How Does a Price Comparison Site Work?

Consumers use cost-comparison sites for two reasons: either to locate the lowest possible price on a specific item from a merchant with a good reputation, or to access information and reviews about a range of products in order to make a selection. Pricing is the focus of most current shopping engines, although some small start-up companies are specializing in presenting product information to help buyers choose the right product, according to the SmartMoney website. Even if the item is not purchased online, the consumer gains some perspective on whether the prices displayed in stores are good ones, factoring in what shipping costs might have been.
Why Cost-Comparison Sites Work

Briefly, they can save you time and money. Instead of going from store to store, hunting in the Yellow Pages or even bringing up individual merchant sites on a search engine, you can visit a comparison shopping site and view even more information than these other methods would have yielded in a matter of minutes. To save money is the primary reason most shoppers rely on the cost-comparison sites. The sites offer an alternative to buying the first product you see at the first price you see.

Crawling Merchant Sites

Comparison shopping engines obtain their information in one of two ways: by “crawling” or through “data feeds,” the RoboShopper reports. The first method, crawling, employs a software program that visits and analyzes merchant websites to capture data and prices on the products they offer. Fewer shopping engines rely on crawling now. While this data-retrieval method works well for general search engines, merchant sites may not give the same product description or product title, so it becomes difficult to know if identical products are being compared by a shopping engine.

Data Feeds From Merchants

Most cost-comparison sites currently use the second method, data feeds, to acquire information. Merchants prepare these data files and make them available to the shopping engines. This is a faster and easier way for comparison sites to obtain their information, but they only receive the product data that the merchants want them to have. The merchants might focus exclusively on their most popular or profitable items and not include all their products, according to RoboShopper.

Shortcomings of Each Type

Some of the drawbacks have already been noted. Basically, crawling is difficult because of variances in how products are described or named on the individual merchant sites, because a format change on a merchant site might prevent the crawler from working properly, and because the crawler must constantly visit the same sites to ensure that information is up-to-date. On the other hand, data feeds are only as current as the merchant makes them, and as a result, the information on the cost-comparison site may not match what is displayed on the merchant's website.

Why Shopping Engines Give Different Results

Because of the problems with each method of information retrieval, price comparison is not an exact science. Using more than one shopping engine in your search is recommended by SmartMoney. Some engines focus on a specific category of products, like electronics. Others only feature listings from retail partners. The inclusion of shipping information and consumer product reviews may affect the value of one cost-comparison site as opposed to another.

How to Sell Beauty Products Online

If you have a passion for beauty products and want to sell them online, you have two options: you can sell them individually on sites such as and or you may choose to open your own store. There are a number of advantages to opening your own beauty products online store, such as the freedom to design and manage your store how you see fit. EBay offers stores, but you won’t have the same freedom as you would if you opened your own store. EBay can offer you much more visibility than many of options.

Visit Sally Beauty Supply online (see link below) and evaluate the website. Determine what you like and don’t like about the site. If you decide to open your own online store, shoot for that level of professionalism.

Choose an E-commerce site to host your website, if you decide not to go with eBay. offers an entire package that includes your domain name, shopping cart and web hosting, and starts at $19.95. is another E-commerce site that offers packages for as little as $29.95 (you will need to purchase your own domain name). Both of these sites offer business email addresses, website templates (and the ability to use your own design), marketing tools, accounting tools, data feeds, Google AdWords coupons, the ability to create coupons or newsletters for your store and the ability to accept a number of different payment methods, such as Paypal, Google Checkout and credit cards. allows you to pick and choose the services you need, such as a domain name or shopping cart. Web hosting starts at $4.99. If you aren’t familiar with SEO and online selling, an all inclusive site such as may be the way to go. and offer a free 30-day trial. is a hosting site that allows you to operate your store for free. However, you won’t have an exclusive domain name and your URL will be lengthy. This is important because a shorter URL such as is easier to identify than one that includes the hosting site’s name and additional information, such as

Design a catchy name and logo for your website or eBay account. Then create an About Me page that includes a brief bio about you and your business, such as how you began selling products and the types of products you offer. Create a Shipping and Returns page for your online store, or a Shipping and Returns policy, if you opt to sell through eBay. If you open an online store, create a Privacy Notice page that tells your customers how you intend to use and safeguard their personal information.

Visit (see link below) to purchase wholesale hair styling tools such as dryers, curling irons and combs. Visit or call (800) 448-8347 to purchase hair products by Osis, J Beverly Hills, Fudge Retail, Dermorganic, I.C.O.N, BC HairTherapy, BC Sun and Benniefactor. Sometimes you can find much better deals just by taking advantage of sales or discounted items, versus buying wholesale. To find these deals, visit to find discounts on nail care, hair products, cosmetics, appliances, fragrances and bath care. See the link below. Don’t forget to check eBay for greatly reduced overstock items. Also check out Wal-Mart’s clearance section and Ross for reduced beauty products.

Utilize SEO in your beauty product listings. Whether you sell on eBay or via your own website, having the right keywords ensures that your products will come up in relevant searches. Include information such as brand names, amount and special considerations. Take great pictures or use clear images for your products.

10 Apps That Get You Great Shopping Deals

Not so long ago, savvy shoppers cut coupons and filled out rebate forms to save a few dollars on clothing, electronics, and household goods. They relied on travel agents to get them the best deals vacation packages. And if they wanted a price adjustment, they had to drive back to the store where they had originally made their purchase.

Not surprisingly, all of those things can now be done from the convenience of your smartphone. Here are 10 apps that offer great shopping deals on everything from last-minute hotel rooms to designer handbags to everyday grocery items.


Slickdeals relies on the power of crowdsourcing to uncover the best deals on everything from clothing to household goods to electronics. The deal-sharing platform looks to its millions of members to find, share, and rate deals and coupons like a social media and e-commerce mash-up. Based on votes and feedback, the hottest online and in-person offers make it to the Frontpage, but you can also find deals by browsing category pages or searching for a specific sale.

One of the most popular features is the Slickdeals community forum, where users share feedback and product reviews to help each other make smart purchasing decisions. The app also lets you configure deal alerts based on keyword, stores, or categories and set push notifications so that you never miss a new offer or coupon. And if you’re not ready to pull the trigger? Slickdeals allows you to save deals as favorites for easy reference.


Gone are the days of schlepping envelopes stuffed with coupons from store to store. Or worse, of forgetting those valuable clipped coupons at home. The future of couponing is SnipSnap, an app that turns printed offers into mobile-optimized ones that can be redeemed right off your screen. Instead of snipping, simply snap photos of your coupons with your phone and import them into the app. (Currently, SnipSnap only supports retail, restaurant, and local coupons, meaning you can’t save those manufacturer coupons you use at the grocery store.) When you enter a store, SnipSnap will send a push notification if you have a relevant coupon saved. The app can also let you know if a coupon is expiring soon.

A fun and futuristic feature is Scout, SnipSnap’s personal savings assistant that can locate the best deals when you’re out and about. Say you’re shopping for a birthday present at Toys “R” Us. If you snap a photo of a toy, Scout will respond with any applicable coupons, mobile rebates, or price-match opportunities.

One Kings Lane

A must-have app for design enthusiasts, One Kings Lane features daily sales on name-brand furniture, rugs, kitchenware, decorative accessories, bedding, art and more. Discover the perfect throw pillow or framed print by using filters and categories to narrow down the options, or try the search function to find exactly what you want. The catch? Most sales last only 72 hours, so you’ll want to shop early — and often.

Besides daily deals on top retail brands, One Kings Lane offers Tastemaker Tag Sales, giving shoppers access to the personal collections of some of the biggest names in the design industry. Occasionally, authentic props from popular movies and TV shows are up for grabs in Straight from the Set sales, and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces are always available in One Kings Lane’s vast online marketplace.


Like One Kings Lane, Zulily is a daily deal app featuring 72-hour sales. However, Zulily’s curated collections aren’t limited to just home decor. The app also offers deep discounts on fashion and accessories for men, women, and, often, pets. However, Zulily is probably best known for its deals on children’s clothing, toys, gifts, and accessories — up to 70% off retail prices.

Zulily refers to its app as “a treasure chest” because you never know what brands will be featured each day. While there’s always a great mix of well-known and newer brands, if you’re in the market for something specific — a Step2 climbing play set for your toddler grandson, perhaps? — it likely won’t be available when you want it. Find out when your favorite brands will be on sale by signing up for email alerts and notifications.


For shoppers who lust over luxury brands but shy away from high-end prices, there’s Gilt — a mobile app offering daily designer sales for women, men, kids, and home. Inventory may be more limited than other daily deal apps, as Gilt sales last only 36 hours; however, being the first to snag a luxury item at up to 70% off retail is part of the thrill. Be sure to sign up for real-time notifications when sales start or when one of your waitlist items becomes available. Then act quickly!

In addition to access to designer brands at insider prices, the Gilt app offers deals to exclusive experiences and offers in 12 major cities, including New York, Chicago, and Dallas. Don’t worry if your hometown isn’t on the list yet: Gilt City features national deals in addition to local ones.


Offering more than 500,000 coupons for 50,000 stores, you’re almost guaranteed to save money at your favorite retailer or restaurant using RetailMeNot. The app eliminates the hassle of printing coupons before you leave the house and the frustration of trying to find the one you need at the bottom of your purse. Simply pull up the coupon on your phone at checkout and save!

What’s more, the RetailMeNot coupon app can alert you to nearby deals and notify you when coupons you’ve saved are about to expire. Of course, you can always search for the coupons you want by browsing Categories and Trending Deals, or use the bookmark tool to quickly find the best offers available at your favorite stores. Selecting your favorite stores will also allow the app to offer personalized recommendations and identify the best deals just for you.


What’s better than using coupons or discount codes to save money? How about earning money every time you shop? Ibotta is a free app that offers cash back on groceries, apparel, cosmetics, electronics and more at hundreds of your favorite stores. Here’s how it works, in a nutshell: Unlock Ibotta’s exclusive rebates, go shopping, and then submit a receipt or link a loyalty card to get cash back.

The app offers a variety of ways to earn extra cash back, from buying featured items at specific retailers to inviting friends to join with a referral code. You can also link your account to Facebook and connect with family or friends to earn monthly Teamwork bonuses. Ibotta pays in cash via PayPal or Venmo, or you can use your earnings to buy gift cards for stores like Amazon and Starbucks. And payment is quick — you’ll get your cash back within 48 hours of verifying your purchases.


Like Ibotta, Paribus also puts money back in your pocket, but in a slightly different way. The app automatically works to get you a price adjustment when something you’ve purchased online goes on sale. By linking your inbox, Paribus can track price drops, missed coupons, and price-match opportunities on your purchases, everything from clothing and electronics to food and household goods. Most shoppers forget to check whether they qualify for a price-drop adjustment, but Paribus doesn’t.

There is one catch though: Paribus isn’t exactly free. After your first complimentary saving, Paribus takes a 25% commission off the price-drop adjustment. However, by referring friends, you can eventually drop the percentage down to 0%. It’s also worth noting that while Paribus isn’t reading your email, it can still detect and pull receipts from online stores based on sender and subject.


Described as “new-age couponing,” Checkout51 offers rebates on one thing and one thing only: groceries. The app simplifies the cash back process, too. When you accumulate $20 in savings, Checkout51 mails you a check, making the rebate app a good choice for shoppers who don’t want to be paid electronically or with a gift card.

The process is so simple that even a novice can figure it out. Offers are posted just once a week, and the products listed — milk, eggs, Triscuit crackers, etc. — can be purchased at any grocery store, including chains like Safeway, Costco, and Whole Foods. Select your offers and then, after you shop, take a photo of your receipt to redeem the rebates.


There’s something luxurious about making last-minute travel plans, and it’s usually not the price. Before you book your next room, check out Jetsetter’s exclusive last-minute deals at the world’s greatest hotels. Granted, the selection is often limited, but if there’s an offer available (and if you’re staying in one of the seven cities they feature), you could save up to 60% off.

Not in a hurry? Take advantage of the travel app’s daily sales to find 5-star hotels, once-in-a-lifetime adventures, and weekend getaways that can be booked in advance. You won’t exactly be making an impulse purchase, as deals usually last between 5 and 10 days. You could also book a trip to one of Jetsetter’s collection of properties and travel experiences available year-round. The app specializes in posh hotels, vacation homes, and tour packages, and provides first-hand reviews and insider tips from travel experts, so you can rest assured you’ll be traveling in style wherever you go.

How to Get the Best Deals on the Internet

How to Get the Best Deals on the Internet. Getting the best deals online is just like getting the best deals elsewhere. It’s a matter of knowing your options and seeking out the best deals based on price and value.

Things You’ll Need :

– Internet Access
– Telephones
– Credit Cards And Loans

Investigate online merchants, auctions and classified ads to get an idea of your full range of options. Visit several sites for each type of resource.

Look for special online discounts and bargains offered by manufacturers and other vendors, but be sure to read the fine print.

Gather as much information as possible about a particular item or service before purchasing it, especially if you’re buying previously owned goods.

Consider shipping costs and other extra charges, such as charges for returns.

Beware of sites that attempt to list the cheapest prices for items (so-called “shopping bots”). Sometimes these sites give priority in their lists to manufacturers that pay them, and sometimes they only list manufacturers that pay. Sometimes they list different sites, as well. Check out several shopping bots in addition to some other sources.

How to Find the Best Mattress at the Best Price

It’s true, you know. You DO spend one-third of your life in bed, lying on a mattress. And if you’re me, you spend another third or so lounging around on one. That’s a lot of mattress time. Shouldn’t it be a good one? But how to find the best mattress for your bed? And how to get it at the best price? Here’s what you need to know.

ConsumerSearch is a terrific product review site. They “review the reviews” for bedroom linens that are published in magazines like Consumer Reports and Good Housekeeping, as well as website reviews from sites like, and Epinions.

ConsumerSearch’s top-ranked mattresses, based on comfort, durability, price, and special features, are: Simmons Beautyrest World Class, Sealy Posturepedic, and the Tempur-Pedic Classic Mattress. has a terrific set of customer reviews for mattresses, with several products from Serta, Sealy, and Tempurpedic getting pretty high marks. Once you zero in a mattress you’re interested in, it pays to check the reviews at to get a second opinion.

Amazon also has an extensive set of customer reviews. It’s difficult to get an overall picture at Amazon of what’s good and what isn’t, but you can easily look at the reviews on individual mattresses.

The unusually-named site has an excellent set of background write-ups on what to look for when you’re shopping for a mattress, as well as reviews of a lot of user-contributed information. They give a lot of attention to air, latex, and memory foam mattresses, and water beds as well, along with the more conventional inner spring mattress.

See Resources, directly below, for links to the sites mentioned. Also check the ‘Related Articles’ and ‘More Articles Like This’ features elsewhere on this page.