Country
    Home   →   Blog   →   Guide On How to Create a Price Comparison Website

    Guide On How to Create a Price Comparison Website

    As statistics assure us, more than 80% of users take advantage of special websites to find the cheapest prices. Such web-based aggregators are useful to all participants in the process of buying a product or ordering a service. Judge for yourself: they help customers make affordable purchases and, on the other hand, serve as assistants to different vendors in looking for new clients. Moreover, the owners of aggregators don't remain at a loss either. So what we’re observing here is undeniably a classic win-win situation.

    And if you don’t belong to suppliers of goods or service providers, we think it’s high time you joined the ranks of those who earn on shopping comparison sites. This is a profitable investment and a sure way to make good money. All you have to do is develop a custom website for comparing prices. 

    Does it sound complicated? Don't worry, we're going to help you clarify the issue step by step. We've conducted a thorough analysis and prepared detailed material on this topic. And, of course, we're always ready to answer your questions and advise if necessary.

    So let’s find out how to start a price comparison business.

    What is a price comparison website (PCW)?

    What is a service or grocery comparison site? The answer may seem obvious, but we'd like to outline it anyway in order to make sure we're on the same page.

    In fact, such a web resource is intended to provide the user with key product information: its price (of course!), a brief description, availability in stores, rating, reviews, and more. Therefore, in addition to comparing prices, the consumer can also compare other important characteristics of the desired product/service.

    However, these aggregators don't actually sell goods. They only collect data and product prices on different websites. To make a purchase, one needs to visit the online store itself (usually there is a link to the web resource in question).

    Benefits of PCW

    And now it would be useful to figure out the main benefits of price comparison websites.

    Seller-focused benefits:

    First of all, price comparison sites for online shopping give companies an opportunity to expand their sales channels. Furthermore, vendors get a chance to use aggregator’s data to set competitive prices, as well as receive additional traffic of the target audience.

    So, the main benefits include:

    • The rapid increase in online site traffic;

    • More sales made;

    • An additional channel of interaction with the audience;

    • The opportunity to collect user reviews and work on the development of the resource;

    • Simple and affordable functionality that allows working with a comparison-shopping website without third-party helpers.

    Customer-focused benefits:

    A good price comparison website is especially necessary for those who constantly make online purchases and don't want to spend too much time trying to find “where is cheaper”. Thus, the benefits include:

    • the possibility to see a huge number of online stores on a single platform;

    • a quick answer to the question where the cheapest product is;

    • a lot of reviews of real customers;

    • selection of the most popular goods (they’re usually placed at the top of the lists);

    • various sorting of product offers.

    price comparison website

    Where to get data to implement the comparison feature

    Before moving on, let's consider a few technical solutions for price comparison website development and explore their pros and cons. Then you'll be able to choose the option that best suits your specific project.

    Web scraping

    This is a very popular way to get comparison data, although not always legally approved. It’s about web crawlers or spiders periodically visiting pre-selected sites to collect the necessary information. 

    It acts as if it scrapes data from the web platform (hence the name - web scraping).

    The method is rather simple: a specially trained algorithm, which is also an automated code, goes to the main page of an online resource and begins to visit each internal link, parse an HTML document, search for data, and convert it to the specified format.

    Pros:

    • getting data is very easy; you don’t even need permission from the owner of the resource;

    • there is a chance to increase the database to the level of competitors in a short time period;

    • the solution is quite simple to implement.

    Cons:

    • you'll be unable to use the fee-based monetization model;

    • some resources have protection against data copying;

    • the source code may contain links to the same images of different sizes (say, previews);

    • the site is able to determine the country in which your server is located and provide you with information in your language (not in English);

    • the scraping method isn’t approved by everyone.

    As you can see, the method has more cons than pros. One more important thing: creating scraping from scratch is quite expensive, and turnkey solutions aren't always optimal.

    APIs

    Among the digital comparison tools, API integration is being widely-used. The method involves obtaining information directly from the vendors themselves, via the API. The received data is being automatically entered into your database.

    Pros:

    • it’s possible to receive information in the right format and quality;

    • the method is legal, approved by all participants in the process;

    • it’s very easy to monetize your resource through fees;

    • you’ll be obtaining real-time information.

    Cons:

    • the method is quite resource-intensive;

    • there are sites, which don’t provide their API.

    The model is especially good if most pricing sites use the API and are willing to share it with you. And we're pretty sure they'll be happy to give you access to their data: in the end, it's beneficial to them too (we've described the benefits above, remember?).

    Manually adding data

    This isn’t the most convenient way to build a price comparison website, of course. Though, we're going to describe it anyway.

    So, if sellers don't have an API but want to participate in your program, they can provide you with their information in the form of XML and CSV files. Or you may let them enter data manually. 

    Pros:

    • the method is easy to implement;

    • you get the necessary data completely legally, with the approval of the vendors.

    Cons:

    • extra expenses might be required: you'll either have to hire employees to enter data into your database or create a special interface so that vendors would do it themselves;

    • the method isn’t very convenient, given the manual way of entering data.

    Such a model is suitable as an addition to the above-described API option.

    On-demand Data

    The approach is being used when it comes to specific goods and services (insurance, loans, digital products) or when expert assistance is required (if indicating the price itself isn't enough).

    Imagine the situation: the customer chooses a credit card and, of course, wants to know the advantages and disadvantages of each option: say, whether there are any unacceptable conditions or strings attached. So he needs an expert opinion. Your product price comparison website sends a message to the vendor about the request received, and the vendor may satisfy it (if he wants to).

    The pros and cons are about the same as in the case of manually adding data: the model is easy to implement but inconvenient in subsequent use.

    Wanna know how to build a p2p marketplace? Click here and read a few main tips. We’re sharing our own experience.

    Now you know where to get data to create a price comparison website. But what can you compare, to begin with? 

    We’d like to offer you a few simple options.

    Options for the price comparison sites 

    Thinking about price comparisons, we recall smartphones, household appliances, and other expensive purchases when the cost factor is a key one. But, in reality, there are more options.

    Ideally, you need to focus on goods and services with high demand and a small number of competitors. Alas, only new areas, such as AI-based products, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, blockchain technology, and the like, can meet these criteria.

    Do you know such a market? You're welcome to build a website to compare prices, you've found your niche. If the answer is no, you’ll have to put up with the presence of competition. There is nothing you can do about it.

    Our experts have vast experience in developing eCommerce websites. Among them, the Yeah project deserves your attention.

    Here are some examples of best price comparison sites, top PCW projects, you may look at (and even follow their lead):

    How do price comparison websites make money?

    The cost to build a website to compare prices cannot be very low; it means you need to find a way to recoup your expenses - and profit from it, of course. So if you want the project to pay off and start bringing you money, you should actively monetize it. 

    Let's consider the best of your options.

    1. Cost Per Click (CPC) or Pay Per Click (PPC), the most common way to monetize price comparison sites. When people go from your resource to the seller’s website, they use referral links. It is on such links that you can earn (you're being paid per transition, that is, per click) if you connect a special affiliate program (which is quite easy to do).

    2. Commission from the order placed, another popular monetization model. The essence is completely clear: the buyer finds the site of interest using your price comparison website, makes an order, and the vendor he has chosen must pay you a certain commission (so it's not Pay Per Click but Pay Per Order).

    3. Paid placement. It is about collecting fees from sellers who must pay you a fixed amount of money if they want to be placed on your site.

    4. Google Ads, which are used by almost all PWC platforms. The level of earnings depends on the popularity of the site (the number of clicks), and the advertisement itself automatically adjusts to the content of a particular page.

    5. Brand advertising. Here we’re dealing with the placement of advertising offers of certain brands at the top of your listings (pay-per-click or impression). Of course, your resource should be quite demanded (heavy hitter, they call it), otherwise, the brand owner is unlikely to be interested in such cooperation.

    6. Target marketing. Shopping comparison sites can analyze the behavior of their users in order to understand their consumer needs. And this data would come in really handy to start targeted marketing.

    Do you think of creating a high-quality profitable online resource? We’re happy to provide you with our expert services!

    Price comparison website features 

    How to set up a comparison website, what features does it need? Take a look at the following options:

    1. Search & Filters. Any purchase begins with a product search, right? And you have several ways to implement such a feature:

      • Keyword-based search. And be sure to provide various filters and the ability to sort search engine results (by rating, popularity, price, etc.). Among examples is the famous Google Shopping. 

      • Location-based search. The site displays goods/services on a map within a certain territory. Interested in examples of this kind of search? Pay attention to GasBuddy, a site helping users find the best gas prices (here the location issue is important, isn't it?).

      • Search on demand. The option isn't the most convenient, but Kitchify, Parcel2go, Compare IP take advantage of it. The user fills out a special form, the comparison shopping website sends a request to vendors, and it’s up to them to satisfy the request made.

    2. Listings. Two components are important here:

      • Comparison of listings. That is, the user wants to find a certain product (let it be a new smartphone). He enters the name and gets a list of options with the specified prices. Now he is free to choose what seems optimal and go to the listing details.

      • Listing Details. Before moving to the sales site, the user would be glad to get acquainted with the main characteristics of the smartphone he is going to buy (in the end, the purchase is quite expensive).

    3. Price Update Alert. If the customer isn't satisfied with the proposed price range, he may agree to receive notifications of price updates. So he'll be able to track the price of the goods to make the desired purchase when it reaches the mark he needs. A feature can be implemented in the following ways:

      • push notifications;

      • SMS (if the user is ready to indicate his phone number);

      • email;

      • a message on Viber (or another popular messenger).

    4. Reviews. At least 90% of buyers trust reviews (almost the same way they trust the advice of friends), and therefore they readily read them before making the final choice. So such a feature will be in high demand.

    5. Price history. The feature is optional, you’ll manage to build a price comparison website and make it successful without it either. However many users will appreciate the chance to track price trends in a given time interval.

    6. AwardsYou‘ll hardly be surprised that users love all sorts of rewards and bonuses. There are many options: cashback, gift cards, discount coupons, participation in the competition, etc.

    7. Scanning a QR code and barcode, which allows customers to compare prices in local stores using the smartphone’s camera.  

    shopping comparison sites

    Price comparison website development

    Now we’d like to discuss briefly the best way to create a price comparison website by describing the most key points of this process.

    1. Niche selection. Choosing the right niche is an important part of developing any successful website. We’ve offered you a couple of ideas, perhaps, one of them will come in handy.

    2. Think about attracting partners. It all depends on what technical solutions (from the ones we described earlier) your website is based on.

    3. Take care of monetizing your project. Sometimes it makes sense to choose several options, the synergy effect allows you to get the best result.

    4. Make a list of features. Think over what you want to offer users, what opportunities to please them with.

    5. Hire a company able to perform each stage of price comparison website development, including:

      1. Drawing up a basic plan;

      2. Prototyping;

      3. Design;

      4. Web development;

      5. Testing;

      6. Publication of the project;

      7. Support (if required).

    Summary

    Now you have a clue of what steps will help you get your site to compare prices online. If you’re ready to put words into action, take your time but don't waste it in vain. We've told you everything you need to know in order to proceed.

    Don’t have a team to make your site yet? Choose Agilie and start a price comparison business with our help!

     

    Next Posts
    55 Most Useful Finance APIs for Your Digital Startup
    To save on the web development process, you'll need...
    7 Reasons to Choose Spree Commerce for Your Online...
    To keep your eCommerce resource at the top, you need to...
    What Real-Time Features Should Be Added to Your...
    What are the real-time features and how can they help to...