Recently I'm watching online shopping website and found out most of them are removing a useful feature which allows users to compare products.

Some leading brands like Amazon and Newegg don't let user to compare. Even I realized that some websites like Target, DickSmith, RadioShack and etc which formerly had this feature, now have removed it.

Are these brands following some new studies which proves comparsion should be removed? If no, how all of them are doing the same?

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    I do that too, paying attention to the big sites to see what they're doing. It's like I'm taking advantage of their research. (Assuming their changes are based on research and not the whims of someone over in Marketing.) Dec 19, 2016 at 15:00
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    @KenMohnkern: As I outlined in my other comment, I suspect their changes are based on research, but not necessarily on research how to improve usability or usefulness for users, but possibly also/instead on research how to improve revenue. Dec 19, 2016 at 15:06

3 Answers 3


We have to first define “useful feature”…..

To the owner of a shopping website a feature is only useful if it results in them making more profits. This requires a feature to result in more customers choosing to buy a high margin product/service.

Sites like Amazon have a continue program of improvement, they are testing many versions of each page, tracking the customers actions. Therefore they must have found that “comparison feature” results in less profit.

It has been shown many time that by giving someone more information you make it harder for them to decide, often the person will walk out of the shop that has 101 different vegetables on sale and buy from the stop that only has 10 different veg for sale so as to reduce cognitive load.

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    I was about to upvote until I hit the last paragraph. Seriously, customers are not going to get stuck with a mental overload because they can see two products at a time instead of seeing them one by one. A much more likely reason for the removal of a comparison feature is, exactly as you say, that it "results in less profit" - because more informed customers will make a more informed choice, which may well not be the "high margin product/service". Dec 19, 2016 at 14:31
  • @O.R.Mapper, See ideas.repec.org/a/eee/eecrev/v78y2015icp97-119.html (Moreover, within-subject analysis indicates that cognitive load leads to more risk-averse behavior, more impatience over money, and (nominally) more likelihood to anchor. )
    – Ian
    Dec 19, 2016 at 14:42
  • Subjects in that study received "1- and 8-digit memorization treatments". In other words, they had to concentrate on something entirely unrelated while making a choice, and that was how the mental load was increased. But irrespective of that, seeing how you get flooded with link lists of the "Products who bought X also bought ..." type on almost every Amazon page lets me confidently say that Amazon is not aiming at reducing users' mental load. Dec 19, 2016 at 15:05
  • @O.R.Mapper, Amazon does not think about anything, they "just" A/B test every option any member of their staff can come up with....
    – Ian
    Dec 19, 2016 at 15:09
  • And then? Do you think they'll go for the one for which A/B testing yielded the highest user satisfaction in term of usability or usefulness, or rather for the one for which A/B testing promised "making more profits" (quote from your answer)? Dec 19, 2016 at 15:11

Good reads:

How to stop choice paralysis damaging your sales by Paul Boag

The Paradox of Choice: freedom overload equals the Analysis Paralysis by Arthur Rabier

The effort of finding a product and the fear of making a wrong decision cause visitors to abandon their cart and hinder online sales. From this perspective, a website’s goal is to alleviate this fear by building a clear, accessible and logical path to conversion, without any unnecessary information.

TL;DR Analysis paralysis/Noise leads to users giving up and walking away without making a purchase.

You can think about the dating scene and moving to a large city...with so many potential suitors it can be an overwhelming experience and leave one feeling exhausted.

I'm sure studies do exist to prove this, most likely sites are A/B testing different product pages - I'd suggest doing the same as some products might benefit from having detailed comparisons while for others it can harm sales.


Comparison gets harder when two products are having different set of fields in them. So in nowadays case most of the data that are in shopping sites doesn't match the other product of same site or different site. Do when data is not matching and there is compare option user would go gaga. So to avoid Miss Conception Among users this is being removed in most of the sites. But mostly this are used in comparing vehicles and electronic products as they have same or related fields in them.

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