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Showing Competitors on a Product Site | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Showing Competitors on a Product Site

Showing product competitors

Recently I started asking myself why anyone would want to visit a product site to buy anything? The question is a bit extreme I realize but when there’s sites like Amazon I think it’s a question worth asking. There’s a couple features that Amazon has that no one product site would dare have (as far as I know). When a person starts clicking away on Amazon depending on brand or feature they get options not from just one company, but results from all companies. The second is the written reviews. Typically a person can see both the good and the bad. Now compare that type of experience with your favourite product site. There are few if any product sites that are willing to show competitor products alongside their own. You might ask, well why would they? The thing is, habitually a person that is shopping is going to want to compare. Are they going to want to check out five different sites or one? My guess is that it’s easier to just visit one site, do a search and see what people have to say. I’m slowly starting to product sites slowly bring in comments though they usually tend to rate quite highly. Because a person doesn’t know who or why this person would feel the need to comment it usually feels like it’s coming from the inside of the company.

For most companies it’s unthinkable that they would show competitor products to compare. But because it’s unthinkable it’s also holding them back from from the truth which is that people are going to compare products whether one site is willing to do it or not. Why not beat them to it and if their product really is the best why would they fear the competition?

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  • http://tokyohanna.com Johanna

    Have you used the Universal Wishlist functionality? This is taking up a notch even further… you just drag the link to your bookmarks bar, after which you can add any product from any site on the Internet to your Amazon wishlist. This ups the chances even more that someone coming to Amazon might buy something NOT on Amazon (if they are shopping for a friend, for example). Pretty awesome stuff…

  • http://designnotes.info/ michaelsurtees

    I didn't know about that, really interesting way to subvert things a bit further away from a product site. Thanks for the fyi!

  • http://portlandpage.com/ Max Rockbin

    Personally, I go to product sites when Amazon doesn't show all the product details or has few pictues (or, in some cases, when it looks like Amazon may have an incorrect description).

    Apple is a good example of a Product Site with much more info about the product.

    An Exception to the Idea that Product sites wouldn't show competition:
    Sears.com shows both their brands (Kenmore, Craftsmen…) along with the competition.
    Obviously Sears has to sell competitor's products, but it does show some guts because their brands are right up against other big names.

    Also, Sears does publish (or used to) negative user reviews of their products. Also not common.
    (Otherwise it is not a particularly well designed site).

  • http://designnotes.info/ michaelsurtees

    That makes sense that you'd want to see more images of a product. I guess in my mind I was thinking about it as step one. In the beginning is a person more likely visit Amazon or the product site. If Amazon doesn't have all the info than hopefully the product site would.

    And thanks for passing along the example of Sears…

  • jrgd

    It's funny to read your article and to check the links at the bottom of it: none from 'competitors' :)However it's indeed a nice pick!

  • http://designnotes.info/ michaelsurtees

    Actually the LinkWithin plugin that I've attached doesn't give me the option to decide how the content is chosen, it's somewhat dynamically driven and occasion does include posts from other sites.

  • Jrgd

    The technical limitation is maybe the cause – it would be nice to see the practice you highlighted propagates with the 'apparition' of such facility. At least, I would like to experiment with it.

  • http://www.broadstonemedia.com Orlando Website Design

    I have to agree with you….review sites are MASSIVELY popular now. I think they can really sway the sales of a particular product. I know I pay big attention to them on amazon.

    Good article

  • http://www.broadstonemedia.com Orlando Website Design

    It's amazing to think how massive Amazon has become or what it takes to run a company like that