SOURCE: Shopzilla, Inc.

April 02, 2007 06:00 ET

Price Is A Must, But Feedback Wins Trust

Shopzilla Survey Reveals Customer Satisfaction Feedback Has Shot Up in Comparison Shopping Importance

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 2, 2007 -- Price is still the most important factor when online comparison shopping, but discriminating consumers are giving more consideration to customer satisfaction feedback. In the past four years, the desire to know about other customers' experiences has more than doubled in importance as a top concern of online shoppers.

Thus far in 2007, nearly half (49%) of shoppers reported that price was most important to them when comparison shopping, but this figure represents a 9% decrease from 58% in 2003. Conversely, only 7% of online shoppers felt that customer satisfaction feedback was the most important factor in 2003, but today that number has grown by 11% to nearly one-fifth (18%) of online shoppers.

What is most important to you when you comparison shop?

                                2007    2003    % Change
Price                           49%     58%       -9%
Customer Satisfaction Feedback  18%     7%        +11%
"Consumers still love to price comparison shop, but are wary of deals that are too good to be true and turn to fellow shoppers to make their decisions," remarked Helen Malani, Chief Shopping Expert, Shopzilla. "This new data shows us that consumers are becoming more interested in a reliable shopping experience."

Customer Feedback and Ratings

In a related study, a compelling 81% of online shoppers felt that customer satisfaction ratings are 'quite a bit' or 'extremely' important when shopping online#. Similarly, Forrester data shows that 75% of online shoppers utilize user-generated reviews, making them more popular than blogs or message boards*. Jupiter Research reiterates the popularity of user reviews citing 77% of online shoppers read/check user reviews and almost half of them find these reviews useful+.

Loyalty To A Point

Shoppers are loyal to retailers only to a point when it comes to their online shopping habits. Nearly half (46%) are not willing to pay more than the desired price to purchase from a preferred merchant. Furthermore, among those who are willing to pay a premium one-third (33%) are willing to pay only up to 5% over the desired price.

"Online shoppers are looking for the right balance between price and retailer reliability. They will not succumb to premium pricing for the sake of good ratings," commented Malani.

Deal or No Deal

Nearly 74% of consumers say they find better deals online than offline. To support this statistic, roughly half (49%) of online shoppers are more focused on finding deals online than they were last year, citing the ease of finding deals and sales as the main driver for their online comparison shopping (56%). Consumers are most concerned with finding deals/sales on clothes/lingerie/socks (55%), books (48%), movies (29%), digital cameras/cameras (29%), computer software (28%), computer hardware (27%).

About the Survey:

The Online Shopper Deal Shopping Study by BizRate Research, a division of Shopzilla Inc., is based on a panel survey of 1,922 online shoppers from February 27-March 18, 2007. The 2003 study was fielded May 21-31, 2003.

#According to a BizRate Research point-of-sale survey of about 3,200 online
shoppers from January 1-31, 2007
*"Customers Turn Reviewers," Women's Wear Daily, December 13, 2006
+"Companies Cash In On User Reviews," The Tampa Tribune, October 13, 2006
About Shopzilla, Inc.:

Shopzilla, formerly BizRate.com, is the most powerful and easiest-to-use shopping search site on the Web. With an index of more than 33 million products from more than 91,000 stores, Shopzilla uses ShopRank, a proprietary patent-pending algorithm, to help shoppers instantly find virtually anything on sale from anyone, anywhere on the Web at the best price. Shopzilla also features powerful comparison tools and BizRate consumer reviews of stores and products, the Web's largest and most trusted consumer feedback network. Every week Shopzilla prepares millions of shoppers to make smarter, more confident purchases and sends them directly to the checkout page of thousands of online merchants. Shopzilla also operates the BizRate consumer feedback network which collects approximately 1 million fresh reviews per month. Shopzilla powers shopping search for many of the Web's largest consumer sites including AOL, Lycos, Time Warner's RoadRunner, and many others. Founded in 1996, the Los Angeles-based company also operates sites in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Shopzilla is owned by The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP), a diverse media concern with interests in national television networks, newspaper publishing, broadcast television stations, TV retailing and licensing and syndication. For more information, visit www.shopzilla.com, the smarter way to shop.