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I've been looking for a new laptop lately and have been doing my research online at a number of sites.
Two of the best known are PC World and Comet, so how do they measure up?
There are a lot of laptops on the market, so shoppers need to be provided with the tools and information to help them to make a choice.
So how do the two websites compare for a search for laptops?
Comet - after selecting 'laptops' from the homepage, this is the page I get on the site:
The entire range of laptops is displayed and sorted according to lowest price first. Working through this list would be a daunting task, as there are 82 laptops on display.
You don't have to trawl through the entire range though, as Comet had provided some filtering options to help users narrow down their search:
Users can look for laptops according to brand, price range, RAM, screen size, and so on. There are eight filtering options in total, which covers most features people are looking for when buying a laptop.
These feature filtering options make it so much easier to browse through a site, and eliminate irrelevant products. In addition, Comet has given the amount of products which match each filtering option, to help customers avoiding searches with no results.
All this means that, if I am looking for a high performance laptop, I can detail the memory size, processor speed etc, all of which helps narrow my options and eventually make a decision.
PC World - this is the start page for a laptop search on PC World:
Now, PC World does give me a few options to narrow my search, but not the same range as Comet. I can choose from small or large screen, business laptops, accessories, and that's about it.
Having chosen one of these options, I still have 28 laptops to go through but, unlike Comet, my filtering options are limited:
I can narrow my search by brand and price, and that's it. This means that, if I want to look at laptops according to processor speed or memory capacity, I'm forced to trawl through the list looking at each laptop in turn.
Search / filtering issues aside, both sites provide the kind of technical information and product pictures that users would need to help them decide on the best product.
Comet's product pages have the edge here though, as the information is laid out more clearly, while useful links to further technical information have been provided on the right hand side of the page.
It has also started to display product reviews, provided by Reevoo. User reviews are extremely useful, especially for high value products like laptops.
Users are coming to expect reviews on e-commerce sites, and many will hunt out product reviews on other sites if an etailer doesn't already provide them.
Of the two sites, Comet was by far the most useful, and mainly due to the filtering options provided for my laptop search, which makes it so easy to narrow down the search and avoid users having to browse through too many products.
PC World, and a number of other sites I came across would do well to adopt these kind of filtering options.
This is the beauty of using feature filtering - not only does it help users browse and find the products they are looking for more quickly, but the gradual narrowing of options can also help funnel users towards a purchase decision.
Online Retail User Experience Benchmarks