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Can you remember the age of pre-internet shopping? Each day of lots of walking wanting to locate the right product at the right Pricepirates and where you often find yourself in the shop you started, but with sore feet! Shopping was characterised by:

· Your local shopping centres didn't have that which you wanted (unless you lived in an important city)

· You didn't know who'd stock what you had been searching for before venturing out

· Whenever you did locate a stockist you didn't know if you had been getting the best price

As a result there tended to be less competition on cost and the retailers were in a much stronger position compared to the consumer.

Roll forward to the net age and the whole situation has turned around and the consumer is now in a much stronger position with use of a mass of information. Some would argue possibly too much information.

There's now absolutely you should not leave the comforts of your property and queue in traffic jams, ensure packed shops and pay extortionate parking fees. Everything can be purchased online and delivered to your door.

Even although you still have a stop by at the shops now you can do your research beforehand to ensure you know where the merchandise can be located and what you may anticipate to pay.

However, the problem is searching through the jungle of information for the facts which are relevant. This is where price comparison tools add value and why there's now a large choice of such tools covering all forms of retail sectors from gas and electricity to iPod's and holidays.

How can these price comparison tools work?

Price comparison tools gather their information in numerous various ways but both most common methods are:

· Data feeds - This technique has been used by a number of the larger comparison tools and involve the merchant creating a report of product and pricing information and sending this to the comparison tool.

· Web'crawling'- In this technique a research engine crawler visits all relevant websites and feeds the data back to the comparison tool.

Price comparison sites do not usually charge users for the service they offer. Instead they'll receives a commission via among the following methods:

· Flat fee to be listed on the price comparison site

· Fee for every time a consumer clicks to a retailers site

· Fee for every time a consumer buys something

Things to beware of - Tips to obtain the best out of comparison tools

You can find numerous aspects to be aware of when you use an amount comparison site:

· Search results might be sorted based on the level of payment received from the merchants listed on the website. It is therefore advisable to look through the list rather than assume the best price are at the top of the list.

· Sponsored items may appear at the top of the list. These could definitely not offer the lowest priced price.

· Different price comparison tools may provide different results. It is therefore advisable to check on several price comparison sites.

· Refine your search criteria as much as possible. If your search criteria are too wide you are certain to get too much information to process. Do your research first and try and narrow down seriously to the manufacturer and model for example.

· Retailer sites handle shipping charges and sales tax in different ways. Ensure that the price you are reviewing remains the lowest priced once all the miscellaneous charges have been included.

Compare the price comparison sites Price comparison sites are here to stay and a number of the largest online companies are spending countless dollars to truly have a presence in the price comparison arena.

One of many exciting development areas may be the emergence of price comparison tools that scan other price comparison tools along with retailer sites. This negates a number of the issues raised previously as users can very quickly review numerous price comparison sites to find out who's offering the best price.

This is apt to be a hotly contested area as more and more shopping is performed online and it becomes increasingly difficult to locate the desired information between the increasing data that is being presented to users.

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