The Best Comparison Shopping Online

In the day and age of monster retail stores and an overwhelming number of consumer electronics, where does one begin in the hunt for a digital camera, TV, MP3 player or any personal technology product?

The truth is that if you are in the market for a high-tech or even a not so high-tech product like a vacuum or blender, there is one resource that you should consult first-the Internet.

What most people don't realize is that online comparison shopping has improved in recent years, and you can now use the Internet to find what you want, even faster than ever before. In the time that it takes a person to go to the local mall and research a limited number of products, the same consumer can easily comparison shop online to quickly research and pinpoint the product they want at the desired price, from a variety of merchants-all in a matter of minutes.

Savvy Internet shoppers are now using tools that enable them to rank product attributes that are most important to them and then let the shopping site do the work by seeking and suggesting products that meet their criteria. Tools, like SmartSort on Yahoo! Shopping ( com/smartsort), are extremely useful in tracking down the right product, and are surprisingly easy to use.

In the market for a DVD player? Product search tools like SmartSort also quickly help identify the right product based on your set criteria. SmartSort will ask you to use a sliding scale to rank a few important product features (such as price, compact size, disc capacity, brand and special features). As you move the sliding ranks around, the tool instantly makes product recommendations based on all of your preferences.

Once the selection is narrowed according to your preferences, you then have the opportunity to select two or more items and compare them side-by-side. Finally, when you know exactly what you are looking for, comparison-shopping grids are a great way to identify which merchants have the product you are looking for at the price you can afford.

"Recent technological advances have made online shopping an efficient resource for researching and purchasing products," said Charlene Li of Forrester.

Knowing a few quick tips on how to use the Internet for comparison shopping can eliminate the stress of making major technology purchases and actually make it fun by giving you the tools to help you find what you're looking for.

More and more people are using the Internet to find the best prices on consumer electronics.

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