Two of the most popular ways to present products are review posts that focus on the details of a single product and side-by-side comparisons that allow buyers to look at competing options. But while both of these strategies have strengths, which one has the best overall sales advantage? The answer likely has more to do with the products than the presentation strategies themselves.

This means that your goal should be to match your products with the right format for their particular characteristics, rather than rely too heavily on what you might consider the stronger strategy. You can’t sell everything the same way, but you can understand the sales process and execute it more effectively.

Side-By-Side: The Specs Approach

Most consumers are familiar with side-by-side comparison shopping because they associate it with buying products like laptop computers and smartphones – products that need to perform specific tasks and have similar competitors. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see tech specs listed in charts comparing one product to another so that consumers can see exactly how they line up.

This strategy is effective for computers and other high-importance items because they can help potential buyers narrow in on what might be considered key customer pain points. If you can identify the challenge a product meets and then point to how different products successfully (or unsuccessfully) address that issue by posting a comparison, then side-by-side spec reviews can also enhance purchases and customer satisfaction.

Another scenario in which side-by-side comparisons are helpful is when you’ve got a few products in your inventory that just don’t sell very well. Maybe you’ve had them listed at a sale price for months or aren’t moving through your stock of something and it’s stuck in your warehouse. In these cases, using a price comparison can be a good way to push a poorly selling product along.

This works well when there aren’t enough competitors for an item or a base knowledge of expected cost for buyers to use as an anchor point. Putting two similar products on the market at different price points can help the less expensive one build sales momentum because it looks like a steal compared to its higher priced counterpart.

The Review: Getting to the Details

Obviously, a specs approach to comparison shopping is a fairly detailed take on a product, but it’s still less likely to be comprehensive than a direct review of a single product. That’s because side-by-side comparisons are great at reviewing objective details about products, but reviews are better able to capture the subjective factors – a reviewer who you have a lot in common with is more likely to offer you helpful information than one you’ve disagreed with in the past.

Reviews can also stretch beyond specs. It’s one thing to say “this mattress is made of foam” and another to talk about the “personalized sleep experience.” The former fits in a spec comparison – material types and quality – but what does the latter mean in a comparison? It’s worth discussing, but it needs a different context.

The Review: Customer Perspectives

A second way to harness reviews is to call on customers to give them. Customer reviews can increase sales rates dramatically, both by increasing the likelihood that people will buy in the first place, and by increasing sales rates when customer reviews reach a critical amount.

For obvious reasons, customers trust reviews by other users more than they do those that come from retailers or paid product testers. Customer reviews also help your website by providing fresh injections of content, which can draw more attention to a product. That’s why it’s worthwhile to send out surveys or solicit other forms of feedback with permission to use them on your site. Customers will also be flattered that you value their opinion.

The Bottom Line

Marketing is a science, and how you present and review your products makes a big difference in how successful you are. When trying to choose a format, look at what your potential comparison points might be as well as what information you think really matters to buyers. Then choose the format that allows you to foreground that information.

Ultimately, the right marketing strategy is the one that equips your customers to make smart product choices.