nicolas leroy

How shopping engines fail to help me buy Adobe CS5

May 12, 2010

Adobe has recently launched the 5th revision of its Creative Suite. Among all the updated products, Photoshop CS5 is really exciting for photographers; and therefore I’m currently thinking of buying it… Photoshop CS5 comes in different flavors:

I’m interested in the Standard & Full version for Windows; but even if I’m based in France, I would prefer to get an English version… Let’s compare prices now :)

Comparing the various Adobe stores

Considering prices can vary from one country to another and considering there is no shopping engine that can help me to compare prices between countries, I’m starting the hunt for the best price by the various Adobe stores to see the official prices:

So it seems that buying in the US is still the cheaper option… Could US shopping engines help me to decide where to buy in the US?

Well, it isn’t that easy…

Google Product Search: no product clustering, all product editions mixed… Several merchants listed. I need to change my search term from “adobe photoshop cs5” to “adobe photoshop cs5 windows”… Still Extended/Standard, Full/Upgrades are mixed… Extending the search term to “adobe photoshop cs5 windows standard” still brings some Extended versions as “Create images with impact using industry-standard Adobe Photoshop CS5 software”… It’s therefore painful to compare offers, be sure it fits with the exact product I need… Even more frustating when I realize that the CS4 editions of Photoshop are available as clustered products.

Bing Shopping: Bing recently moved to clustered results on all of its result pages. With the search term “adobe photoshop cs5”’, I got a result page with “adobe photoshop elements 8”, “photoshop CS4”… Adobe Photoshop CS5 is in 9th position. No mention of Windows vs Mac or Standard vs Full… On 15th position, I got a “Adobe Photoshop CS5 Mac”. Clicking on the 9th result, considering this is Windows version. 3 offers on the product page. $669 as the best price.

Pricegrabber: no product clustering, only Adobe and Amazon as store. Some offers from Amazon labeled as “Adobe Photoshop CS5”; no clue about which version it is. products and offers mixed. 3 stores listed on the “Adobe Photoshop CS5” product page

Shopzilla: no product clustering, several stores listed… need to tune on the search term.

Similar situation at the other shopping engines…

After quite a lot of efforts, it seems the best price I can get is $669 instead of the $699 official price at Adobe.


Buying Adobe Photoshop CS5 is a simple shopping scenario: the buyer knows what he wants, the product is well defined (even if it comes in different editions), it’s just a matter of finding the right price and the right store. Still, no shopping engine gives answers in a straightforward way; more important: all shopping engines kind-of provide the same experience, meaning this is a tough situation to transform a user into a returning user… Bing Shopping and provides the best results (and best prices) thanks to product clustering, still it’s not the best experience we could imagine.

Considering this is 10+ years old industry (Kelkoo has recently celebrated its 10th anniversary), this is quite concerning that such simple shopping problem is still not efficiently solved. It’s one thing to think about SEM, CPC, CPA, lead per visit, margin… but it’s also key to think about customers and user experience.

1 commentaire

on May 12, 2010 / 3pm
. Wait a little longer and get LightRoom 3 (when it's released, the beta 2 expires in June ;-) ) in a bundle
. Shopping in the US is the easy choice if you can get an "electronic delivery" (ie a mere serial number). I don't know if Adobe US will ship abroad
. Got a CD with PS Elements rev>6 ? Save a few bucks and go the upgrade route ;-)

What shopping engine can give you these hints ? :-P

Oh, almost forgot : Adobe sucks ! You must EITHER buy a license for Win OR for OSX... and the DVD is for one platform only... In 2010 !!