Claire & I have recently been on the look out for a new compact digital camera, to replace our aging Canon Ixus 65. During our research process, we’ve looked a countless cameras on the internet, via the manufacturers’ websites, consumer electronic web sites such as cnet and read countless reviews.
When it came time to actually buy a digital camera though, we were going to buy it in person at a local Gold Coast retailer such as Harvey Norman, The Good Guys or similar. What we found was, while they had prices that were better than the recommended retail price by the manufacturer and some were going to be flexible on price, they were still quite expensive.
Inevitably when people start researching online for a product, they’ll start with a search engine with looking for the best compact digital cameras. The results will yield sites such as a digital camera product round up on cnet and a number of companies will be paying for advertising on Google & co. as well. While possible, it was going to take a lot of time to sift through all those sites to find the best deal and this is where the comparison shopping websites become the consumers best friend!
Comparison shopping web sites crawl over literally tens or hundreds of different ecommerce web sites, cataloging what they find and how much each product costs. Of course, the comparison shopping websites aren’t just for digital cameras – you can buy all manner of things via them from fridges to perfume, pet supplies to furniture, there aren’t a lot of things you can’t find. As a consumer, you enter the product name or product category into these sites and see dozens of different companies selling the same product, with wild variances in price.
In Australia, the three most prominent shopping comparison websites are probably:
They all have a similar feel about them, however the interface and how the products are cataloged and organised differs by site – which makes some easier to use then others. In the case of the Canon Ixus 200 IS digital camera we purchased, it retails for approximately $600 for the bare camera chassis. Claire bought it via Shopping Square, a massive online store that we’d never heard of before but discovered by the comparison shopping sites. For less than half the retail price of the camera on its own, we managed to get the camera, a 16Gb memory card & prompt postage.
Next time you’re looking for a product that you can buy online, I highly recommend that you do yourself and your wallet a favour and visit one of the above sites before you spend a whole lot more money than you need to.