What to Look For When Using Comparison Websites
By now, most people are accustomed to comparison websites, especially since they are a staple of the car insurance, fuel card, and home energy market.
11:04 25 May 2021
Yet, there are still a few things you should be looking out for when using comparison websites. Not all comparison sites are equal and picking the right one often determines what variety of value for money you are going to receive from its results.
A Full Range of Companies to Choose From
Sometimes, results may seem a little skewered. This is not because of some sort of search engine manipulation but is simply because there are certain companies missing from comparison websites. You need to look for websites like fuelcardcomparison.com.au, who list every possible company available to the people using the comparison website.
There are several reasons why the companies are missing from certain comparison websites. For example, the web master or owner of the comparison website may not think some companies are relevant, perhaps because they are too diversified.
Others may have affiliate deals where they cannot list certain companies, and sometimes the comparison website leaves off the cheapest company so that other companies are chosen.
Sometimes, the price monitoring mechanics are not compatible with the software the comparison website is using, and other times, there are companies that actually ask that their listings be removed from comparison websites, which is what Direct Line insurance did a few years ago.
Your Location Matters a Great Deal
Be sure to enter your location into comparison websites, especially since many companies have geo-located pricing. For example, in the United Kingdom, certain energy companies charge different prices to people in different locations. This is due to a competitive scheme that allows local energy producers to charge less than their competitors.
There is also the fact that some companies and products are simply not available to you. This often happens with companies that have delivery limits. They may appear on the comparison website, but they may not deliver to your location. In these cases, the comparison website often filters out the companies that do not serve your area.
In an almost contradiction of this point, there are times when not entering your location pays off. For example, many Amazon Kindle authors charge preferential prices to people in their own country. So, if you wanted a book written by somebody in India, you could use VPN to pretend you are in India, buy the book, download it, and save money.
There are also many VPN articles that claim you can get better hotel and flight prices by changing your location. You could consider changing your location on comparison websites to see if you can dig up a few better prices.
Niche and Smaller Comparison Websites Have Massive Advantage
Obviously, you should check out the larger and more commercial comparison websites because they probably have a fuller range of companies and products. But, this doesn't mean you should ignore the smaller and more niche comparison websites because they often have functions and features that larger comparison websites cannot support.
In terms of functions, these include things like wish lists, price alerts, stock alerts, and their own baked-in discounts that they can offer, which makes their prices lower than elsewhere.
In terms of features, take price comparison websites for electronics and how they are able to integrate changing prices. Not only do they show you prices from mainstream stores, but they also show you discounted prices from smaller stores, and from places like eBay. They can update their small group of products more often, whereas such a function would cost a larger comparison website a lot more money than it makes from its affiliate fees.
In terms of gaming, smaller sites are often able to pick out discounts far more easily than larger companies, especially with PC gaming. Where you may have wanted the game Days Gone from Steam, the comparison websites show you it is cheaper from GOG or from the developer's website. The integrated comparison system may also make finding Days Gone tips videos, and Days Gone merchandise and Displates a lot easier too.
Final Thoughts - Does Practice Make Perfect?
Do people see the benefits and flaws in comparison sites the more they use them? Perhaps with insurance websites since most people use them every year, but when it comes to consumer goods, people tend to forget the basics. This is especially true when it comes to niche and smaller comparison websites. Before you rule them out, dig a little deeper because they often have benefits that are not first apparent. If they didn't, then they would have been pushed into obscurity by now.