The age of buyer beware is out the window. Next Generation Intermediaries are set to redefine the meaning of a consumer watchdog.
While some are more innovative than others, Next Gen Intermediaries are now serious players in the retail, travel and energy landscape. Some move you to action while others just aid the consumer decision making process. Either way, they are here to stay. Here’s a brief look at how they have evolved, and what they aid the savvy shopper to do.
1. First Generation
In the beginning comparison sites were all about streamlining the research process. This how next generation intermediaries first began. These are sites strictly used for comparison and ranking. They offer simple tables and forms encouraging self-discovery over facts like usage to help make a better decision. Examples included:
2. Second Generation services helping people to ‘do stuff’.
Helping consumers to navigate complex supply channels, 2nd generation services are about getting the job done. They help by establishing long-term relationships with visitors and work to improve trust and transparency. They might encourage collective switching to a new service or speed up bulky decisions about energy, Internet and insurance purchases with a comparison table. Examples in the UK include:
3. Next Gen – Decision Concierge (the most advanced)
Acting as a type of decision concierge, the most advanced intermediaries help consumers join all the dots. They enable richer and more rounded experiences and really personalise advice to the consumer, with clever sophistication and nuances that truly aid the individual.
These are the type of services you may have to pay for in the future because information is very carefully verified and tested. Examples of a next generation intermediary include:
We'll be keeping an eye on these services as new players emerge.
For more information on the maturing market for decision support services, check out our post on Online Thrills.