April 30, 2007, 12:00 AM

Price rules, but feedback`s gaining

If any doubt at all remains among retailers as to whether the feedback of other shoppers has become a critical part of how online consumers compare and buy, new research from shopping engine Shopzilla`s BizRate Research division offers still more proof that it has.

By Mary Wagner

If any doubt at all remains among retailers as to whether the feedback of other shoppers has become a critical part of how online consumers compare and buy, new research from shopping engine Shopzilla’s BizRate Research division offers still more proof.

The desire to know what others experience with brands, products and stores has doubled in importance among users of comparison shopping engines over the past four years, BizRate found. Meanwhile, price as a factor has declined.

In a survey of nearly 2,000 online shoppers conducted early this year, 49% of shoppers said price was most important when comparison shopping, a decrease from the 58% who said so when Shopzilla did the same survey in 2003. Conversely, only 7% of shoppers surveyed in 2003 said customer feedback was the most important factor when comparison shopping, in contrast to the 18% who said so this year.

This means price has dropped in importance over the past four years by 9% while customer feedback has gained in importance by 11%. “Consumers still love to price comparison shop,” says Helen Malani, chief shopping expert at Shopzilla. “But they’re wary of deals ‘too good to be true’ and turn to fellow shoppers to make their decisions.”

mary@verticalwebmedia.com

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