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Miss Terry Shopper – Comparatively Speaking…
With the use of comparison sites on the rise, Miss Terry Shopper decided to engage three of Australia’s best known ones, to help her with some larger household purchases. Find out how ShopBot, GetPrice and Lasoo all held up under the comparative spotlight.
It wasn’t until I moved house recently that I realised my life was somewhat lacking. To be precise, it was lacking a fridge, a washing machine and a dryer! It didn’t get me down for too long as it meant I could indulge in an afternoon of online retail therapy in relative safety – seeing as it was shopping that would benefit an entire household, no one tried to stop me.
As I had some specific, big ticket items to buy, I jumped online and took to some well known Australian comparison sites to do the hard yards finding the best deals for me
I log onto ShopBot and am greeted with “What are you shopping for?” ShopBot can help me find my washing machine. While product categories are prominently displayed, I use the search function.
The search results are very successful, so I refine my search by specifying a price range of $500 – $750. Brand is not important, but I do want a front loader. The search results turn up seven models – and strangely, one top loader – available at a number of different stores. There is also a brief product description available for each item and after reading these, I go for the Electrolux 7kg Front Loader, which is available at five stores. I can view prices, stores the washing machine is available from and where it’s in stock.
At $539, 2nds World is offering the cheapest one as it has some carton damage. But when I click the link, it takes me directly to the desired item on the 2nds World site to buy at the usual price of $699. I look around their site and try to figure out how I can get the cheaper, damaged item but it quickly becomes apparent I can’t easily click and find.
I go back to the comparison list on ShopBot and end up going with Clive Peeters. The washing machine I want is in stock, and a store is close by, so I can pick it up ASAP – although I don’t buy online. Instead I print out the price comparisons from ShopBot and go in store to flex my negotiating skills…
GetPrice is going to hook me up with the fridge of my dreams – one from LG. The search function is clear, big and smack bang in the middle of the page, with featured store logos and links underneath it.
A list of popular brands on the right of screen turns out to be a list of products, which is a bit confusing. But I find refrigerators, click and then the list of brands I was after is displayed. I see LG has 50 fridge models available. I click to discover over three pages of options, so I refine my search by price ($1200 – $1500), although I could have refined it by energy rating, capacity, type, door opening, height, width or depth.
Four models of LG fridges are available from a number of stores within my price range, and each appears with a brief model description. I make my choice. From there I have the option to compare prices, read user product reviews, view product details or even view user store reviews from the stores that stock the fridge I want. Links to similar and related products, as well as other LG items, can be clicked. I can clearly see which stores offer warranty and delivery – and that Big Brown Box offers free delivery. With that, my fridge fate is sealed. Ahhhh – life’s good!
Busy is the first word that comes to mind when I go to Lasoo for a dryer. With the catalogue images, prominent ‘Toy Sale’ advertising and changing images, I thought I had mistakenly gone to Big W‘s website.
The search function seems to be lost in the page’s activity, so I click on the categories section and look for white goods. No luck. I then look for something relevant under a ‘Home’ heading but again no luck. So I turn to search and realise I should have looked under Appliances – specifically Large Home Appliances. I should have used search from the start.
Since I bought an Electrolux washing machine, I refine my search to include the brand and find three different models available at two different retailers. Right about now would be great to read some product reviews, yet I can’t find any. I click on ‘view product’ and am pleasantly surprised. Lasoo recognises the fact I’ve been logged into FaceBook whilst searching on their site, and gives me the option of reviewing the product, by posting a comment about it or by clicking the FaceBook ‘Like’ button. Images of products related to my search follow on, and grab my attention as I can immediately see what these products look like, along with their price, without having to click away from what I’m currently researching.
I refine the search further and choose the 6kg Electrolux Clothes Dryer at Harvey Norman for $547. I can’t wait to get it – more so for the fact that I want to contribute to the user reviews on Lasoo!
So what’s left to compare?
Considering I’ve spent close to $3,000 in a relatively short amount of time, I don’t feel stressed or anxious. It’s not like I had to sort through pages of catalogues or drive from shop to shop in order to find the best product that would fit my budget. I let my fingertips do the walking and feel confident that these comparison sites have allowed me to make informed and educated purchases.
As for the comparison sites themselves, it really comes down to personal choice. All sites were easy to navigate and find product on. The faults I found were minor and didn’t hinder my efforts to find what I wanted. Searches were easy to refine and change, and product information was easily accessed.
Now, if only I could come across a comparison site devoted to designer shoes.