LOS ANGELES—WikiBuy’s offer is intriguing: It says it can save you money by showing you better prices than what Amazon lists.
So we tried the Google Chrome browser extension, and it’s true. You can save. But mostly if you’re willing to go to eBay instead to buy new products. That’s where 9 times out of 10 WikiBuy sent us when we did comparison searches.
So we have an even better idea. A Google or Bing price comparison can save you just as much, if not more, if you’re willing to put in a few seconds for a second opinion. But you won’t get those brown Amazon boxes at your doorstep.
Can you handle it?
Let’s start with the basics. WikiBuy is an Austin startup acquired in late 2018 by credit card company Capital One. It hosts a shopping website offering small discounts on products, like 2 percent off on Dell computers and 4 percent off selected local restaurants in your zip code. It also has a browser extension that you install.
In return, every time you go to Amazon and search for a product on the world’s most popular shopping site, you get a second opinion generated by WikiBuy, right there on Amazon’s shopping pages, which offers to take you elsewhere to save money.
What we found
A Canon printer was $7 less on eBay, a Sony RX10IV camera was $151 less than Amazon on Adorama and eBay (because these stores don’t charge sales tax for online deliveries) and a Sonos Playbar soundbar was $50 less than Amazon on the Houzz website, courtesy of a promo code, selling for $650 instead of $699.
Most of the time, WikiBuy pushed my searches to eBay. (Instant Pot: $107.91 on Amazon, $103.55 on eBay.)
If you’re willing totry Google or Bing searches, which also offer price comparison, the savings are more profound and less intrusive.
That same Sonos Playbar, for instance, is $550 at B&H Photo and Video (OK, it’s used, but this is good info to know, as Amazon only lists the new price) while a MacBook Pro 13-inch laptop computer is shown in Google searches pricing for $1,799 via Apple, versus $1,649 at B&H or $1,699 at Best Buy.
Meanwhile, what about non-tech products?
Well, a four pack of Charmin Ultrasoft toilet paper, I learned in a simple Google search, could set me back $71.36 at Boxed, versus $117.84 from Amazon.
A pair of True Religion “Women’s Billie Mid Rise Straight Leg Jeans” is $179 on Amazon, or $125.50 on the True Religion website. Again, a simple 5-second Google search potentially saved me a $54.
A Bing search shows an even bigger savings: $99.97 at Nordstrom.com.
So the moral to the story, like the old song goes, it pays to shop around. And the beauty of it is you don’t have to go from store to store physically to do it anymore. Just a few keystrokes can save you lots of money.
That said, we’re not saying that Amazon is under-sold everywhere. In many of our searches, it had similar prices to others. Additionally, it can’t be beat on products it makes, like Echo speakers and Kindle e-readers.
Readers: What’s your favorite tip for saving on online purchases? I’d love to hear from you on Twitter, where I’m @jeffersongraham
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