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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

A guide to price comparison websites

Price comparison websites are valuable tools to help you analyse your competitors and check out fluctuations in prices. Rachel Miller guides you through some of the key websites

If you sell products to consumers, then it may be worth your while to look at price comparison websites on a regular basis. These sites are designed for consumers to find the right products at the right price. But they are also ideal tools for businesses that need to see exactly what their competitors are offering, including product types and service levels.

At the same time, these sites provide the quickest way to analyse prices. With rapidly changing prices, sites such as Kelkoo are invaluable for businesses that want to keep up with price levels and changes in demand.

But where do you start? Here, we list some of the most useful price comparison sites - from the main ones such as Kelkoo and Pricegrabber - to some specialist sites that focus on products such as books, perfume and even wine.

Consumer products comparison sites

These websites compare prices across a wide range of consumer goods - including electronics, fashion, CDs and DVDs, sports equipment and even travel. They often feature side-by-side comparisons of features and prices and also show delivery prices and promises. At the same time, user feedback and reviews rate the products and the companies that supply them.

While the sites are somewhat dominated by the biggest retailers, small firms are also featured on price comparison websites. In many ways, this levels the playing field, allowing smaller suppliers to compete on service and price.

Some sites, including Kelkoo and Pricerunner, offer specialist applications for smart phones so you can keep up with the market wherever you are.

Kelkoo
Europe's largest ecommerce website after Amazon and Ebay. Kelkoo compares prices and product features on millions of products.

Pricegrabber
Compares millions of products and services in 16 categories, such as clothing, consumer electronics, furniture and jewellery.

Pricerunner
Compares thousands of products and millions of prices.

Google Shopping
Type in a product name and Google Shopping comes up with a list of suppliers that can be sorted by price.

Shopzilla and Bizrate
Shopzilla connects millions of consumers with thousands of retailers. Shopzilla also operates the BizRate consumer feedback network.

Shopping.com

An eBay company, Shopping.com offers millions of products, thousands of sellers and millions of reviews from its Epinions community.

Some other consumer goods price comparison sites:

Financial comparison sites

Specialist price comparison websites

Wine

DVDs, CDs and books

Mobile phones

Digital services

Perfumes

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