Do Online Comparison Sites Offer the Best Value?
Do Online Comparis on Sites Offer the Best Value?
Anyone shopping for large-ticket items online will likely quickly come across comparision sites offering to save you anywhere form 20-47% on the cost of products ranging from cars to double glass windows to insurance to flights. But, a savvy shopper might quickly come to a single conclusion. Why are they offering these deals, what are they getting out of it, and is it really the best price?
If you’re wondering how online comparision sites work and whether or not they’re the best deal, we have answers for you.
How do Online Comparison Sites Work?
There are three types of online websites that offer deals. Each of these work in a different way.
Bulk Rates – In some cases the provider may agree to supply a certain number of items or services at a set rate which is discounted from the published rate. They make this work by only offering services that they would have trouble selling themselves, and by cutting out their own advertising and sales costs. By switching to an affiliate-like model, they can earn the same money with fewer costs on their end.
This is how most airline discounts and travel agents work. They agree to purchase a certain number of bulk flights or seats per month, and then they offer them at a dsicount, with their own rates included or they get a small percentage of each sale.
Quotes – In many cases you can find online quote comparison sites that offer to compare quotes for everything from cars to solar panel installations. These companies work using an entirely different model, but on a similar cost basis. They typically request a discount from the supplier in exchange for handling the advertising and buyer education, allowing the supplier to cut own-costs. Because these industries are typically very competitive, you can typically get some great deals using this method. In most cases, the comparison site will earn a small percentage of your total project fee. However, quotes can be similar to what you can find yourself, or might be significantly lower.
Affiliates – In some cases, online comparison sites can be poorly disguised affiliate sites, where the owner tries to pass off regular sales prices as discounts. In this case, whatever the site is offering will rarely be discounted.
How to Get the Best Deal Buying Online
Comparison sites can be a valuable way to get a good idea of prices and sometimes to get lower prices than you can find elsewhere. However, it is important to do your own research to ensure that it really is the best deal. For example, you can quickly call a contractor to ask for an estimate to confirm that an online estimate is the best price. You can do the same thing by calling a car lot to check the price on their car without mentioning the online site. This will help you to ensure that you are getting the best deal.
- Double check all prices
- Make sure you know what something is worth. Look at blue book or other valuation guides or use sites like Quora to see what others have paid for it.
- Do your own research and don’t be afraid to call to get quotes
However, in some cases, you are paying for extra services with an online comparison site. For example, you may get additional guarantees or warranties through a site, money back guarantees, or other services. Check to see what you’re getting and make sure that it’s worth the money if you’re paying more for it.