A large selection does not necessarily make the decision easier. Anyone who pays attention to the price often uses a price search engine when shopping online. On price comparison sites such as “Billiger.de”, “Check24.de”, “Geizhals.de”, Google Shopping, “Guenstiger.de”, “Idealo.de” (like WELT belongs to Axel Springer SE), “Preis. de" or "Schottenland.de" you can search specifically for a specific product, but you can also work your way up to certain products according to categories or criteria.
“When shopping, you often get the impression that everything is reduced. Such comparison sites help to get a feeling for the actual price level,” Matthias Urbach from the online consumer magazine “Finanztip” describes the advantages. Such an overview makes sense, because some retailers are constantly changing their prices. Anyone who buys from the wrong dealer or strikes on the wrong day pays far too much when in doubt.
But not only the direct comparison with the competition makes sense, but also a look at the price history of a product: On many comparison sites, a curve shows how much a product has cost over time. In this way, consumers can better assess whether it might still be worth waiting to make a purchase.
“Especially with new technology, the prices drop significantly after the first year. This can be seen very well in these histories,” says Urbach. The filters help when searching for a specific product. Model, color, size or storage space – when it comes to fashion or electronics, you can use this to search for exactly what you want.
Good price search engines only show dealers who also have the product you are looking for in stock; You should definitely pay attention to that, advises Julia Gerhards from the consumer advice center Rhineland-Palatinate: "If the order is not delivered for a few weeks, the whole price comparison is invalid." After all, who knows what the retailers will ask for at a later date? "Perhaps it will have become cheaper by then," says Gerhards.
For a good overview, you should also display the prices including shipping costs. But one thing must be clear: the cheapest price is not always found even on comparison sites. “That depends to a large extent on the extent of the market coverage. A good price comparison not only finds a large number of products, but also connects many retailers,” says Matthias Urbach. Especially with expensive purchases, it is worth comparing the prices on several portals.
Julia Gerhards also advises checking out the stationary trade in the area. Because: "Retailers without an online shop do not even appear in such price search engines." Stationary offers could also be particularly important for all those for whom a local contact person is important in the event of possible problems.
Anyone who chooses an online shop should not blindly trust the information provided by the price search engine, says consumer advocate Gerhards: "The data is fed in by the retailers, and errors can always occur." The price search engines assume no liability for this. She advises checking the details on the shop page again. For example, whether the costs for shipping and returns are correct or the delivery time.
You should also take a close look at the dealer himself. The following applies to comparison sites: “Good providers check the dealers who are listed. And the ratings also help, especially if there are many. But even that is no guarantee,” says Matthias Urbach. "In our investigation, for example, we found fake shops in the list of results on Google Shopping."
In other words, fraudulent shops that never deliver and only aim to take money out of consumers' pockets. "And some of them can hardly be distinguished from the websites of real dealers," says Urbach. Therefore: Always take a look at the imprint.
If it's inconclusive or missing altogether, that's a red flag - as are prices that seem too good to be true. There is also help from the Fakeshop Finder of the North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Advice Center. Here online providers can be checked for their seriousness.
Basically, price search engines are designed more for consumers who know pretty well what they want or who can filter the offers according to criteria that make sense.
Anyone at this stand can conveniently click through the product categories and then narrow them down further using the appropriate filters. Practical: Some comparison sites also refer to tests by trade journals or portals that can help with the decision.
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