Need some feedback

Once again, we've made lots of changes at ToolBarn. But now, I'm looking for some feedback.

We've got a cache on our local servers of what most of the competing sites are priced at on every product we offer. If we show that, similar to Progressive Auto Insurance, are we asking for trouble?

Two thoughts on why we should:
1) Establish ourselves as a destination.
2) Give our customers less reason to leave our site and look around.

Two thoughts on why we should not:
1) We may not always have the lowest price.
2) We've got more traffic than most of these sites, so we'd be building their brand for them.

Such a tough choice. We'll probably run an experiment at some point and see what it does. What do you think?


cshel said…
Two thoughts...

1. Progressive shows people their competitors prices... even if Progressive isn't the lowest. It helps to be trust with the users.

2. Maybe instead of showing it like that (where bots can get at it), you could offer it as a "sign up and give us your email and we'll email you the price comparisons for the products you've selected". That way you're not benefiting your competitors as much and you're capturing email addresses for lists.

Brian Mark said…
Actually, we're doing the links via a redirect with rel=nofollow and the redirection script is blocked via robots.txt, not to mention it notices "bot" in the useragent and doesn't redirect. Still, I can see your point about gathering emails.

Maybe as a compromise, I could require people be signed in via their account (we're adding that here shortly) in order to view that information.
rumblepup said…
My couple of thoughts.

As the 800lb Gorilla, when you make a move like this, your setting a standard or breaking new ground.

I like the idea, however, I definitely feel you will loose a few sales on the products you show that are cheaper.

However, as a marketing move, this builds an amount of trust from the customer that you can't buy. Instead of searching on Google for power tools, they will be searching on toolbarn. Neat huh?

However, why don't just filter out the products that are lower in price.
Brian Mark said…
Filtering out lower prices, in my mind, lowers the value of offering the prices in the first place. The level of trust is lost. Progressive doesn't filter out State Farm just because the price is lower, and from what I've heard, people still choose the higher rate just because they feel they could trust them after seeing everything.

I'd say if we do a test, it'd be good to try it both ways and see what the difference is. It just makes me nervous considering a change this big. I keep doubting if I should even try it out or not, which is why I'm looking for some validation.
Anonymous said…
I'd say there is some math to do here. How often do you sell products where your price is higher than competitors? If that number is high, then it might not be such a good idea.

Another thing you could do, is if your price is higher, show similar lower priced items along with competitor's prices.

Though as you said, you'll never know unless you test it.
Anonymous said…
Have any of your competitors given you flak over this? They may not take kindly to you scraping their sites -- and could/should work in a little mod-rewrite magic to mess with you should they detect whatever you are using to build up that cache. and the seo implications -- in terms of how it might benefit *you* -- might hurt your rank on google. grey hat at best.
Brian Mark said…
We're not doing this for SEO benefit. We're doing this for the users.

Also, we're not scraping our competitor's sites. We're using a free data source, so it doesn't hit their servers at all.

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