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Buying Online: An Analysis of Shopbot Visitors


Address for correspondence: Franz Hackl, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria. Tel.: +43-732-2468-8333; fax: +43-732-2468-8209; e-mail:


Abstract. We conduct an empirical study on the search and purchasing behavior of buyers on an Austrian price comparison site. On such a market a consumer typically searches for the cheapest price of a given product. Reliability and service of the supplier, however, are other important characteristics of an offer. We find robust evidence of consumer behavior that can be described as a two-stage procedure: shoppers first select a group of candidate offers based on the price only; then, in the actual buying decision consumers tradeoff a lower price with higher reliability of the retailer.