You do comparison shopping when you check around to different stores and shops to look for the best of what you are looking for, or the most economical price. It can be as simple as checking for the lowest price, or you can draw up a list of features to compare. As you check them off, you can see which product or item is what you really want. Usually, you end up shopping there. One of the best advantages of shopping online is this step of doing comparison shopping.
I've always been on a tight budget, so I've done lots of comparison shopping, even though it meant driving around to different stores and malls over a number of days and even weeks. Sometimes I started my comparison shopping campaign long before I had the money, so I would not yield to impulse buying before I'd found the best bargain. The internet saves enormously on time, gasoline, and wear and tear on your body when you do comparison shopping. You can even do it reclining in bed if you have a laptop or tablet!
What is more, there are sites on the internet known as price engines, or comparison shopping sites. You type in the kind of item you are looking for, and it will list the stores where you can find it, and at what prices. Then you click on those stores to have a closer look and watch for other details that are important to you.
Some people are always in a hurry, or they don't like to be slowed down with too much detail, so they do only a cursory check with these comparison shopping sites, and then they have made up their minds, and are off to buy in a matter of minutes. Others are far more meticulous and will draw up worksheets, to compare the product offered at several sites, and then weigh the benefits and disadvantages carefully before they decide. Fortunately, online shopping provides room for both extremes and everyone in between! The better you get at it the more you become a smart Power Shopper.
Here's one place with thorough information on comparison shopping.
eBizMBA offers a list of the 20 most popular comparison shopping
portals. They combine ranking methods from Alexa and Quantcast to create their own ranking method. This is the order in which
they list them;
shop Local - for USA residents only
SlickDeals - users post deals they find.
woot - only sells one deal at a time!
coupons print coupons (you will need to download software)
shopzilla (I like the simplicity of the layout)
ShopAtHome - another coupon site
PriceGrabber - also pays you $5 for a review of a product
shopping.com (US) - which is owned by eBay
become (owns several international sites)
couponcabin - also a service of PriceGrabber.com
Geeks (my kind'a prices!)
But that list is not complete! I have found some others, and more keep arriving online. It doesn't hurt to try out a number of these aides to your comparison shopping, but after a while you will find a favourite, or several favourites. Bookmark them and soon you'll have your own little comparison shopping routine all down pat.
Froogle (owned by Google, of course)
PriceRunner.co.uk (especially for UK shoppers)
Kelkoo.co.uk (another UK comparison engine, owned by yahoo)
Kelkoogroup.com USA version (there are currently 15 international sites)
Suddenly there are a number of shopping engines in Canada to allow us to compare prices;
www.shop.ca - gives you $25 off on the first $100 you spend
www.pricebat.ca - only computers and electronics categories.
If you have not heard of Consumer Reports you will want to check them out. This is a non-profit organization that carefully tests and researches products and reports on their results in their monthly magazine and on their website. They do not sell or refer you to any particular brand other than to tell you honestly which models or units held up to their rigorous testing, and which ones did not. Especially in the areas of cars, household appliances and in electronics, you might want to check with them first.
Most of the comparison shopping engines get a small commission from the merchants whenever you click to go look at their listing. This arrangement generally filters out shops that are scams on the internet.
On the other hand, it means those merchants that pay the most will be on the top of the price charts. If you will click on the link to see the next... and then the next ... page of price comparisons, you may find better prices to suit you.
One more tip. I've visited and bookmarked all of the above sites that I think I'll want to use again. All these bookmarks are in one folder, so when I want to do a serious comparison shopping campaign, I'll just open my Firefox browser, find that folder in my bookmarks (Favourites) and click on the tab at the bottom of the list that says, Open All in Tabs. With experience I'll find some favourite ones and some to get rid of, so my list will shorten. So will my comparison shopping time!
(My favourite online shops and stores end up in another folder, naturally).