Online shopping is the 'way to go'
Duncan Alfreds, News24
Cape Town - PriceCheck's online business model can offer consumers more variety with their digital online purchases, said PriceCheck.co.za
"We offer a wide variety of products from different suppliers online. Our first priority is to get big brand shops online, but we can help fulfil the shopping needs of people without them having to leave their desks," PriceCheck founder Kevin Tucker told News24.
The company has been operating since 2006 and allows users of its website to browse products before deciding on a purchase. Products can be compared on price and users are directed to vendors' websites to make a purchase.
Online shopping is the way to go and PriceCheck is advancing this online business model for the the country in the long term.
The site has been revamped to add more functionality for users and improve the accuracy of its search, but not everybody is enthusiastic about the online business model in SA.
"We are focused on retail and our approach has not gone online yet," Computer Mania's Charl Adams told News24. "There are so many traders online and it doesn't fit with our structure at the moment. Retail works for us," he added.
"They would be in competition with us, they're really just an agent. We would have to pay for a sale and I have sales people in my business already," Incredible Connection CEO Dave Miller told News24.
But Tucker insisted that an online strategy was essential for companies and described that one had to build an online reputation the same way as a retail reputation - with good service.
"Retail is great in the short term, but in the long term you need an online strategy. We have our Trusted Shop programme that we use to evaluate shops. You have to be listed with us for at least six months, have a secure payment gateway, and provide full contact details," Tucker said.
Companies that fulfil these requirements would be identified on the PriceCheck website as trusted, and even big brand shops would have to earn the label, he added.
Miller, though, said that he sees "more value" in consumer advocacy website like HelloPeter.com where people can comment on the service they receive from vendors.
"What's the level of service like (with PriceCheck)? I don't see any other big names there. I'm not knocking them, but I just don't see value in it. I see far more value in Hello Peter where we register and respond to customers' complaints."
Tucker said that PriceCheck gave everyone the ability to compete and that users would be allowed to leave reviews of shops and products purchased.
"Our core business model is referring traffic to shops, it's a great ROI (return on investment) model. We give free exposure to merchants and we send them highly qualified users."
He conceded that some people browsed the site and made their purchase elsewhere, but was bullish about the value of the user experience.
"We have 170 shops registered and over four million products on offer. Sure, there's a fair number of people who browse - that's unique to South Africa - but next time they might decide to buy," Tucker said.
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