According to the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), an estimated 85% of all UK internet users have used a price comparison website at some point or another.
This fact highlights the importance of price comparison websites – or PCWs – within the wider retail landscape, driven by online shopping and the growth of smartphones.
While the biggest PWCs tend to focus mainly on finance, insurance, travel and utilities, there are now a host of PCWs covering consumer goods, as well as sector-specific sites including perfume and wine.
So, what benefits do PWCs have from a marketing perspective? You’ll find a complete run-down of this topic in Econsultancy’s ‘Marketer’s Guide to Price Comparison Websites’. Meanwhile, here are just three takeaways to consider.
Meeting strategic objectives
Some companies might choose to use PWCs as part of an ‘always on’ strategy. Sónia Gabriel, Head of Ecommerce for Altice Portugal explains: “We use PCW as an always-on strategy in order to promote our products to people actively searching for devices and good deals, and also to those who wouldn’t normally visit our website.”
Another option is to take a more time-sensitive approach, such as stepping up PWC activity at a certain point in a campaign, or in order to boost sales of a specific product.
Travel brand TUI is a good example of this, using display ads on PCWs for routes that customers might otherwise miss or be unaware of. In other sectors such as finance, companies might want to boost income by promoting specific products such as personal loans or credit cards.
In all cases, it is important for brands to continuously communicate with PCW partners in order to maximise effectiveness.
Personalisation of services
As the demand for ways to compare products and services shows no sign of waning, PWCs also need to keep up with the wider retail market in order to stay relevant.
This means creating personalised experiences for individuals, which is something that many are now focusing on, or expect to do so in future.
In financial categories, such as loans or insurance, for example, the opportunity for brands is to integrate directly with the PWC to offer personalised quotes based on information that the user has given. It also means drawing on data in order to continuously monitor whether customers could be saving money.
MoneySupermarket is one example of a PWC that does this. In 2018, it launched its ‘proactive policy monitoring’ service, allowing customers to store key policy details which are are then checked against offers in the market to identify the best deal. It also launched the ‘Credit Monitor’ app in the same year, which uses a customer’s credit file to provide personalised recommendations.
Open Banking for finance
The introduction of Open Banking in January 2018 is likely to have a big impact on PWCs offering financial products in the near future. The rules state that banks must allow their customers to share financial information (such as spending habits and regular payments) with other authorised providers.
Essentially, this means that if a customer gives a PWC access to their account, they will be offered results based on what they actually spend (rather than a holistic rate) or products tailored to their individual circumstances.
The Open Data Institute recently said: “There are now over 135 entities approved by the FCA to provide Open Banking-enabled services to consumers and SMEs. While full bank implementation will only be completed in September 2019, it is clear that several valuable use cases are already fully supported or will be supported in the near future.”
Ultimately, PWCs now give partnering companies the opportunity to access to a new level of consumer data, which can be used to create a unified and highly relevant experience. Those that fail to explore this are likely to fall behind.