Until quite recently, the narrative that e-commerce was replacing brick and mortar stores was widely accepted. After all, with the remarkable growth in online shopping over the past decade, it seemed like just a matter of time before the ease and flexibility of shopping online put physical stores out of business. Recent studies, however — like this one from Rutgers University — have cast doubt on these assumptions. While e-commerce is here to stay, it doesn’t mean traditional storefronts and shopping malls are a thing of the past.
Instead, there is growing synergy between the two models. Online retailers are opening physical shops, and physical shops are increasingly selling their goods online as well. This has, however, created other challenges: with literally thousands of independent retail businesses competing for attention, each with their own website and sales process, shoppers can start to feel overwhelmed by the options.
The New Face Of Shopping Sites
Smart shoppers have always invested time in comparing items from different retailers to find the best deal. But it can be extremely time-consuming to compare prices across dozens if not hundreds of different websites, and signing up and logging in to each website every time you want to make a purchase doesn’t help. Instead, many online shoppers settle on a couple of go-to retailers, who may not offer the most competitive prices for every item.
Price comparison sites, like Yroo.com are setting out to change all that. Price comparison sites act as a bridge between online shoppers and these retail outlets, allowing consumers to compare the prices of a variety of items to find the best option at the best price. In this way, price comparison sites function like a sort of virtual mall, bringing different outlets into a closer proximity to facilitate more informed decision-making on the part of the shopper.
This isn’t the only service price comparison sites provide. In addition to giving consumers the opportunity to compare options from different retailers, some have apps that offer enhanced features to give shoppers insight into how the price of a particular item is fluctuating. Shoppers can watch the price for an item they are interested in through graphs that chart general increases or decreases over the month. If the price is rising, they may choose to buy it as soon as possible or to wait until it starts to fall. Conversely, they can hold out on buying an item if its price is falling and secure a better deal. This feature essentially allows shoppers to find out when the best time to buy an item is, and the app will even help process the data by flagging particularly good deals.
Some of the more sophisticated price comparison apps also offer shoppers the option to favorite products and receive notifications when they go on sale. This takes a lot of the stress out of shopping, as it allows you to create a wish list of items you want to keep an eye on and send you an automatic reminder when one of these items goes on sale. Not only does this save time, it helps shoppers plan for major expenses. If you know you will need to replace your refrigerator at some point in the next year, you can favorite particular makes and models you are interested in, and wait for notification that they have gone on sale.
E-commerce is set to become a $460 billion industry in 2018 and this represents a steady increase over 2016 and 2017. Industry watchers suggest this growth is only going to continue in the next five years, which is indicative of our changing shopping habits. While most Americans don’t want to see brick and mortar stores disappear, they also want to utilize the best online tools to reduce their own expenses. Online marketplaces open up new opportunities for businesses of all sizes, and the competition they allow for drives down prices to meet every shopper’s needs.
At no point in history have shoppers had so many options available to them. But this range of choice comes with problems of its own. Price comparison sites are increasingly carving out an important role in giving shoppers access to the best prices from across the web because they provide an elegant solution to this problem. As online shopping becomes more and more integrated with the rest of our lives, the role price comparison sites play in our shopping habits is likely to become more prominent.
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