Price alert websites – worth the time and effort?
If you’re a keen online shopper, using a price alert site could help you bag a bargain. But is it worth the time, effort and patience needed to wait for your deal to materialise?
We all love a bargain, and with online shopping we don’t just get one price on a sticker, like in shops.
With online we get data – we can compare across 19 retailers at once, use price comparison sites, price alert sites or voucher sites. Or all four. Dizzying.
When we recently tracked the prices of potential Christmas presents like cameras, breadmakers and printers for Which? magazine we found lots of different behaviours.
Some items or retailers hardly changed prices at all. Others changed very often – Amazon in particular – but usually not by very much. So whoever were the winners and losers in that game were usually not winning and losing by very much.
A few items went to the rodeo though. Up, down, up, down, up, down – and sometimes for quite large amounts. The biggest price drop we saw was on a digital camera, which went down by £300 during our tracking.
A price alert site, such as Idealo or PriceSpider, lets you name a price you’re willing to pay for an item and emails you when it finds a site that hits that price on your product. They will also show you price history graphs. Apply a bit of patience and you could be nabbing a bargain by nipping in at one of the ‘down’ points.
On the other hand, time is money – and this all takes more time than simply clicking the ‘buy’ button. Can you be bothered with setting up alerts, watching and waiting for the best deal? Or would you rather use a favourite retailer and accept that you may be paying a little more?
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