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Smart online shoppers know that comparison shopping is the key to unlocking huge savings on just about any product you want, from shoes to digital cameras.
Becoming a savvy price comparing shopper takes some time to perfect, though – until now. Instead of teaching yourself everything there is to know about perfecting your comparison shopping skills, you can read this post.
This guide is perfect for beginners who want to learn how to comparison shop online the smart way.
No more wasting time trying to figure out the differences of each site and what comparison sites are the best either because I’m outlining 8 winners that will help you save money on virtually anything you’re shopping for!
What is Comparison Shopping and How Can I Benefit from It?
Remember the good old days of clipping coupons and searching through endless stacks of paper flyers to find out what store could give you the best price on that new coffeemaker you’ve been eyeing?
Those days are long gone, thanks to comparison shopping online. Online retailers love comparison shopping because it drives traffic to their websites when they have the best prices and ultimately leads to more sales.
Online shoppers love them because they cause online retailers to engage in some friendly competition to drive prices down, giving us the money savings.
Comparison shopping is no longer a huge, daunting process that involves driving to different stores in the area to find out prices on certain items or checking through flyers. You can do the same thing online for your favorite online – and sometimes, in-store – retailers.
Basically, comparison shopping sites let you browse through product categories, or even search for specific products you want to buy, to find the lowest prices.
You’ll see what retailers are selling the items you want and the price for which they’re offering it so that you know right where to go to save money.
Comparison shopping seems straightforward: search for the products you want, find the best prices, and go to that online store to buy them.
For the most part, it is simple. But, you learn some tips and tricks the more you use comparison shopping sites, so I wanted to outline a few important ones for beginners:
Install Browser Extensions When Possible
Some comparison shopping websites are more than just websites. They also offer browser extensions that can make the comparing process so much easier.
One of my biggest flaws when I first began using these sites was forgetting to use them. I’d find a great price at one of my favorite retailers and purchase the item I wanted because I knew I was getting a good price.
Was it the best price though? Maybe not, but I didn’t know because I forgot to search for it on a comparison site first.
That’s where browser extensions come in. They run seamlessly in your web browser and only pop up when you need them to. Search for a product online.
The extension will recognize that you’re searching for it and will show you where you can purchase that product or similar ones for the best price.
Think of it as your personal shopping companion. You don’t need to do anything besides let an extension run in your browser. And, it’s a fool-proof way to always remember to compare prices.
Invisible Hand is one of my favorite browser extensions to compare prices on travel-related things, like flights and hotels.
Make Time to Compare
I’d be lying if I said that comparing prices was a quick process.
As convenient as it is, it’s not necessarily quick because you’ll still need to give your due diligence to some research to make sure you’re getting the best deals from legitimate companies (more on that in a moment).
I suggest that, when you’re ready to search for something online, you have some time set aside to really compare your options on the comparison sites and research companies.
Consider Making Your Purchases at One Retailer
One of the tips I really want to emphasize is making the most of your money savings by being an all-around smart shopper.
Imagine there are three electronics products you really want to buy. You search your favorite price comparison sites to find out what electronics stores have the best prices on all three of them.
Not surprisingly, items A, B, and C are all less expensive at different online retailers.
You decide to purchase each item from the stores offering them for the best prices.
But, you end up paying $30 more in shipping costs than you would’ve if you had bought them all from the same store and you missed out on an extra 20% discount for meeting the minimum purchase amount for the discount.
My point: don’t always assume that you’re saving money just by looking for the lowest prices of your items. You need to look at the bigger picture.
Most of the time, you’ll save money by shopping at one retailer rather than buying all your items separately at different ones.
Put the items all in your cart at each website if you have to so that you can see what your final costs would be with shipping and determine which site gives you the lowest price on all of them.
Always Check Online Store Reviews
Just because a comparison shopping site leads you to a retailer with a great price on the item you’re searching for, it doesn’t mean that you should shop there.
Some retailers have what seem like awesome prices, but they aren’t legitimate companies with excellent reviews.
Online retailers can sign up as partnered merchants with comparison shopping websites so that their products will show up in searches. Still, that doesn’t make them companies that are worthy of your time and purchase.
When you find an excellent price with a retailer you haven’t heard of, you should be sure to check online reviews of that store to see what others think. Some questions to ask yourself as you research include:
- What does the return policy look like, and does the store adhere to it?
- How good is the customer service? Will they get back to me quickly?
- What kind of experiences have other customers had? Would they recommend this store to their friends?
- Are the products genuine or are they knock-offs that look like the real thing?
- How long does the company take to ship items?
Take Shipping into Account
Some partnered merchants can be a little sneaky. They might drop the price of an item much lower than other merchants so that you’re more likely to click on the product to purchase it at their website.
The problem is that not all comparison shopping sites show the final price you’ll pay, including shipping costs.
When you get to the site ready to purchase your item, you might find that the shipping cost is double what other online stores will charge, basically wiping out the savings you could have had.
Bottom line: don’t just rely on the price listed on the comparison shopping website. You should still double check the prices on the retailer’s website to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
What are the Best Comparison Shopping Sites?
Now that you know more about comparison shopping, how it works, and how to make it work for you, now you need to know what sites to use! There are a lot of comparison shopping sites but, trust me, they aren’t all equal.
The ones below are those that have consistent users that trust them to find them the best deals on the web. These sites partner with top companies to save you money!
PriceGrabber is a super-popular option that people all over the world use. I personally love it because it’s so simple. Some of these types of websites are so cluttered when you visit that just the initial sight can be a turnoff.
With PriceGrabber, you just search for the item you want in the search bar. Or, search for a more general term like “digital camera”. You can also browse the already-there categories if you’re just in the mood to browse.
Not only will you get compared prices, but you’ll also see the reviews for each retailer when you click the “Product Details” link, so you can delve a little deeper into each product comparison than just by price.
People who have been burned by online retailers in the past. PriceGrabber gives you a full overview of the retailers offering the prices it lists, so you can weigh your options on more than just price.
NexTag gives you a lot of options for finding just the right product at the right price. Here, you can narrow down your search results by lowest price, recently added, product rating, and more, to help you find exactly what you need. If you like to stick to one or two online retailers, you can even search by retailer for a specific type of product to see what the money-saving options are for that product.
NexTag has a lot of categories to choose from if you just want to take some time browsing instead of plugging in an exact product.
NexTag is a great option for people who don’t have a specific product picked out (although it works for that too!).
If you want to browse by category or type of product, NexTag gives you plenty of options to do so to help you find the best item at the lowest price.
Google Shopping has just about everything you can want in a comparison shopping site. It’s clean and easy to navigate, you can see store ratings and product reviews, and you can find the best prices for just about any product you want.
When you visit the site, you’ll see a few top categories waiting for you. If you don’t want to browse those, just enter a specific product or product type in the search bad and Google will do its magic.
Google lovers! Seriously, Google Shopping uses the best of Google to find you what you’re looking for, and it couldn’t be simpler.
When you search for a product, Google pulls product reviews, store reviews, videos, prices, product details, and tons of other helpful information, just like it would during a Google search. On this site, it’s all in one place so you don’t have to dig through search results to find it.
BizRate is kind of a mix of deal site and comparison shopping site. When you visit the page, you’ll see some excellent deals from popular retailers, like Walmart.com and eBay. Or, you can use the search feature to find something more specific.
BizRate curates information from top retailers on the web, like Overstock.com, Houzz, Old Navy, and thousands of other trusted stores.
BizRate has been around for a long time and, in fact, was one of the first of this type of site that I’ve used. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing, but it’s simple to use and it works.
This is a good site to use when you might have a product in mind but aren’t opposed to looking at the weekly deals too, which could offer you an even better value.
I have no idea how this site got its name, but I don’t care. It’s awesome, especially if you’re an Amazon lover like I am.
CamelCamelCamel helps you search through Amazon to find the best prices on products you want, while also alerting you when the products you want go on sale or when another seller on Amazon sells it for a cheaper price.
Basically, it’s a go-to source for all things Amazon and an easy way to stay on top of prices.
Amazon shoppers who want a simple way to find the best prices for things they want to buy.
Your results will show you the lowest Amazon price, and the lowest new and used prices from 3rd party Amazon sellers so that you can compare without ever making a trip to Amazon and sifting through the listings.
If you want to track the price of an item, just create an alert to be sent to your email when the price drops.
Don’t forget to add the Camelizer browser extension to your browser! This handy tool alerts you when the products you’re tracking drop in price, so you don’t even have to check the website.
Shopping.com is one of the longest-running comparison shopping sites on the web. It’s not one of the best-looking sites, but it’s easy to navigate and offers some detailed results.
I like that you’re not limited to just shop by product or category here. You can even browse your favorite brands to see what deals they currently have and what products are available for purchase.
Check out the top products to see what’s popular at the moment!
People who want a place for finding low prices plus deals at their favorite online retailers in one spot.
One of the best features of Shopping.com is that you can search by brand, so you can get updates about the best deals from that brand happening right now. Click a product with a deal and Shopping.com will take you to the place that’s offering it!
Shopzilla is a shopping comparison site that gives its partnered retailers a Shopping Report Card.
That means that Shopzilla users can come back to rate the retailer based on their experience to give other shoppers a good idea of how the retailer operates and whether it’s trustworthy.
When you search for a product, you can click on the rating under the name of the advertised retailer to get its Shopping Report Card, which is especially helpful to learn about lesser-known retailers.
Shoppers who want to do some research on the company they’re purchasing from before buying. The Shopping Report Card is super helpful to learn about the retailers you haven’t heard about before from real customers who use Shopzilla to find low prices.
PriceRunner is a UK-specific price comparison site to help UK shoppers find low prices on items they want.
This site is one of the simplest to navigate and is pleasing to the eyes, giving you the information you need to know without excess advertisements and clutter.
Search by product or category, and then you can filter down your search even more, depending on the type of product. PriceRunner offers a bunch of filters so that you can find exactly what you’re looking for.
UK shoppers! PriceRunner has prices from top online UK retailers and presents all prices in pounds.
At Frugal For Less, we love suggesting ways for you to save money, no matter what you do. Shopping is one of those activities that you should never enter into blindly.
There are so many ways for you to save money, even on high-priced items or things you need to purchase right now.
Comparison shopping is, hands down, one of my favorite go-to ways to save money all year. In fact, I never shop online without doing some price research first.
Once you compare prices and find the best deal, don’t forget to check out these cash back portals that will give you money back once you make a purchase! Then, you can also check these money-saving websites, some of which offer coupons and promo codes for you to use during your shopping trip.
I can usually save between 30% and 50% on my online purchases by taking a little time to research some money savers!
Want some more ways to save on your shopping trips? Check out these other articles:
- Shopkick Review: Earn Free Gift Cards For Shopping
- Dosh App Review: Earn Free Cash Back When Shopping For Everyday Items
- 19 Tips And Tricks That Will Save You Hundreds When Shopping Online
Which of the price comparison sites we listed do you use? Are there any others you use regularly? Let us know in a comment!