The Future of Comparison Shopping

The Internet Stock Blog has an excerpt from Sean O’Rourke, author of the Organized Shopping Blog on some of the trends:

1. I think we are in the early stages of shopping search, judging by how much visitor volume still comes via blunt keyword searching. As with other types of web searching, consumers are often using the wrong tools for the job, simply because they dont know other tools exist.

2. In other words, many shopping searches today are the equivalent of hunt ‘n’ peck keyboarding, IMO.

3. Part of the problem is that the structured shopping web is relatively small compared to the rest of the unstructured shopping web. Part of the problem is usability: making tomorrows richer shopping searches as simple as todays general keyword searches.

4. Small, specialized shopping search engines are quietly launching in several categories, using category-specific rules to bring structure to the larger unstructured marketplaces.

5. The problem is many of these niche engines do not have volume, and there is only so much “top of mind” real estate available for new tools. The general shopping comparison engines could acquire some of these smaller search tools and give them the necessary exposure.

6. The general shopping comparison engines are also expanding on their own into other markets, such as travel, autos, financial services, you name it. These services might not be category-leaders on their own, but longer-term could lead to interesting integration.

15. I think all this leads us to an incredible amount of aggregation of technologies and/or companies in the next few years.

16. This aggregation should also provide more compelling experiences for the user to the point where people will not need to do general web searches for an increasing number of products and services. One way or another, the tools will already be at their fingertips.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.