February 1, 2008

Transparency – blessing or tyranny?

One of the main consumer trends in recent years is ‘transparency‘. Transparency means that all the stakeholders have equal access to all the relevant information of a market place. In the online shopping space, this translates into accurate price info of the total price of a product and an objective insight into retailer service and product performance.

The increased transparency is a true blessing for consumers, who now know what’s really going and don’t have to make decisions based on incomplete info. A transparent marketplace enables consumers to find products that are truly good value for money (total cost, product quality and service, on time delivery etc.). No longer have consumers second guess the value of a product. Both the buyer and the seller are equally informed in a perfectly ‘transparent’ world. The market needs to provide the following information in order to become fully transparent:

  • price comparison that shows the actual price of a product or service (incl. shipping and payment costs) – what’s the total cost?
  • product availability and delivery time – when and how do I get it?
  • product and retailer reviews – what and where to buy?

But transparency is not only a blessing for consumers. Retailers that provide excellent service and competitive products also benefit from the increased transparency through positive reviews and exposure of the true value of a product (quality vs. price).

It’s clear though that while transparency is a blessing for some, it’s a ‘tyranny‘ for others. Retailers that don’t provide competitively priced products and don’t deliver superior services to their customers will have a difficult time in the transparent world. Their sub-par performance will be widely known in the buying community through reviews, comparisons etc. There will be know hiding places left for retailers that don’t deliver what they promise.

The New Zealand online retail market is currently lagging behind many other countries in terms of product/retail transparency, and it’s PriceMe’s goal to change that. We intend to increase the level of transparency for NZ consumers. Let’s make the market more transparent!

By Henrik  In NZ retailing 

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