Shopping for laptop – Kelkoo introduces a new product navigation
We can say there are two major patterns when browsing on a shopping engine:
- The product-based navigation – you browse among products, find an appealing product displayed with a price range; then you click on this product to get all offers from merchants. This pattern lets you compare prices for the exact same product among various merchants ; and it works very well for “electronics” or “household appliances” categories for instance.
- The offer-based navigation – for soft categories (like fashion / home decoration…), it’s very hard to choose a product and compare all offers related to this product, as there are so many products in those categories. Of course, you can have very popular products like a Levis 501 jean, but more often you will get unique items sold by only one shop. So with this kind of categories, there is no product aggregation, and we are moving away from pure price comparison to shopping search.
But, through experience on Kelkoo, we found those patterns don’t apply very well to some categories. Let’s take laptop. At a first glance, you would think it’s a computing / electronics category where it’s quite easy to aggregate offers through products. It is… but depending on the granularity of the aggregation, some usability issues arise:
- With a very fine aggregation on the exact model – i.e: Apple Macbook 13-inch 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo – , there are chances the shopping engine will only show very few offers for each product, so comparing prices on two or three shops is not a really good user experience. Moreover, as a shopper, you may have a budget and want a Mac: in this case, this kind of aggregation is not really interesting, as you have to compare several products one by one…
- Doing the aggregation at a higher level – i.e: Apple Macbook – is ok when you shop by brand; but in that case, the min price / max price for each product will show big ranges… Not really good for the price comparison, when you are feature-oriented (you want a laptop with a Core Duo and 120Gb hard drive).
For the last 2 years, we have tried to find a solution to this problem on the Kelkoo site. We did several iterations, but were not completely satisfied. But recently, we’ve launched a new version of the Laptop / Desktop categories on all the Kelkoo sites, that we find quite appealing. This is a mix of product-based categories and offer-based categories, with the following features:
- On the category page, you are browsing offers rather than products, with direct link to the merchants’ websites; and you can filter those offers by brand, processor, GPU, hard drive size…
- On each offer, you get a “Compare Prices” link that goes to the product page, to get all offers related to the product.
- The aggregation of offers with products is done at the “brand / model family” level. I.e: Apple Macbook
- On the product page, filters are available to refine the search by processor speed / hard drive… So you can compare all the offers related to the Macbook, whatever its options ; and still find all the offers related to the Apple Macbook 13-inch 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo.
- If you selected a “processor speed” or “hard drive” on the category page, then those filters are propagated on the product page.
- On the product page, you can also see product specifications or product reviews.
So in short, you get the following benefits in terms of usability:
- Browse and find offers based on your criteria – price / brand / features…
- Compare prices on different levels of product definition
I would like to get your feedbacks on this feature. Do you think it is an improvement over a classic product-based navigation?