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Comparaison shopping trend analysis

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  1. How shopping bots work
    1. One core service, multiple profiles
    2. Complex technologies
    3. Changing business model(s)
  2. The impact of shopbot on e-market
    1. Market data
    2. The retailer side: shopbots? friend or foe ?
    3. The customer side
  3. Trends and evolution
    1. Specialisation and personalisation
    2. Designing new uses
    3. Technology

Internet Shopbots provide automated tools that allow customers to easily search for prices and product characteristics from online retailers. Since their first appearance on the US market in 1999, the help and assistance tools for online shopping have conspicuously stirred up the interest of e-commerce users and researchers. Online retailers count on them to obtain important traffic to their website and boost their sales, while many studies have been trying to demonstrate the impact of this shopping intermediate on consumer's behaviour and decision-making process. Given the skyrocketing economical figures of e-commerce, it seems today that the intermediation in online shopping has become a major economic need. In such a context, it is no surprise if successful shopbots like MySimon, Kelkoo and Shopping.com were acquired by some of the web's largest online properties . Moreover, all internet giants MSN, Google and Yahoo! have developed or extended their own shopping comparison service in an attempt to enforce their positioning in this strategic sector. It is necessary to dig beyond the surface and to try to understand why some retailers deem them an important threat to their trade, placing them 'one click away' from their competitors while others consider them a major business partner. Moreover, while shopbots were initially meant to serve the customer's interest alone - information neutrality and transparency, their revenue model is built on commissions and direct payments from retailers. How can shopbots conciliate these contradictory interests and build partnerships with the retailers while keeping the user's trust, both necessary for the success of a business model that would enable them to achieve profitability in the long term ? To understand why and how shopbots have grown such a major e-commerce issue and answer the questions above, I first highlight the major characteristics of Shopbots' functioning. Then I analyze their impacts and limits on online shopping actors. Finally, I focus on the coming trends and evolutions of comparison shopping.

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