Shopping comparison sites guide

Shopping comparison websites can help you sniff out a good deal.
 
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  • Updated:3 Apr 2007
 

01 .Introduction

Father & son

You’ve read the latest Choice test report on digital cameras and decided now’s the time to take the plunge. But where do you go to find the best deal?

You could trudge all over town looking for the cheapest price or wait on the phone while busy sales assistants eventually answer your enquiry. Or you could let your mouse do the walking and search for the best price on one website.

  • Shopping comparison sites list the highest and lowest prices from a range of shops, including online and traditional retailers.
  • You search for the product you’re interested in or click through the product categories for the item and the site creates a list of prices from several retailers.
  • When you’ve found one that looks competitive, follow the link to the retailer’s website to buy online or find out if they have a shop in your area.

Please note: this information was current as of April 2007 but is still a useful guide to today's market.


Things to look out for

Not all shopping comparison sites have an extensive range of retailers. For example, in some product categories there may only be a few retailers. Some sites even belong to another comparison site. For instance, Shopping.com has a network of partner sites that includes DoorOne, Yahoo! 7 Shopping and ninemsn shopping — so they’re likely to feature many of the same retailers.

  • If you’re shopping online, check that there’s a local telephone number and physical address in case you need to contact the company.
  • Only use secure payment sites that feature a padlock symbol or have https in the address bar.

We’ve compiled a list of Australian shopping comparison sites so you can try them for yourself. These websites feature a range of products such as electrical, computers, home appliances and sporting equipment. We haven’t rated the services — they’re listed in alphabetical order.

CHOICE Shopper

CHOICE Shopper  is a free service for members to find the best price for major laundry, kitchen, computers, cameras, lawnmowers, tyres, cars and home entertainment appliances. You'll need your subscriber number and the model name and number.

Contact CHOICE Shopper by phone on 1300 360 655.

You'll receive the best available price from a list of suppliers and the retailer's details so you can buy the item.

 
 

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General sites

  • AusPrices compares prices for thousands of computer, electronics, jewellery, photography and household items from about 250 Australian retailers. Some products have a review or rating and there are links to retailers’ websites to buy online or enquire about product availability.
  • At BuyFast you click on a product category to see a list of retailers. Type in the item name to find the best price. You can choose to include all or some of the retailers on the list; however, they may not all be local sites so you should check before going ahead with a purchase.
  • DoorOne has comparison prices for categories such as home appliances, baby products, clothing, computers, clothing, home furnishings and cosmetics. It’s possible to search by brand, product category or price range. The site lists the price for each relevant retailer and the postage costs if they’re available.
  • GetOnce features books, DVDs, games, computers, music CDs and beauty products. It’s possible to search one or all of the listed retailers for a product. You can also search auction sites including eBay and 2bid.
  • Getprice has consumer products in a range of categories such as computing, electronics, kids, house, sport and wine. The site includes short buying guides with explanations of terminology or specifications for technical products.
  • MyShopping covers a range of products — from electronics and toys to gifts and flowers, food and wine, books and posters and even credit cards and home loans. The site has reviews and buying guides for some products.
  • Submit an item’s model number into the NeTender website and it’s sent like a tender to retailers. The site lists the three cheapest prices and then you contact the retailer with the best price if you want to buy the product. You must register to use the service, but you can search for an item before you sign in.
  • The ninemsn shopping site has products from about 300 retailers, but they’re only online stores. Products include clothing, homewares, jewellery, laptops, home entertainment items, cameras and portable music players. The site relies heavily on eBay for listings and some products only list one retailer, which isn’t really a useful comparison.
  • ShopFerret covers a large range of consumer products including sporting goods, home appliances, baby products and credit cards. Retailer reviews provide an insight into other shoppers’ experiences. The retailers listed at the top of a list may not always be the cheapest, however.
  • Shopping.com has comparison prices for categories such as clothing, computers, home furnishings, kitchen appliances and pet care. Retailer reviews and product information are available; however, some items are only listed with one retailer so it’s not always a true comparison. Note that Shopping.com has partnered with Yahoo!7 Shopping, DoorOne and ninemsn shopping so many retailers are the same.
  • Yahoo! 7 Shopping recently relaunched after it partnered with Shopping.com. It has comparison prices for categories such as clothing, computers, home furnishings, kitchen appliances and pet care.

Specialist sites

Perhaps you’re looking for a particular type of product, such as an electrical item, book or bottle of wine? Specialist sites compare prices in one or a few categories and can be very useful when you want a targeted search.

  • OzPriceGuide features computers, peripherals such as printers and monitors, as well as music players and storage devices. You can search by brand, features or biggest price reduction. The site shows product specifications with each listing and a complete list of Australian retailers with links to their websites.
  • PhoneChoice compares mobile phone, broadband internet and home and internet telephone plans. The site has a handy glossary to decipher technical terms such as general packet radio service (GPRS) and voice over internet protocol (VoIP). You can search for the cheapest plan or browse by category or service provider.
  • Shopbot features computers, printers and monitors and electronics including DVD players, video projectors and televisions. There’s an extensive list of brands and models from a large range of retailers, particularly for popular products like mobile phones and portable music players.
  • StaticICE concentrates on electrical items and computers, such as digital video cameras, portable music players, mobile phones, printers and computing accessories. It claims to search more than 655,000 gadgets from about 264 Australian retailers.
  • WineRobot features a large range of local and imported wines with prices from online retailers. You can search on type, region, variety, year, winery and price. The site provides basic information about each wine, such as single and case price, but doesn’t provide reviews or recommendations.