Shoppers Use Tools to Keep Track of Online Price Changes

Research from Dynamite Data shows that retailers such as Amazon, Sears, Walmart and Best Buy changed their daily Internet prices on various holiday products during 2012 much more frequently than in previous years. Since too many changes can prove overwhelming to shoppers, new tools have been developed, some of which automatically scan for changes and alert consumers when prices drop.

“Some tools, including one from Citibank’s Citi Card, even scour sites for lower prices after a purchase and help customers get a refund for any price difference,” reports The New York Times.

“Even the Web browser a customer uses can make a difference. The Web site Digital Folio, which shows consumers price changes, did side-by-side comparisons of televisions. On Newegg using the Chrome browser, the firm was offered a $997 price on a Samsung television. Using Firefox and Internet Explorer, the price was $1,399.”

One new price-tracking tool is Hukkster, which asks shoppers to install the “hukk it” button into their browsers. When shoppers see something they like, they simply click the button and select specifics such as color, size and desired discount — then Hukkster will forward an e-mail when the price drops.

Hukkster makes money from referral traffic, earning fees each time a shopper buys something via a link from one of its sent emails.

Digital Folio charts the 30-day price history on electronics items at a number of retailers so shoppers can see not only where the lowest price is, but also whether that price might go lower still,” according to the article.

And shoppers can use Digital Folio as a sidebar in the browser if they don’t want to revisit the site each time they want to check something out. Therefore, “as a shopper pokes around Amazon’s electronics section, for example, the sidebar lists live comparison pricing for the products.”

And in some cases, retailers are taking note of the price-changing concerns. For example, Target recently announced that it would match prices from online competitors like Amazon.