The internet has saved us from actually having to go outside and speak to real people in order to buy things—but that doesn’t mean that all online shopping sites are created equally. Take advantage of these tools to save yourself a bundle of cash, catch the best deals, and take the stress out of spending money.
Are you eyeing a specific Amazon purchase? The oddly named website and browser add-on CamelCamelCamel tracks Amazon prices over time, so as soon as you see a reduction on a particular item you can swoop in like one of the drones Jeff Bezos is busy developing.
If you’re not sure what you want, the site also lets you see the best deals and price cuts currently available across Amazon, plus products that are proving popular with other shoppers. You don’t have to sign up for an account, but you can track previous searches if you do.
There’s a whole host of tools out there to help you compare prices between retailers and make sure you’re not paying over the odds for a Dell laptop or a digital camera, but Bizrate is one of the best we’ve seen, even if the website isn’t the most comprehensive out there in terms of browsing options.
Browsing through the available deals is as easy as going shopping on eBay or Amazon—you can filter through products based on manufacturer, price, type, and all kinds of other criteria until you find the bargain you’re after. Either search for something specific or browse through the site by category.
Amazon’s already had one mention in our list and the official mobile apps for Android and iOS are well worth a look for the discerning shopper: even if you don’t end up buying whatever it is you’re after from Amazon, it’s still worth comparing prices and checking reviews from Amazon’s army of customers.
There’s a built-in barcode scanner, too, which means you can look up products in a store to see if you’d be wiser buying the items online. The website might be a bit of an unwieldy mess but the mobile apps are easy to use and offer updates on your orders and deliveries as well.
Shopkick awards you loyalty points just for walking into certain stores, which sounds fair enough to us, and you can also get ‘kicks’ for scanning items and of course purchasing them. All of the points you’ve accrued can be cashed in via gift cards for Target, Starbucks, Sephora and other retailers.
There’s also a deals alert component to the apps for Android and iOS, so if there are major price reductions in your area then you’ve got a good chance of finding out about them—the apps let you search by product, store or deal to find what you’re after, and deals are often promoted via social media too.
Another deal-finding engine that exists as a website, Android app and iOS app, Saviry doesn’t have the cleanest interface around but ticks all the right boxes in terms of pointing you towards the biggest savings. Looking something up that you’re interested in a fast and straightforward process.
The apps (and site) feature numerous ways to keep track of deals and find bargains in categories of interest: if there’s something specific you’re after then you can keep an eye on it, and the app even lets you follow other people if you know someone who’s particular adept at sniffing out bargains.
Kickstarter and Indiegogo are fine places for finding innovative products, but how can you be sure they’re ever going to make it to market? Enter Outgrow.me, which collects a wide selection of already crowdfunded projects that are now available to buy whether you backed them or not.
It’s like browsing a crowdfunding site without all the chaff in amongst the wheat—right now you can pick up everything from a goat mug to a personal scooter, and you can search through the offerings based on price, category, and date. Direct links to buy each of the products are included in the listings.
Yes, that Twitter: a lot of retailer are desperate for as many social media followers as they can get, which means plenty of special offers broadcast over these accounts—decent offers will often appear on Twitter before they appear anywhere else, and in some cases may be social media exclusives.
You probably don’t want a bunch of retailers clogging up your Twitter timeline, which is understandable, but you can easily create a dedicated Twitter list for these accounts and just dip into it whenever you need to—you can find a link to the Twitter lists feature from your main profile page.
InvisibleHand has been helping online shoppers across the world for a long time now, and you’ll usually find it in most round-ups of the best software tools for turning up bargains on the web. It covers three countries and nearly 700 retailers, and there are add-ons available for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
Once you’ve got your browser extension of choice installed, it’s simply a question of clicking on the InvisibleHand icon whenever you’re looking at something online. When you’re done with your shopping you can use the browser plugin to compare prices on flights, hotels and rental cars too.