What is Comparison Shopping?

Definition: Comparison shopping is a practice among consumers where a range of available suppliers are compared to identify the best price for the items or services they are willing to buy. It is an evaluation of potential sellers to see which one is offering the best deal.

What Does Comparison Shopping Mean?

The process of comparing different options before a purchase transaction is made is very important both for individuals and companies. For individuals, this procedure often involves certain visits to the seller’s store or physical facility in order to compare prices, promotions and post-sales benefits, among other elements involved in the operation.

On the other hand, from a business perspective, comparison shopping is frequently made through more formal procedures like bidding processes where sellers compete with each other by presenting offers, along with a thorough description of all factors involved in the operation.

Additionally, search engines have changed the way comparison shopping is done. The emerging online store business has made available an ample range of suppliers that can be consulted within seconds through their e-commerce platforms. Most of these systems have a real-time price quote posted for each available product and this facilitates the comparison process.

Example

Gary is the Purchasing Manager of WorldWide Energy Co. a company that designs and manufactures engines for many different industries. The company is currently planning its bimonthly purchase of office supplies and it is a custom for the Purchasing Department to check prices with the same three suppliers.

Nevertheless, after reviewing historic results, Gary has identified that prices are apparently too high for market standards. This lead to a further investigation where Gary’s team retrieved online prices to compare them with those provided by these three suppliers. As he suspected, the three companies were offering prices higher than those available at other suppliers. After Gary pointed this fact each of the three presented a more rational offer that lead to the selection of only one of them.

[i]
[i]