Shoppers may well be hindered by the reluctance of the likes of David Jones, Myer and Harvey Norman to offer comprehensive online stores, but that isn’t stopping them from turning to the web when planning a purchase.
A recent study by Lasoo.com.au found that 90% of Australians are “likely” or “very likely” to research items online before buying them in bricks and mortar retail outlets.
More than half, according to the research, plan to purchase goods via a mobile device in the next three months.
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While many retailers are struggling to match consumer demand in this area, the desire for people to research products online provides a potential opportunity for third party businesses.
Online comparison sites such as MyShopping.com.au, Shopbot.com.au and Lasoo have emerged in recent years as consumers seek to analyse products across multiple retailers.
The trend isn’t confined to retail either, with sites such as CreditCardFinder.com.au, HomeLoanFinder.com.au and SavingsAccountFinder.com.au offering people the chance to measure up different financial products.
Major companies in Australia are slowly realising that ‘letting go’ of information on their products and services can be beneficial, with consumers often finding them via a third party online source.
Opportunities abound for start ups that can find a niche in this market and tap into a genuine consumer need.
The retail comparison site market is fairly saturated, but there are other niches you can fill.
Everything from holiday accommodation, car hire, nannies, takeaway food outlets and trades such plumbing and building could be covered by either a price comparison or user rating model.
While consumers are becoming used to comparing prices online, sites like TripAdvisor open up new sectors for comparison based on reviews and ratings, rather than simply hunting bargains.