Aggregator websites are varied in approach but are rapidly growing and hugely influential. Let’s look at the impact that aggregator sites have had and why they’re so important to online sales in the digital landscape.
What is an Aggregator?
First, let’s clear up how we’re using the term aggregator in this document. Curator.io put it succinctly:
An aggregator website is a site that collects data from other sources across the internet and puts the information in one place where users can access it.
These sites aren’t restricted to a particular vertical, they work across numerous sectors including Travel, Finance and Retail. Examples are Skyscanner, Moneysupermarket and Lovethesales.
The objective of Aggregators is simple…
They’re aiming to simplify a wealth (and it could even be said a barrage) of information to consumers, which make it difficult to understand what are the cheapest and best offers in the market. Here’s an example from money.co.uk:
By taking offers from numerous suppliers and retailers and making them all available on one site in an easy to digest manner.
They also offer plenty of written editorials and expert content in regards to the verticals that they work in which can be considered unbiased information to the consumer and means they become a go to destination for information. Here’s an example from kayak.co.uk (May, 2020):
The performance of aggregators is impressive, looking at the numbers. For example, financial specialist money.co.uk can generate over 2 million site visits per month for traffic (according to SimilarWeb, 2020) in the UK.
Global sites such as Skyscanner have an even larger reach. They have the ability to generate around 25 million site views per month (May 2020), which further demonstrates the importance of these aggregators when purchasing.
However there are challenges for these sites…
Shopping habits are changing. Suppliers and Retailers have pushed back in an attempt to get customers to come directly to their websites. When consumers shop directly on their websites suppliers have the ability to ‘upsell’, which means that they can provide their ancillary products where the margins may be higher. They worry aggregators remove some of this opportunity due to offering ancillary services from all suppliers.
There has been a significant increase in mobile traffic over the past 5 years. Many aggregator sites aren’t set up to offer the same user experience via mobile, and legacy issues on their websites mean it can often be costly and disruptive to make the required changes.
Because aggregator sites don’t have complete data visibility they don’t have an in-depth view on what a customer has purchased. This means they’re unable to re-market to consumers based on what they have purchased previously. With the rise in smart marketing aggregators miss out if they don’t have the ability to understand exactly what a customer is interested in purchasing and as a result their emails could be seen as unwanted or simply a branding exercise.
So what’s next?
There is a proliferation of information on purchasing for consumers and the space has become increasingly squeezed. In order to stand out or to continue to evolve, aggregator sites need to work on becoming closer to their customer and create brand loyalty. Technology which enables a customers to purchase directly on site rather than clicking out to suppliers is an option many are exploring.
Another is to ensure they collect information on their customers by offering a user profile and exclusive information or discounts in exchange for signing-up. In utilities, there is also the offer of “auto switching” to the cheapest deals which will enable consumers to benefit from the best deals in the market … and continued revenues for the aggregator.
Evolution of aggregators is vital to ensure they stay relevant in an ever changing world. This isn’t easy and in many cases there is often resistance to change, but then these sites have always met this with innovative and interesting ways to make their sites useful and popular.