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I'm just wondering if it's been your experience that people shop price alone, or if other factors come into play. If so, what would those factors be?
I've also noticed that many of the sites that have their product listed with a lower price make up the difference in high shipping costs, which the customer doesn't realize until the end of the checkout process. One online merchant does a bait-and-switch, posting one price in the search results but, when you get to the site, you find that the price is for a different model, and the price for the model advertised is 25% higher.
At any rate, opinions are much appreciated.
Most of the "Cheap" shops in froogle are going to have HUGE shipping fees.
I see it all the time.. a 79.00 item lest for 40.00 and then a 35.00 shipping charge while at another store you can see it for 59.95 + 7.95 shipping charge (which comes out to less) but if all you look at is the price they show its probably wrong (or too good to be true as they saying goes!)
Search is also important. Customers search for "plurals" (e.g. Widgets, not Widget), they misspell, they phrase things funny, and they use slang in their searches. You must correctly handle these cases. Full-text searching is required, not just SQL LIKE '%searchTerm%' matches.
Regarding high shipping rates, the average internet shopper has a sense for what is "fair" for shipping costs. They will not hesitate to click away the moment they think you're trying to gouge them.
"I bet if you keep looking the price is almost the same in the end."
But the OP in this situation will be at a disadvantage, because when customers come do a comparison shopping, they do it at the pre-add-to-cart stage, and given that the few sites selling the widgets, with everything being equal(no bad, good reputation), he will lose the sale.
Web-savvy shoppers will spot the high shipping scheme, and will perhas abandon cart, but there are so many human logic factor that comes into play when it comes to the check out process, that lower product prices will make more sales. Given everything being equal, again.
Also consider that the competitor can use an additioanl "lowest price GUARANTEED" hook, and he will attract the bulk of the market pie.
I do not have a positive solutions to contribute to dickbaker though.. the optimal solution would be Branding, but achieving that is a very long flight of stairs ...
How would you know, if your competitor also offers great customer service? We all know the power of viral marketing. That amounts to a good percentage of sales referral in an ecommerce site. Putting other considerations aside, and given equal customer service, the site with more sales will gain more referral chances, thus more future sales thus referrals etc etc.
I referred the above point, with a strong emphasis on leaving out other considerations. Now..it's these considerations we should explore, in how to establish the OP as the industry leader.
are there reviews, not just in general, but for the item, or similiar items which ensures you that there are people who hapilly bought the item(s) you want from the site. will your purchase be delivered on time, properly shipped. Is the image of the product a stock photo or a real life photo.
IS THE ITEM ACTUALLY IN STOCK - a good indication is if you put a qty of 100 of the item in your cart, do you really think the company is going to have 100 to give to you? they would have to wait for their "suppliers" to give them 100 units, probably off the boat from china and you, wait....... a long wait --- check their shipping policy - e-tailers should ship out the next day if they are cataloging their "stock"
basically, a bigger site, like amazon, will gain the most trust, thus conversion, simply because their big. You know that they do enough volume to have a smooth fulfillment, and extras.
My unique gifts site offers 9 choices of free designer giftwrap, simply because we do enough volume to offer it. a little ma and pa cant afford to offer that when they do 1 sale a week with their small site.
id say that price is just a prerequisite to choosing a site that represents a large volume or share of the product-market you are seeking.
Your homepage, category page and product page are what can stand you out amongst your competition. What kind of additional reassuarance, guarantee or confidence can you add to these page to outdo them(I'm not talking about hackersafe stuff..)? Or do you have better content to offer? Do you sell blender, and placed up a video that uses your blender to grind up your brand new IPhone?
How do you spread out the message, that you are the LEADING choice, for your niche's widgets?