Overcoming Ecommerce Pain Points: Why Using Your Competitors Prices Builds Trust

The question of the day is: how can you as a E-tailer make a huge difference by tweaking one thing?

First of all, be transparent.

Some research suggests that all you have to do is be nice to your competitors. That sounds awkward!

How do I do that?

How to Design for Trust: Show Prices, Less Effort

Malerie Grifts and Jeraldo Häubs from the University of Alberta had students searching for 8 book titles across 7 different vendors. It showed that:

Consumer’s preference for an online retailer increases when they are offered competitive price information when making a buying decision.

Why would you do this?

Let me explain the behavioral science behind this…

Why Showing Your Competitor’s Prices Makes You Look Good

For an online business it is crucial that you become the go-to solution for a certain product or service.

By allowing users to compare prices across shops from within your site, you can provide tremendous perceived utility to your customers.

Lower the difficulty, thereby increasing their ability to easily make a buying decision, and in turn you are solidifying yourself as the default solution for your customers’ purchasing needs.

Now let’s look at a successful real-life example of this technique.

How Amazon Uses Your Habits as a Strategy

The most common pain point for online shoppers is you are always looking for an item at the best possible price.

Amazon wants to become the world’s one-stop shop. They are so confident that they can form user habits, they even run ads from competing businesses on their site to become top of mind.

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The shopping pain point for customers is online comparison between competitors. Amazon shows you 96 OTHER (under the shipping details) vendors for the same book.

Customers can see that the item they want to buy is listed cheaper somewhere else and so they end up buying it somewhere else. This might look like a formula for financial suicide but to these guys it is a savvy business plan, with habits as an strategy.

They make money from the ads of the competing businesses, but also use their money to develop a habit in the shopper’s mind.

Amazon offers customers tremendous perceived utility, by allowing them to make comparisons on their site.

Your Action List

Just to be sure: I am not telling you to start running ads from your competitors on your site as of today. Instead, I am showing you how you can provide utility to a frequent pain point of most customers online.

Let me summarize quickly so you are off to a good start:

  1. Only use sentences that will move your prospect forward;
  2. Be critical towards your monetization tactics, ads might be not the only way;
  3. Your job is to keep customers coming back, so make it easy for them to compare and see what’s right for them. This will be rewarded in the future with their trust.

Question to you: What do you think about this subject? Any other best practices or insights? Love to hear from you!

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