Some shoppers, be it online or offline, are content with buying whatever they like after a quick glance at the price. Others, however, prefer to get the best deal they can on everything, from cars and houses to food and toilet paper. No matter if it’s due to a lack of means or simply the desire to buy well, finding good deals is a skill on its own.
Getting a good deal online seems easy enough – just compare the prices on several websites and make your choice. Sites like eBay and Amazon let you check what many different retailers are offering on the same page, greatly reducing your effort when trying to get a good deal. Still, behind every attractive price tag online, there are things you should check before making any hasty decisions.
Knowing why the price is where it is
Big surprise: when retailers get up in the morning, they rarely think “I’m going to lower prices so customers can save money!” In order for a seller to offer something at a low price, it must benefit him to do so from a business standpoint. It doesn’t have to be something as nefarious as a faulty line of items; it can simply mean mean that the manufacturer brought the price down due to newer models in circulation. To know whether an online deal really is good, you need to know why it appears such in the first place.
Some retailers charge a lot for shipping or use shipping services and methods of questionable efficiency. They might therefore try to compensate by lowering the price of their products down a bit. A deal might seem good, but are you willing to wait twice as long for it to arrive than it should, or end up paying shipping costs that round up the price back to what it would be in a better store?
Seaching for prices online
What about the conditions that the items arrive in? Certain online retailers are notorious for the inability of their goods to arrive in pristine conditions. Once they attract some negative feedback, they’ll lower the prices and count on future customers not wanting to go through the hassle of returning the item (if they even accept returns).
Is the item even new? Sometimes, less-reputable online retailers will ‘neglect to mention’ that the item isn’t brand new, which is why it costs less.
The best way to know if you are getting a good deal online, and often the only way, is word-of-mouth. Well, word of fingers, to be specific. If you’re concerned that an online deal might not be all that it seems, look far and wide for past customers of the store, including lesser-known websites like forums and blogs. You’ll always find a few cases of difficult customers or slanderous competitors, but if there are a lot of naysayers warning people to stay away, you might want to pay a little extra to order from a more reputable seller. Remember: there’s more to an online retailer than a neat website and bargain prices.