"Where can I get the lowest price?" should be an easy question to answer. But it's not always so simple.
Thanks to a slew of factors ranging from shipping fees, special offers linked to credit cards and price-matching guarantees, it can be difficult for shoppers to find the best possible price on an item. Making things even more complicated are retailers' sophisticated algorithms, which respond to changes in the marketplace and sometimes adjust prices more than once a day.
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Excluding these complexities, CNBC teamed up with personal finance website NerdWallet to track base prices on 11 consumer electronics products over 12 consecutive weeks at Target.com, BestBuy.com, Amazon.com and Walmart.com.
For the purposes of the study, which was conducted using NerdWallet's DealFinder tool, the base price was only adjusted when the retailer offered a gift card with the purchase. Products examined included a Fitbit Flex, Sony PlayStation 4 and a 16-gigabyte Apple iPad Air.
According to the findings, Amazon ruled the pricing jungle, with Wal-Mart coming in a close second. In some cases, Amazon noted that its price advantage came from its third-party seller marketplace, where it does not influence pricing. Target and Best Buy most often tied for the highest online prices.