Online Comparison Shopping

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What Does Online Comparison Shopping Mean?

Online comparison shopping is a consumer pricing activity employed to locate the best product deals. Online shoppers rely on search engines for online comparison shopping.


As with online shopping, online comparison shopping provides the convenience of shopping from home, versus brick-and-mortar retailers.

Techopedia Explains Online Comparison Shopping

Rather than going from store to store, potential buyers use online comparison shopping to price single or multiple items. Online comparison shopping is easier than driving to stores or calling individual retailers, is more efficient and also yields savings, such as gas money.

Examples of websites that offer online comparison shopping are Nextag, ComparisonEngines, Best Web Buys and CNET Shopper.

Besides featuring the best pricing, online comparison shopping websites often provide clearance or seasonal sale items and deals of the day.

When conducting online price comparisons, consumers should keep the following in mind:

  • Thoroughly read all terms and conditions, return policies and details about hidden or additional charges.
  • Only provide personal financial information to encrypted websites, which are marked with HTTPS in the browser’s URL field, versus HTTP, which indicates that a site is not encrypted.
  • Use common sense when conducting online comparisons. For example, pay attention to certain types of product offers that sound too good to be true.
  • Always remain apprised of current frauds and scams to prevent undesirable shopping incidents.
  • Before purchasing any product, confirm the authenticity of the item and retailer via thorough online research, including reviews and feedback.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.