By some estimates, 94 percent of online shoppers will invest at least some time comparing prices before they make a buying decision. That comparison process often takes shoppers to as many as four different online retailers and a price comparison engine or two, but now one vendor is offering a widget that puts your competitors’ prices right on your product pages.
The idea behind WinBuyer’s Onsite Comparison Pricing (OCP) is simple. By showing shoppers your price and your competitors’ prices, you have the potential to stop them from wandering to another site in search of a better prices, and even when your price is not the lowest they may still buy for the sake of convenience. If prices are very similar, consumers often buy at the last store they visit during the comparison process. It is WinBuyer’s simple, gutsy idea and smooth execution of that idea that moved me to award the free service three and a half out of a possible five stars in this “The PeC Review.”
“The PeC Review” is my weekly column aimed at introducing you to the products or services that have the potential to improve your business. This week, let’s take a look at WinBuyer.
A “Miracle” Idea
To a great extent, the WinBuyer OCP solution reminds me of the long popular 1947 Christmas movie, Miracle on 34th Street. In that film, the “real” Santa Claus ends up working at Macy’s Department Store in New York City, playing “Santa.” With a little girl bouncing on his knee, the real Santa suggests that the child’s mother go to archrival Gimbel’s to purchase some skates for the little one. Macy’s is very mad at first but there is so much positive feedback from customers that all of the Macy’s staff begins recommending competitors when those competitors are offering a better deal or a better product—and sales boom.
WinBuyer is working on a similar premise, which can be just as effective in online retail as it was in the movie. Put another way, you are offering a customer a further service, building more trust, and giving them a reason to come back again and again.
Oh, And You Can Still Get Paid
In Miracle on 34th Street, Macy’s boosted its business by building customer trust. But when a customer did go over to Gimbel’s store, there was nothing in it for Macy’s except goodwill. In the WinBuyer model, Gimbel’s would have sent Macy’s a revenue sharing check.
The WinBuyer OCP solution is tied into affiliate marketing, so when customers do decide to go elsewhere to make a purchase, WinBuyer will pass a portion—typically half—of the affiliate revenue back to you. This revenue sharing will in no way offset your sale, but it is another revenue source while you build trust and brand with your customers.
WinBuyer makes all of its money on the affiliate revenue, which is why it’s free to you. However, I would have preferred a business model wherein WinBuyer charged a small monthly fee, say $19.95, and offered a further service, like dynamic pricing, that ensured that my price was one of the lowest, but that is not the case.
A Price Advantage Does Help
This solution works best when you have the lowest price. Overstock, which is one of the leaders in online retail, often has lower prices on items and makes extensive use of the WinBuyer OCP solution on its site.
Because it is so easy, you can do a lot of testing to see if the solution is really right for your store and your product line. For example, if you sell a niche product or service, the OCP solution probably won’t have any comparison data to share.
The WinBuyer OCP solution is a compelling way to build trust and loyalty with your customers. I especially like that the solution is easy to implement and easy to test, so that you don’t have to invest a lot of money or time into learning if it works for your business.
I do need to point out, again, that WinBuyer gets paid when you don’t make a sale, which does bother me a little bit. (Remember WinBuyers’ revenue comes from affiliate programs that only pay off when someone clicks away from your site.) But I still believe that the Miracle approach can be successful for some online merchants, which is why I awarded WinBuyer three and a half out of a possible five stars in this “The PeC Review.”