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RoboShopper.com Relaunches Web Site

RoboShopper International redesigned and relaunched its online comparison shopping Web site.

The redesign was based on an internal study of how tens of thousands of people have used the RoboShopper system since its introduction in August 1997.

The new design offers "the only comparison shopping system on the Web which allows users to view information directly from vendor Web sites," the company said.

With the RoboShopper system, a user selects a category such as books, music, videos, computer hardware/software, toys or sporting goods and then enters a search keyword. The user can then view the results directly from the top online stores in the category, and can move between stores to compare results.

The new design reflects the company's research into the way thousands of consumers have utilized the system.

Some of the key conclusions from the analysis:

  • Security and vendor reputation are overriding issues, especially as many users are shopping the Internet for the first time. Most shoppers are interested in finding the best values from one of the top vendors.

  • The buying decision is often driven by factors other than price. In many cases, issues such as shipping options/costs and sales tax outweigh any differences in list price. Additional services such as gift wrapping and shipping directly to third parties, and special offers/promotions are also vital.

  • Users are often confused by and lack confidence in results from shopping bots. In particular they are unclear as to which stores are shopped and whether or not the results are comprehensive.

  • Users are concerned about close business relationships between shopping bot operators and the stores shopped by the systems.

The new design at RoboShopper.com gives users control over which stores they shop and makes it easy for shoppers to spend as much time as they want exploring a particular online store--while still providing an easy way to move on to competing vendors.

"The advantage of the RoboShopper system is that it lets the shopper see all the information provided by vendors," said RoboShopper founder Marty Ford. "While a number of shopping bots are now available on the Web, they all attempt to summarize information from widely disparate sources into a standard format. The result is that a lot of information which is critical to the buying process is completely lost or glossed over."

The shopping study conclusions can be viewed here.