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Launched last week, Sky Shopping is a price comparison site displaying products from retailers including M&S, John Lewis and Comet.

 Sky Shopping homepage

There are already plenty of shopping comparison sites out there, so is this one any different?

Homepage

The screenshot above shows how the homepage is supposed to look, but on my laptop, for whatever reason, I get this on all browsers, which doesn't look good.

Sky shopping homepage

I think this is due to the banner ad blocking on IE7 / Vista, but perhaps the designers should have tested the site on various browsers and operating systems to avoid this.

Elsewhere, the homepage doesn't promote the products on offer above the fold. So much space is taken up by the box promoting competitions and voucher codes that the visitor has to scroll down to see any products.

The top navigation menu isn't great from a usability perspective either; the text headings are too small, and the drop down menus could be a lot better.

Below the fold, the site does start to promote some of its top sellers and featured products, and the price finder is potentially useful.

Sky Shopping below the fold

Searching for products

The top navigation menu is not especially usable, and some of the product category labels are misleading. For instance, instead of labels like 'input devices' and 'hardware', why not provide links to 'PCs/laptops', and 'accessories'.

Once you click on a category, it doesn't get much better. Some of the options and links can be confusing. The arrows below next to the product categories make you think that a drop down list would appear when you click it, but instead it opens a new page.

For a site with so many products on offer, the filtering options on Sky Shopping are woefully inadequate, and enough to frustrate most online shoppers.

Looking for computers, I can't find a way to show only PCs, not laptops, so I am left with over 9,000 products listed:

Sky Shopping PC / laptop search

The lack of any filtering options is truly shocking, and makes the product search virtually useless. Even once you get down to a list of laptops and sort by price, you still have 4,000+ products listed, and would have to go through at least 40 pages of accessories which have also been place in the same category.

It doesn't get any better if you know what it is you are looking for. Search for a 'Sony Vaio' for instance, and you have a list of 1,600 results with no distinction betwen Vaio laptops and accessories.

Sky Shopping search results

Conclusion

Considering the amount of decent websites around that offer more sophiscated product search options and filters, the fact that Sky Shopping has not bothered to provide even the most basic methods to refine searches is baffling.

This makes searching for anything on the site a potentially long and frustrating task.

It doesn't even do much of a job at price comparison either; once you select a product, related products in a similar price range are displayed, but you don't have the option of looking at the products and prices from different retailers, which is what comparison sites are supposed to do.

Sky Shopping will get a fair amount of traffic, just for being promoted on the Sky.com portal, but will need a lot of improvements to get people to use it regularly and keep returning.

Related articles:
Retailers invest in comparison engines but opportunities missed
Q&A: MORE TH>N's Roberto Hortal Munoz on comparison sites 

Graham Charlton

Published 17 November, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (1)

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katie temperly

I've made a couple of purchases recently on OffersSupermarket.co.uk and I've got to say that I am massivley impressed. The site lists offers on all sorts of things from electrics to clothes (I was supposed to be limiting my purchase to a television but ended up buying a pair of heels with the cash I saved). I recommend!!

about 6 years ago

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