4 Tips for Brick and Mortar/Online Comparison Shopping

4 Tips for Brick and Mortar:Online Comparison ShoppingIf you’re like me, then you always compare prices in store to the prices online.  I do most of my shopping on Amazon but now that they charge sales tax, a lot of the brick and mortar businesses are starting to compete price-wise again.  There’s a lot of competition out there between retailers which is definitely a good thing for us, the consumers.  Any time you have multiple retailers fighting for your business, you know that prices will be driven down, you just have to know where to look.

I just helped my fiancee buy an Apple Macbook Air and the best price we found was through Best Buy.  We still made sure to do our due diligence and research all the various options online to see what was out there but none of them could beat Best Buy’s price.  It also helped that I had a couple hundred dollars in reward zone certificates and a bunch of 10% off Best Buy gift cards, but their sale price was still lower than the Apple website.

Here are my 4 tips for brick and mortar and online shopping:

1.  Check Reviews First

Before I make a purchase, I always check reviews on the product first.  Amazon is a great source for reviews since they have nearly every product available and you don’t have to buy the item to see the review.  The only problem with their system is that not all reviews are from verified buyers so there could be potential for abuse there.

2.  Don’t Be Afraid of Used

People tend to get caught up with having new things all the time.  Personally, I don’t care as long as it’s a solid product.  Things like looks and ‘shiny-ness’ are secondary to how the product actually performs.  There are some awesome deals to be had on used or even refurbished items on sites like eBay or Craigslist.  Obviously you’re taking a little more risk buying used but certain things like furniture have little to no risk at all.  You can test them out and if they work well and look good, there’s not much that’s going to change once you take it home.

You’ll often find a 30-50% mark down on a very good or like new item for sale on Craigslist/eBay compared to the retail price.

3.  Use Technology

I use the Amazon and eBay smartphone app to scan barcodes when I’m in store to compare prices.  That way, I know if I’m getting a good deal or if it might make sense to wait and buy the product later online.  I just used it today in fact at the drugstore since I needed some contact solution.  The price was $12.50 at CVS so I scanned it with my Amazon app and found it for $7.50 online.  It only took about 30 seconds and saved me $5.

4.  More Expensive Doesn’t Always Mean It’s the Best

Do you know anyone that has an obsession with buying the most expensive item since it has to be the best?  I know people like that and I tend to disagree with this principal big time.  Although there are a lot of expensive and nice products, you can nearly always find others on flash sale sites like hushhush that are less money and of similar quality.  Don’t assume that expensive means it’s a good product.

Readers, what tools do you use for comparison shopping?  Have you noticed that brick and mortar stores are starting to match the prices of online retailers more frequently(I sure have)?

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- Harry @ PF Pro

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Hi, I'm Harry, the owner and head writer for Your PF Pro. I started this site back in 2011 in order to create a place where young professionals could come and get all of their financial questions answered. On the site, you'll find articles on everything from asset allocation for retirement to saving money at Chipotle! So enjoy..

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Comments

  1. says

    I’m one of the few people I know who really does not like to shop. I don’t mind taking my daughters to buy clothes or to get their college dorm goodies, but for the most part I just loathe shopping.

    I’ve found looking up product reviews can put a real damper on my enthusiasm for something and I often wind up buying nothing. I’m especially good at staying away from new kitchen and gardening gadgets with this method because there are always some negative reviews.

    Like Mrs. Pop, we buy refurbished Apple products. (Certified Apple refurbished) They come with the same warranty as new products.
    Betsy / CollegeMom recently posted…64th Edition of the Lifestyle CarnivalMy Profile

    • says

      Haha that’s a good idea if you’re trying not to spend too much on shopping. Sometimes I’ll buy things and not open them for a few days to see if I really want them or not. I’m not on huge on shopping either but when I do shop, I usually know what I want and I’m pretty impulsive.

  2. says

    My old landlord was like this. He repeated a vicious cycle of going into major debt by buying name brands such as only sony products for electronics, new whirlpool washers and dryers every year and a half, a new harley and trading in his Nissan Armada every year for the newer version. His debt load would get so bad he would volunteer to go back to Afghanistan every 2 years because that’s the only way he could pay it off. Sounds like a horrible way to live if you ask me!
    Jeremy recently posted…Best of the Best: Round 3My Profile

    • says

      Yea that sounds horrible, I like nice things but I would rather get a great deal on them than pay full retail like a sucker. I had a co-worker like you mention and he was always complaining to me how much he hated work but he needed the money.. Work less, save more.

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