Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Online Shopping Tip #1: Research, Research, Research

When the mercury hits triple digits and you have three kids in diapers with naptimes and bedtimes to think about, online shopping becomes a very attractive alternative to traditional shopping venues. Even if you don't have kids, online shopping can be much more pleasant and often less expensive than driving from store to store in search of a certain product at a certain price.

Over the past few years, we've (hopefully) become a bit more savvy at finding deals online. In this upcoming series of posts, we'll share with you a few tidbits of our acquired wisdom in hopes that it might aid you in your shopping endeavors.

Tip #1: Research, Research, Research

Before you buy anything whether online or in a store, take a few minutes to make sure you're not buying junk. The following are a few resources you might want to consult: Regardless of whether you ultimately make your purchase on Amazon, the Amazon customer reviews are a great resource. Look for products that have 4 or 5 star ratings, but also skim the actual reviews for further guidance. (Hint: Try sorting the product category results to see which items are bestselling or have the best customer ratings.)

Consumer Reports: For $26/year you can have online access to all of Consumer Reports' great product reviews. If you've never consulted this resource before, you may be surprised how often spending will get you an inferior product rather than a better one. (I have a subscription, so if you're ever planning a major purchase and want to see an article, just let me know.)

Epinions: Another good resource. You won't find a review for every product at Epinions, but when you do they are typically very thorough and informative.

Google: Try searching Google for the particular product and model number you are interested in and add the word "review" to your search. Typically Amazon and Epinions reviews will turn up in the search results, but you'll often find other reviews as well.

Do you have a research tip you'd like to share? If so, feel free to leave a comment.

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