With smartphones and even simply going online at home, it’s not too difficult to price comparison shop for quite a few items. Quite a bit different from how many people – inlcuding me – remember shopping just a decade ago. Then, we had to go store to store or make phone calls. No longer!
Along those lines, I recently posted on the phenomenon of showrooming, where people go to stores to look. Then, they can turn around and buy elsewhere, particularly online. It’s especially helpful to do this when you have a smartphone.
The question might be, what’s a good way to conveniently use your phone to showroom, or simply compare prices with another store? I’ve recently discovered an app called RedLaser, which seems quite interesting and provides price comparison information that can be eye opening in some cases.
I simply downloaded the app on my Android phone, and in minutes I was ready to use it. It’s available on iPhones as well, I believe. Anyway, at that point I was at the store and all set to compare prices on a few items I was looking for – right before the holidays.
Here’s how it went:
Item #1: Kid’s Toy
Not to bore anyone with the details of the toy, but it was a toy for boys under 8 I would think, and was on sale at the store I was at for $50. Well, actually $49.99, but let’s get real and call it $50. I then opened up RedLaser, grabbed the toy, and then found the barcode. At that point, I scanned the barcode with my phone. Within a few seconds, the scan was complete.
Then, comparative prices appeared. What caught my eye were two tabs: “online” and “local”. Let’s start with the latter, local. This was most relevant to me, as I probably didn’t have time to get things shipped to me expediently at that point. The app quickly found local prices ranging from $50 to $76. So, good news! I was in the right place.
In looking at the online prices, they ranged from $48 to $83. So, shopping online might not have made sense anyway.
So clearly I was fine where I was. But if I was somewhere else, at another store, I might have quickly found out that I needed to go somehwere else. There were multiple stores just within a couple of miles.
Item #2: Laptop Mat
This was one of those things that you can put a laptop on, and it would theoretically keep it cooler. It’s to be used when you’re on the sofa or just lounging using your laptop.
At the same store I was at, this was priced at $40. In searching the local price comparison, one place just down the road came in at $30. Where I was at was at the high end of the range. Who knew things could be so different between the two items I looked at?
When looking at the online price comparison, there was a similar broad range of prices. Multiple sites had it for over $40. However, the low end of the range was $26. Now, I don’t know what shipping might have been in that case, if was free, or what the impact would be on prices. But the actual item was in fact less.
Anyway, this was simply an experiement of two different items. What I learned is that prices can vary quite a bit from store to store, and the savings aren’t necessarily just pennies. If the stores are close enough to each other, using an app like RedLaser can help change where we buy and save us some money. If we actually have time to shop online and let the items be delivered, it opens up potential savings even more. Of course this needs to be for items more than just a few dollars, for this effort to be worth it.
So next time you go shopping: ready, set, scan!
My Questions for You
Have you ever tried RedLaser or any other app?
What are your favorite ways to price comparison shop?