We're living in the information age. That means we're in a world where we're constantly connected to each other, via social media, messaging & mobile phones while information is easy to find, either by asking a friend or searching the internet. Years ago we had to manually check prices in different shops to find the lowest cost products, this process was made easier with the invention of e-commerce, also known as online shopping, which has meant other prices are a few clicks of a button away. To reduce the effort even further price comparison websites have been created. You may have used GoCompare or Compare The Market to look at insurance, or Moneysupermarket to compare flights. Or even Google shopping to check online prices. Finding the lowest prices is so easy for the consumer that prices are forced as low as they can go, which means companies have to compete on other aspects of business.
One thing companies are competing on is shipping. Most shoppers would rather go to a site offering free one-day shipping, rather than pay £4 for 2nd class shipping. Amazon's been extremely clever here with their prime service. While there's a hefty price tag for a years membership, you can make the money back with a few Christmas purchases. While Amazon are very competitive on price many customers won't even bother looking elsewhere for products if they can get them through Amazon Prime. We're also really excited about Amazon's new 1-hour delivery services available in big cities, but that's a story for another blog post.
Another place companies can compete is through word of mouth and reviews. We've all wondered about a product and scrolled down to check what other buyers thought of it and I'm sure many of us have been persuaded to buy a product or avoid a product from these snippets of information. While many of the larger retailers, Amazon included, offer reviews on their own site, but can these truly be trusted? Amazon made news recently when they banned thousands of accounts for writing paid reviews (that's when a manufacturer will pay a firm to write hundreds of positive reviews on various sites in order to make a product look better than it is). While it's great that Amazon and many other services shut down these practices many retailers don't and dodgy ones might even write their own! This is why it's important for firms to earn praise on neutral websites like Facebook, Google Reviews & Trustpilot. If a company gets a good score here then you can almost be certain that it's legitimate.
You can read a selection of Total Merchandise reviews on our website, as well as across Google, Facebook and a host of other platforms.