Last month I posted about the issue of showing competitors' prices on product pages as a way of increasing conversions.
I was fairly sceptical about the idea, but some of the comments left were in favour of the idea, and I have seen an example where this practice has worked and increased conversion rates.
Electrical retailer Appliances Online started trialling the display of competitors' prices on its product pages, and the initial results are positive.
The site has experienced a 14% uplift in conversion rates, as well as a 25% reduction in the number of drop-outs from product pages showing the price comparison data.
The retailer shows prices for Currys, Comet, John Lewis, Argos, Tesco and Asda, though it doesn't show competitors' prices when they are lower.
According to Appliances Online's Clare Hampshire:
We're not a big enough brand to show competing prices when they are lower, so we have to compete on price but in 90% or more cases, we are lower, and can also offer to match the deal if customers find products cheaper elsewhere.
Why showing competitor prices can work
No lower prices
Not showing prices when they are lower reduces the risk of customers heading off elsewhere for a better deal, though I do wonder whether customers will be less likely to trust the information.
Competitors shown are meaningful
I think it's more valuable to show prices from well-known retailers like John Lewis and Comet, the places people are likely to buy electricals from.
Prices are up to date
The product page shows the last time that competitors' prices were checked, and therefore the information is more reliable.
Savings are significant
In many cases, there are some decent savings to be made, which makes it more compelling for customers. If prices are about the same, or just a bit more, they may opt for more well-known retailers.
Not linking to competitors
While some of the examples I showed in my previous article showed competitor prices and also linked to their product pages, Appliances Online doesn't link out. Why make it easy for customers to leave your site for a rival?
Why it may not work
Advertising the competition
In cases where products are at similar prices, it may be the case that Appliances Online is simply alerting customers to the fact that a competitor stocks the same product. They may prefer to buy offline, or else opt for a retailer like John Lewis, which offers a free guarantee.
In the case of user reviews, showing negative and positive can reinforce the credibility of the good reviews. I wonder whether, when product pages don't contain any competitors' prices, customers will assume that it is cheaper elsewhere and leave the site to look for a better deal.
Perhaps, given that the site has a price match promise anyway, it may be better to display all prices, lower or higher.