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Video exclusive: how shopping websites get you to spend more

Undercover Which? research reveals website tactics

New Which? research has uncovered the tricks of the trade used by shopping websites to get you to part with your cash.

To uncover these tactics we used a motion eye-tracking device to map and record where shoppers’ eyes were drawn to on the homepages of popular websites such as Amazon.co.uk, Argos.co.uk and Next.co.uk. We then created heat maps of the areas that most caught our shoppers’ eye and asked shopping experts to analyse the different ways our shoppers were influenced by web pages.

Below our video reveals five of the top tactics employed by the websites in our research. Which? members can read the full results of our investigation in the September issue of Which? magazine. If you’re not already a Which? member, you can sign up for a trial for £1 and gain access to this and all our reviews and special reports.

Video guide: five ways shops get you to spend more


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Five ways to shop smart online

1) Check the pricing history of items you’re considering buying. You can also see the average cheapest price of certain products on which.co.uk, and this should tell you if it’s a good time to buy that product.

2) Be careful of products recommended by a shopping website or ‘other people also bought’ suggestions. These can be more expensive than the original thing you’re looking at. And a bundle of products can be exactly the same price as buying items separately – with no discount for buying them together.

3) If you’re suddenly looking for products you weren’t originally intending to, ask yourself why – was there an image of those types of products on the homepage?

4) Take reader reviews with a pinch of salt. There’s no guarantee that these are always genuine reviewers or that they haven’t been edited.

5) Find out if it’s a genuinely good deal. Compare prices between shops – you can find out the prices of appliances in several stores on which.co.uk. If it’s an offer, check what the manufacturer is selling it for, if you can, on its website. If the ‘was’ price is more, it may not be a genuine deal.

You can also see which online shops have been rated the best based on a survey of over 14,000 Which? members.

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