparison enables customers to shop safe and also satisfy themselves as to buying the right value for money.
- Dimensions, weight. These quantified attributes will help the customer estimate the fairness of shipping costs and also to estimate space availability at home or office for housing the product.
- After sales warranty. It might so happen that a product may be priced a little higher but is justified in terms of extended warranty periods, which is very important in making the right decision.
Choose the best from an ocean of options for product comparison
The bottom-line for any ecommerce business to use the comparison tools is to maximize conversion and customer retention. There are many options recommended by Pathwwway Gaming available today on the internet that can be customized according to specific needs of the online enterprise.
- com is the product evaluation tool in use when one shops in eBay. It provides a holistic comparison of product features and prices.
- Price Grabber. The tool enables online shoppers to compare search and compare millions of products and their online ratings.
- Nextag is another shopper-friendly product evaluation tool where customers get to compare the products of hundreds of participating merchants with absolute transparency.
A new ecommerce merchant is at his odds in figuring out the best way to optimize his investment in deploying product comparison tools. Following these best practices before choosing the right comparison tool or a combination thereof will optimize the spend and gear up conversion rates.
#1 Ensure “add to cart” option is provided
The ultimate action is adding one or more of the products to the shopping cart. Most enterprises make the mistake of not having an “add to cart” button in the comparison table or having it a non-prominent location. Customers may have to navigate back to the previous page to order the shortlisted items.
#2 The compare button must be strategically located
The compare button is the starter for product and feature comparison and must be placed strategically. Pushing it to the leftmost corner will further the risk of not noticing the button at all and will result in under-utilization of the product comparison tool. The prospect of conversion also gets reduced if this value-added feature does not stimulate response from customers.
#3 Make the most of sort and filter tools
Many product evaluation tools do not provide flexible options for customers to choose those factors that they need to compare the products with. For example a drop down menu with list of comparison criteria will save the customer from going through attributes that he does not want to compare. The comparison table is the best place to use sort and filter tools.
#4 Include customer ratings in the comparison tables
While all other features comparisons are passive, only peer feedback has the active power of instigating referral marketing. Customer rating (average of stars secured by the product) must necessarily feature in the product evaluation table, so that customers can choose a product that has earned the trust of maximum number of customers.
#5 Focus on table design
The table design is of prime importance. The grid must provide visual appeal and ease of readability for customers. The table must not look long and cluttered. Expand or collapse option is a must. Providing too much technical information will dampen customer attention. There must be appropriate links to product detail. The table must include thumbnail figures of products in good size, since customers may not remember the product title.
#6 Do not narrow down list of products to be displayed
When a customer finds that there is no ‘compare option’ available for a product chosen, it raises a question of credibility. When the ecommerce enterprise opts for using product evaluation, it cannot do it piecemeal and must ensure that all available products lend themselves for comparison. Pitfalls like these are responsible for the ‘shopping cart stage abandonment syndrome’ that is so common in ecommerce.
#7 Enhance sharability options
The tool must have provisions for easy transferability of the comparison tables. Options to print, save and email the tables must be available so that the whole exercise adds up retentive value in the minds of clients. Some customers have poor recall and would like to retain a hard copy of the comparison table for a future decision.
#8 Incorporate comparison in search and category pages
While choosing a comparative tool, the enterprise has to ensure that different products are compared on the search pages. This will be a value added initiative that will ensure that the Google SERPs do not merely reflect your shop address and location, but gives factual information as well.
#9 Provide options for highlighting
Customers like to mark both similarities and dissimilarities, before they make comparative evaluation. The tool must allow customers to highlight areas of their choice so that they do not have to bother keeping in mind the criteria they have considered earlier.
#10 Close button should be prominent
The chosen tool must enable easy closure of the feature analysis table or page, so that customers are saved from the bother of finding them. Many ecommerce businesses end up placing the close button inconspicuously much to the ire of customers, who waste time searching for it.
A final word of caution is that ecommerce enterprises need not get over-enthusiastic on feature or product evaluation platform and embed the tools just for the sake of it. Product that are not largely differentiated or when the product listing itself is more than adequate to present facts, a product evaluation table may add only little value.