The technology behind price comparison websites has been updating itself a lot over the last few years – partly to react to market changes but also to keep things simple and easier for the online shopper.
Generally price comparison websites collect their data directly from retailers. These companies who then want to actively list their products on the comparison website offer a list of their products and also the current selling price too. This is then matched up and compared to the original database in an effort to avoid duplicate prices for the same products in the same shops. A combination of computer programming, logic and manhours of manual labour help to make this process run as smoothly as possible. This data is then made available to the engines working on the website itself.
In some cases third party data is used with their aggregated information pulled together and then added to the data already used on the price comparison website. This then allows the website to earn a commission on click through traffic which results in website users making purchases. This is why the comparison website is able to offer the service free of charge to use the consumer.
Some sites allow users to input current products into the site, this gives an up to date manual process where the data is kept relevant by the more people using the website. This is a useful addition to the scraping of data by crawlers of some sites of the aforementioned retailer provided data. Using all three methods results in the most reliable prices and data available for all.
There’s also a market for providers to use comparison site optimisation in order to make their product appear highest when searched for, this makes them the first products that any would be customer sees and can potentially influence their decision making process. This is a mirror image of what happens on search engines, where whole web pages are optimised for the highest possible result position. However, this can be negated by a buyer just looking for the cheapest price as an item can appear first but still be expensive, at which point it’s ignored.
The technology is ever developing in the area of the price comparison website, hopefully you know understand some of the current methods that these sites use to keep on top of all the data they require to save you both time and money.