- January 24, 2007 :
Shopping Search Engine Offers Safer and Easier Online Shopping
PriceFight Strives to Help Shoppers Make More Informed Purchase Choices
While shopping search engines saw the highest levels of traffic in history this season, a TNS Media Intelligence survey indicates that the majority of online shoppers are concerned about their privacy and security when shopping on the Web. PriceFight, the newest entrant to the price comparison industry, aims to alleviate these customer concerns by creating an online marketplace where retailers' privacy, security, and return policies are summarized on every product page.
"When cautious consumers only do business with well-known merchants, they are potentially missing out on the value and personalized customer service provided by niche merchants," says PriceFight founder Michael Griffin. "PriceFight makes shopping online more transparent so online shoppers can make informed purchase decisions."
PriceFight offers more than two million products from stores with quality customer service track records. Unlike most price comparison engines, PriceFight's search results prioritize qualities other than price that are important to online shoppers. In addition to clear warranty and return policies, accurate shipping rates, and creative merchandising, Forrester Research indicates that privacy is one of the most valued features on a shopping site. Although many sites send shoppers to the retailer's Web page to find this information, PriceFight is the first comparison shopping engine to clearly display it on every product page.
While this feature aims to help lesser-known retailers market effectively, it also benefits online shoppers by providing them with more relevant choices they can trust. Immediately after the launch, PriceFight generated a new surge of dedicated users eager to search, compare, and select the best products from the Web's most credible retailers.
"PriceFight makes value comparison easier," says Griffin. "By making all critical security information easily accessible, PriceFight enables shoppers to explore a larger array of valuable and trusted stores."
PriceFight offers the following tips for conducting safe online shopping:
- 1. Understand that lowest price doesn't always mean best value.
When searching, comparing, and selecting products, avoid making a purchase choice based solely on price. Consider other important factors, such as clear warranty and return policies, accurate shipping rates, and privacy. If you can't find this information easily, consider doing business elsewhere.
- 2. Avoid shopping engines that charge retailers for prominent placement.
Shopping sites allowing retailers to pay for a high ranking often leave shoppers at a higher risk of doing business with disreputable merchants. A 2006 study released by McAfee found that sponsored listings are three times more likely to lead to risky sites than organic listings. Seek out shopping engines that sort results based on customer reviews, ratings, and purchase rates, as they are more reliable indicators of customer satisfaction.
- 3. Pay attention to legal disclaimers.
Read the shopping engine's fine print to see if it takes responsibility for the merchants it recommends. Ensure that the search engine screens merchants to verify their identity, sales experience, and customer service track records before publishing their product catalogs.
- 4. Keep detailed records.
Track your online purchases by saving the item description, the online receipt, relevant company information, and any e-mail correspondence with the merchant. Always monitor your credit card statements for any fraudulent charges.
- 5. Look for indicators of a secure shopping site.
Before entering personal information, look for indicators that your information will be encrypted, such as a url beginning with "https:" or an icon of a closed padlock or key. Never e-mail your financial information, as this is not a secure method of transaction
- 6. Use the most secure payment method.
Credit cards transactions are considered the safest way to conduct online purchases because, in the event that you find unauthorized charges, the Fair Credit Billing Act only holds you accountable for the first $50.
- 7. Research the merchant before making a purchase.
Familiarize yourself with the retailer's Web site — especially if the company is relatively unknown. Look for critical customer service and contact information, speak with a company representative, and ensure that the retailer is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau.
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