Comparison shopping


December 13, 2013 by wizeblogmin

Wize Commerce® CEO Jeff Katz recently spoke with Forbes about Price Machine™, "a new and powerful tool for budget shoppers where they know they can come to get a fair deal." 

Read the article.

Wize Commerce® CEO Jeff Katz recently spoke with Forbes about Price Machine™, "a new and powerful tool for budget shoppers where they know they can come to get a fair deal."  Read the article.

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November 14, 2013 by wizeblogmin

The latest site from Wize Commerce®, Price Machine™, recently unveiled a brand new look, as well as some exciting new features like the Fair Price Curve™. 

Read about the Price Machine 2.0 launch.

The latest site from Wize Commerce®, Price Machine™, recently unveiled a brand new look, as well as some exciting new features like the Fair Price Curve™.  Read about the Price Machine 2.0 launch.

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November 11, 2013 by wizeblogmin

Wize Commerce® CEO Jeff Katz recently appeared on Bloomberg TV’s "Bottom Line." Katz spoke about the launch of our comparison-shopping site Price Machine™ and how its features, like Fair Price™, help buyers save money on everything from "refrigerators to socks." 

Watch the interview.

Wize Commerce® CEO Jeff Katz recently appeared on Bloomberg TV’s "Bottom Line." Katz spoke about the launch of our comparison-shopping site Price Machine™ and how its features, like Fair Price™, help buyers save money on everything from "refrigerators to socks."  Watch the interview.

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October 24, 2013 by wizeblogmin

In last week’s blog post, we kicked off Part I of our Microwave Mission, in which Diana and I took advantage of the fact that I needed a new microwave to test the plethora of options available to consumers looking to make a purchase online.

In addition to using Wize Commerce® sites like Nextag, Price Machine, and Wize, we tested the "Big Two" – Amazon and Google – as well as a number of sites run by traditional brick and mortar retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, and Home Depot.

But, before I get to the winner, there’s one more factor to consider. No analysis of the online shopping experience is complete without comparing it to the in-store experience, given that this is still how the vast majority of people make their purchases.

The In-Store Experience

Diana executed this part of the mission, and she found the in-store shopping experience helpful for making her smarter about the various functions of a microwave – for example, if you care about cooking quality you really want a microwave with "inverter technology" – and to get a better feel for sizes and cosmetic polish.

She also found that none of the retailer apps were uniquely helpful in the store. Target did a good job of helping you locate the proper store aisle, and Best Buy’s store map was similarly useful, but in the store it’s still about feet, eyes, touch, and hoping to speak with a skilled store associate. Simply put, Home Depot had them and Target did not.

The takeaway is two-fold: First, apps have a long way to go before they’ll truly be enhancing the in-store shopping experience. Comparison shopping is just easier to do from your chair and with a big monitor or tablet.

And second, there are definite advantages to shopping in-store, but the experience can obviously vary widely depending not only on what retailer you’re visiting, but what specific store you’re in.

The Winner

So, who won?

First, a disclaimer: Admittedly, we’re biased, but we tried to conduct our analysis as impartially as we could, and our determination was made only based on the results we generated from our comprehensive approach to the online shopping experience.

Diana felt that the Wize Commerce sites were the clear winner. In particular, Price Machine’s unbiased results and massive product catalog really stood out.

For me, Wize worked wonderfully: I needed a reasonable way to filter hundreds of various kinds of sizes, finishes, brands, price ranges, and merchant choices into a few good choices. I found the Wize score and the ability to zoom in and quickly survey reviews, price history, and popularity very helpful. It’s also elegant, has a slick design, and is simple to use. It helped me quickly make a good, informed decision.

Overall, it’s fair to say that we learned a lot through this exercise. By searching on a number of sites I was able to zero in on brands, price ranges, technical specifications, and merchants that would make my "buy" list. There’s no denying that both Amazon and Google will continue to be in the arsenal of most online shoppers – they are fast and well-designed experiences.

But while Google and Amazon may be a good place to start the purchasing process, I think most "comparison shoppers" will get at-best a high-level portion of their requirements from those sites (good though they are) as long as Google continues to favor its ad-oriented business model and as long as Amazon continues to focus on being America’s favorite retailer.

With that in mind, I truly think that all of the Wize Commerce family of sites came out as winners in this experiment. They represent good choices for different classes of shoppers who want to compare and be smarter before they buy. There is little doubt that all of our sites are better for comparison shoppers than retail, and I think we can make sure our site experience evolves to a point where most consumers leave our sites and apps happy, satisfied, and ready to buy – ultimately that is good for the consumer, and good for the thousands of merchants we serve as the largest independent comparison shopping platform company.

Oh, and by the way, we ended up purchasing the Panasonic Genius using Price Machine for just under $177.

In last week’s blog post, we kicked off Part I of our Microwave Mission, in which Diana and I took advantage of the fact that I needed a new microwave to test the plethora of options available to consumers looking to make a purchase online. In addition to using Wize Commerce® sites like Nextag, Price…

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October 16, 2013 by wizeblogmin

We’ve been talking a lot over the past few months about Price Machine and how it fulfills important customer needs that other CSEs and online retailers had previously failed to address – most notably, that it allows users to search for the best prices without the bias towards favored advertisers or merchants that is par for the course with other sites.

This sounds great in theory, but what about in practice? Well, like any CEO worth his or her salt, I need to put my money where my mouth is – so when my old microwave oven died a few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to do just that.

The Mission

I thought it would be both fun and instructive to compare our sites and apps against those of our competitors to help guide my purchasing process. At Wize Commerce, we have conducted significant research into how the average shopper looks for products before committing to make a purchase online, and we wanted to follow this process to learn firsthand how it works and how it might be improved.

I wanted the replacement microwave to fit on my countertop space, have a capacity of 1.5-2.2 cubic feet, and come with a look and finish that matched my preference for contemporary styling – and I was open to any brand name at a reasonable price point.

So, I enlisted my assistant Diana Tejo to help, and with that, we started our mission.

The Methodology

Like most shoppers, we decided to use a mix of sites. First, we searched the obvious “Big Two” – Amazon and Google – and we decided to explore a number of other retailer sites, including Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, and Home Depot, just as our research suggests most shoppers do. Finally, we used our CSE competitors’ sites like Pricegrabber and Shopzilla, as well as our own offerings like Nextag and Price Machine.  

The Competition

Many people in the e-commerce industry don’t realize that the bulk of our direct competitors aren’t actually comparison shopping sites. Rather, shoppers go to brand name retailer sites, as well as Google, to seek information and to accumulate price comparison factoids.

Amazon is by far the best-known site. We all know and love it. It has very satisfying capabilities, but it has a clear merchandising strategy that is not truly about comparison shopping. So while it’s easy to find and purchase a great product, it’s difficult to know if it’s actually the right product (or the right price) for you. 

I found shopping on Google an illuminating experience: It has big images and an easy-to-navigate layout, and it’s the largest and arguably best search engine in the world. But it’s also not a comparison shopping site, and its ad-driven business model is evident in all searches. In other words, if you want to find the lowest price on Google it’s at least two extra clicks away, with some scrolling in between.

So how did retailers like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Target fare? While they all offer different experiences, they were all equally frustrating. Wal-Mart defaults to a view for the Wal-Mart customer in which low price and generic brands often ranked near the top of the results (a $38 microwave? Really?). Home Depot features a very orange-colored design with a page layout that compresses the results so that more scrolling is required to really understand your options. And, Target puts a priority on their merchandising strategy – i.e. promoting “temporary price cuts” rather than overall user experience.

In other words, none of these sites distinguished themselves for online comparison shoppers. Sure, they’re functional and they fit with their retail brand approach, but after searching multiple sites I was not much smarter – just much more tired.

Using Wize Commerce Sites

For the next step in our Microwave Mission, we used Nextag (and its App), Wize, Appliance Shopping, and Price Machine. We found that in terms of functionality and comprehensiveness, Nextag was very useful if you’re a serious shopper and want to learn about various products, prices, and merchants.

But Price Machine was the real standout. We found it to be very strong relative to Amazon, Google, and without exception strong relative to retailer sites (and our competitor CSE’s).

The Fair Price reference is a simple way to help you grasp a vast assortment of options and understand if the product is selling at a good price. It is the only site that is not de-normalized, and its six column format allows you to view multiple products at a single glance. Furthermore, its neutrality towards merchants makes it simple to see all the products and prices – not just those that paid for the visibility.

The best part is, this site will get substantially better in the months ahead as we continue to make improvements.

And the winner is…

So which site reigned supreme? How did CSEs compare to traditional online retailers? Well, you’ll have to check back next week for the second and final installment of our Microwave Mission. I’ll discuss how Wize Commerce sites stacked up against the competition (and the in-store experience), what lessons we learned, and – most importantly – declare a winner.

We’ve been talking a lot over the past few months about Price Machine and how it fulfills important customer needs that other CSEs and online retailers had previously failed to address – most notably, that it allows users to search for the best prices without the bias towards favored advertisers or merchants that is par…

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