WiseGuide 4: Getting a good deal (only when you are looking for it!)

Admittedly, comparing meerkats can be quite addictive. However, it appears that the quality of consumer facing advice doesn’t seem to get any better. Most price comparison websites have taken a backseat to the incredible clutter of organizations selling insurance plans and often advertising other products and services for a fee.
In this post, the TransferWise team (re)visits some old and faithful services and some relatively newer applications that could help you save a few pounds or a fistful of dollars.
1.     Price comparison websites have been available in the UK for a while. While they do not necessarily aggregate all possible retailers, they are a good indicator of the price range and discounts offered.
Pricerunner is certainly in the all star cast of price comparison sites.  They have also launched an iPhone app for this service which allows you to locate the physical locations of retailers with the best deals.
You’ll be surprised by how much cheaper some electronic goods are available at Tesco Direct, in comparison to some high street electronic retailers. 
Kelkoo is right up there as a veteran of price comparison engines and provides feedback and reviews from both customers and experts, aggregated into one page. 
CNET UK also does some interesting comparisons, especially when it comes to dealing with complex phone plans, and they have very detailed reviews of products.
2.     Location based voucher deals perhaps haven’t taken of quite as strongly as had been expected, but with increased smart phone penetration, apps like vouchercloud have become excellent deal aggregators and are being adopted increasingly.
The best part about such apps is the fact that you can check for relevant deals in your proximity while you are on the move, without deals being shoved into your inbox like Groupon does, without fail, every morning (grrr!)
A fun spinoff of such applications – quite likely to be of interest to the youth segment, are check in based apps like SCVNGR. By gamifying the behaviour of users and by having an internal points-based reward system, such apps can possibly boast of higher engagement than foursquare – which, in its early days, did not have a specific engagement strategy in place.
Interestingly, vouchercloud continues to be affiliated to Vodafone Ventures, O2 went the other way and has labelled its deal aggregation service as O2 priority moments, with a location based deals as a feature within the service. Goes to show that standalone hyper local services will find it difficult to compete with traditional services, as these evolve and start providing ‘local’ as a filtering mechanism.
Photo Credits: Nan Palmero
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