Don’t want to read? Here’s the low-down on the best price trackers as ranked from, well, us. Always do a price comparison before you buy! This includes comparing the product price at various stores as well as over time. Our top 4 price comparison tools are Amazon’s CamelCamelCamel, Google Shopping, The Traktor and Pricegrabber. Use a combination of tools to get the most accurate data.
Has this experience ever happened to you? You buy something. Let’s say you buy some Nike sneakers for around $100. Then, you go to another store and you see those VERY SAME Nike for $20 less than you paid. Heartbreaking? Oh yes. Sometimes you will get lucky and you’ll be able to exchange your pair but if the return policy is strict or too much time has passed…you’re stuck with them. And, unfortunately, the knowledge that you could have got those same shoes for a whole lot less.
It’s happened to the best of us. The lesson this experience can teach us is a valuable one: always do your research before you buy! Those minutes you spend on competitor research will yield beautiful benefits. What’s better than 1. More money in your pocket and 2. The knowledge that you got something for the cheapest you possibly could.
If you see the word “research” and you can’t help but picture endless, consuming hours spent creating graphs and charts: you are not alone. But no, the research doesn’t have to be intensive and sometimes it isn’t even intentional. All you have to do is roughly compare the price of something, keeping a rough mental note of varying prices across stores.
For example, you probably know that shopping at Whole Foods (or “Whole Paycheck” as it is quasi-affectionately known) will run you up a bigger bill than if you go to your local grocery store. It’s just a fact. No formulas or spreadsheets needed. Often, these mental gymnastics are applied store versus store. As in, which store is cheaper overall? But with the magic of the internet (yay! The internet!) price comparisons just upped their game.
Want to know if this deal is a good as you think/hope/want it to be? Plug your item into one of these handy dandy price tracker sites and you will get real, mathematical data on the comparative price of your item throughout its life cycle. Mental gymnastics can now be relegated to the level they deserve, trying to solve puzzles and thinking of excuses to get out of a parking ticket. You know, the important stuff!
Top 4 Price Checkers to Use This Holiday Season(Like Your Own Personal Accountant/Internet Sleuth)#1. CamelCamelCamelThe Amazon Whizkid of Price Tracking
CamelCamelCamel, beyond just it’s wonderful and wacky name, is the Amazon.com price tracking tool. If you’re an Amazon addict, like so many of us are, using this tool will allow you to track the prices of just about any item you find and see valuable price history and product info. It’s pretty easy, just plug in the URL or relevant keywords and you can see the whole glorious price history of that item (or just head to the Amazon product page and click the extension button located on your toolbar once you install the extension). Most of the info is free to anyone, although to see the “Sales Rank” section you will need to log in and/or create a free account.
Let me show you a snapshot of what kind of info you’ll be getting with CamelCamelCamel. Don’t be overwhelmed by the many graphics and numerical data, all the vital info is easy to find. When it comes down to it, your most important info will be listed below the graph. That data tells you: the current price of your item, the highest price it ever was, the lowest price it ever was, and the average price (you can compare the current to the average, to see if you’re getting a decent deal!).
It always shows you the last 5 price changes and the date of each price. This will give you info about how volatile the price of this item is, how often it changes, and how big that range is. Plus, don’t forget to enter the relevant info and click “Create Price Watches” to get automatic, easy as pie price alerts sent directly to your email of your twitter. How easy is that?!
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#2. Google ShoppingThe Gold Standard, As Usual
Sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I could write an ode to Google. They have been at the top of the search games for many years, but as times goes on the capabilities of google seem to spread further and further. If you’re looking to shop for a product and to compare the prices across various stores, Google may just be your best bet. Plug in your item name or product number or any number of keywords then hit the “Shopping” tab (it’s next to images, maps, and all). You will then be greeted with an array of sorting options including general category, available nearby, price, brand and more. For electronics, this sorting can go so far as the amount of memory, weight or drive capacity you want.
Then, click on your exact item and you’ll see a snapshot of the price at a few top retailers, an option to see the pricing at just about every store that offers it, and even product reviews and in-depth product information. It is truly a wealth of riches. You can also click the “Compare prices from X stores” to see each store and each link in a neat, informational list. You can then sort by used or new, select free shipping or sort by your location. Google goes so far as to show you the rating of the seller, the base vs. the total price and much, much more.
Like on most fronts when it comes to the internet, everyone else is scrambling to catch up to Google. And for that, we will be forever indebted to the Google gods.
#3. The TraktorColor-Coordinated & Farmer Friendly
The Traktor is a price tracking tool that turns out to be a bit of a hidden gem. It doesn’t have quite the internet cachet at CamelCamelCamel but it is easy to use and has some great info. The front page shows the ups and downs of so-called “trending” products highlighted in varying shades of pinks, greens, and grays. The search bar asks you to enter a “Product Name, ASIN or Amazon URL”. This allows you to search items, brands, and types of products and then winnow down into the exact item you’re looking to track.
Once you settle on your item, you will get the information on how much it costs new, how much it costs used and a color-coded graph that shows you the lifetime price of a product. You can also see the % change (i.e price drops or gains) and it’s the lowest price ever. These capabilities may not be novel, in terms of online price trackers at least, but it is a helpful tool to have your money-saving toolbox.
#4. PriceGrabberThe Price Tracking Pioneer/Resident OG
PriceGrabber is the OG in the price comparison tool market. Started in 1999, it once was the go-to site for price comparison info. Nowadays it does have some stiff competition but it’s still a beneficial place to shop, search and compare. With this site, you can browse top categories, set price alerts and compare the pricing for multiple similar items at once. One of the main benefits of this site is that they allow you to customize your price alerts by setting your preferences for quality (i.e. new vs. used vs. refurbished), select merchants and select star ratings.
Their site design may not be as seamless as some others but it was certainly a pioneer in online shopping and price comparisons. They also have a free mobile app that you can use in real time while you’re shopping or just out and about. There’s a ton of items, brands, and categories to browse and it’s a good place to compare the prices of a variety of items all in one go.
Utilize one, two or all five of these tools when you’re shopping and you’ll be SURE to get yourself the best price you possibly can. The price of a lot of products fluctuates over time. One you know how long and how high that price may jump, you can make a truly informed decision about if and when to buy. My personal faves would have to be Google Shopping as my #1 goes to, used in conjunction with Amazon price history extension camelcamelcamel. So use these guys to help you stay informed about how good of a deal you’re really getting and maybe add some login and data to the wild wild west that is internet shopping.
Don’t forget to check out our Free Holiday Shipping Masterlist for 2016 which will be updated continuously as retailers roll out their official holiday free shipping offers for the year! There’s only one more month ’till Black Friday so make sure you keep up with all the latest retailers holiday news so you know where and how to save this season.
Keep up to date with us as we report on top retailers major holiday updates. Read on for Black Friday 2016 trends and forecast, Black Friday ad scan releases, retailer holiday promotions and much more. Just visit Black Friday news page or sign up for BlackFriday.fm email updates (see below).
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