Ryan's receive customer service award for the 7th year in a row

Summer Mini Series – How to fair compare

Mon 16th Aug 21

When we’re out shopping, it’s relatively simple to compare products that are sitting in front of us on a shelf. Whether that’s checking ingredients, the quantity, or even doing a quick online check for product reviews, when a product can be seen and touched, it’s much easier to choose the one that suits your needs better.

Online shopping allows us to shop in a more convenient way – from the comfort of our homes or workplaces and at a time that suits us. And while we can still check two products side by side, we can’t experience them physically and it can be tempting to select on price.

There’s more to getting a better deal than price alone, though, and it’s always important to ask yourself, are you really getting the best price or the best value for money? That other old saying ‘You get what you pay for’ is more often than not, true.

Here, the team from Ryan’s review three things to consider when comparison shopping – whether online or in person.

Quality and craftsmanship

The old sayings ‘Buy cheap, buy twice’ and ‘You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’ have definitely been tested over the years and, as prices fall due to competitive marketplaces, technological developments or cheaper manufacturing methods, prices for some products have fallen naturally, too.

Possibly the biggest mistake to make when comparing products or services is to overlook quality and to buy on price alone. If your product is physical, check for the materials that the product has been made from, and the manufacturing ethics involved. When it comes to services, it’s the customer service itself that you’ll want to make sure of, as well as the quality of the product itself. In insurance, when comparing policies, it’s a good idea to check the levels of cover, and the sort of service and support you can expect when it comes to claims, changing circumstances and renewing.

Quantity

Chocolate biscuits are definitely getting smaller! But have you ever noticed when buying a product that’s in a promotion that it, too, is smaller than you’re used to? This can be a common method of reducing price to offer a good deal and it isn’t just used for food, either. Two for one deals will often offer a price per weight that is still more expensive than buying the bigger pack. If you’re not a mathematician, you may need to get your calculator out, but it’s always worth checking.

When comparing products and services, the same theory applies. In insurance, you may find a policy that looks as though it has all the covers you’ll need, but the level of cover may be less and the excess you’d need to pay in the event of a claim may be more. Always check the detail.

Cost of ownership

While two products may appear to be the same, one may have been made to last longer or to cost less to run. This is definitely the case with the electronics industry, where a cheaper product may well have higher electricity needs and a shorter shelf life, meaning you’ll need to pay more each month to run it and you’ll need to replace it sooner. Always take time to review the specifications, and check independent online reviews as well – not just those on the manufacturer’s own website.

The same can be said for services and, if the service you’re receiving from your chosen supplier falls short, you may need to seek out a replacement supplier. In insurance, the cost of ownership will be tested in the unfortunate event of a claim, especially if you have a higher excess in place as a result of a cheaper policy.

It’s good to talk

At the end of the day, shopping around is a fact of life and it’s a great reassurance exercise. If you have a preferred supplier to whom you’d prefer to stay loyal, but you’ve found a cheaper price, have the conversation with that supplier. They’ll help you ascertain whether you’re comparing like for like and, if you are, they may well be able to find ways to lower their price. After all, customer loyalty goes two ways.