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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Jane's Avatar
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    How do you shop on the Internet
    Forget the content vs sales sites thang for a moment and tell us how you shop on the Internet. What was the last thing you bought? How many sites did you go to before you bought it?

    I just bought a keyboard tray. The model I bought some of the merchants forgot to mention the fact that the mouse tray floats over the number keys. This was the main feature I wanted and the place I bought it from didn't have this info. They didn't post the lifetime warranty info. Prices ranged from 160.00 to 355.00 for the same item. I went to quite a few sites before I made my purchase. I went back to the site that didn't have enough info because they have the best price. Their shipping was a bit high so I left again to see if someone with a slightly higher price had free shipping. Then I went back and bought it when I was sure it was the best deal. I never shopped there before. It is very rare for me, even when I know exactly what I want to just make one click and buy. When I think I know what I want then I will also check out similar items because there may be something better that I don't know about.

    So tell us, how do you shop?

  2. #2
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    We're remodeling our kitchen and so far I've bought everything online except the countertop (which is a custom job, obviously).

    The first thing I did was join a forum for home decorating/remodeling. I asked a lot of questions and read other people's posts to get opinions about manufacturers, merchants, product lines, types of materials, etc. I then was able to decide the kinds of features, options and finishes I wanted for the sink, faucet and lighting fixture.

    The next thing I did was look at pictures of product types and compare prices between different manufacturers.

    When I'd decided which specific products I wanted to buy I started using various online resources to compare prices. You have to be careful though because while Merchant A may have a better price than Merchant B, his shipping might cause the overall cost to come in higher. For some products the price was virtually identical among merchants while with others there was quite a range.

    I only had to phone one merchant for information, and that was a general, technical question pertaining to lighting wattage.

    Before I purchased I checked to see if any of the merchants had an affiliate program (only one did but his price wasn't competitive) of if they offered coupons (only one did and his price was competitive). All the products I ordered are from reputable, well-known manufacturers (Moen, Kohler, Murray Feiss) so I wasn't worried about quality.

    I also did online searches for the products to try to find pictures of rooms they were used in. I also checked the manufacturer's web sites to get more information. It was actually a lot of fun.

    My only source of annoyance was with HomeClick because their site implies that you need to order an installation kit in addition to the undermount sink I wanted to buy. I checked with the countertop company and found out that the manufacturer includes the installation kit with the sink. HomeClick needs to do their homework better.

    Two of the purchases were received TWO DAYS after ordering, one after five days. Everything was in tip-top shape, no damage and all the parts seem to be there. Everything looked better in person than it did online and the finishes were as described by the merchant. I'm very happy with the "look and feel" of everything I ordered.

    All in all this was a very positive shopping experience!

  3. #3
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    I go direct to Amazon, and then if they haven't got what I need I hit the search, Usually I know what I want to buy and once I find where I can get it I purchase with no mucking around, price comparison nor coupon hunting.

    The only thing I've spent time researching are things I'm buying for myself when it's the first time I have bought such an item and have no idea which stores will deliver where, once I find a store that delivers and does it well I will stick with them and only very rarely shop around.

    It's all about got the product, customer service, shipping and ease of checkout for me, then I'm loyal for life.

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  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador phillyburbs's Avatar
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    Does it really matter how this group shops? I mean, this is not exactly a group of "typical Internet users." I'd be more interested in how the majority of Internet users shop rather than an atypical group.

  5. #5
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Philly, I was very surprised at how sophisticated the guys and gals in the home remodeling forum I hang out in are when it comes to shopping online. With the exception of looking for affiliate programs to join...most of them shop the same way I do. They know about Froogle and BizRate, they know to check not only price but shipping and tax/handling charges, they know where and how to look for coupons, they know when certain merchants are likely to have a sale and they share all that info with one another. (It's a really nice forum.)

    I suspect that sophistication in online shopping is driven by the fact that they're buying big ticket items. I doubt that most people who are buying inexpensive products would go to so much trouble.

  6. #6
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    If I'm gift shopping then I tend to like old-fashioned paper catalogues to flick through, then I'll order online.

    For other things, well Amazon is usually a good place to look, followed by Kelkoo (a price comparison site) and Google ads.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Sam Bay's Avatar
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    Funny you ask;

    I was recently shopping for Linksys Wireless G Router for to use my Centrino laptop aorund my apartment, because the neighbor whom wireless network I was using is probably just moved.

    I goes around $60, with $10 Linksys rebate. I found one at CompUSA website for $40 after $15 mail-in rebate and $15 instant rebate (thanks to my ISP). But after I add the item to cart, half-way through it updated to price to list price of $69.99. Several times I tried, same thing. And I said, F you CompUSA, checked other sites found at Staples for $50, just went to store and got it.

    Well, it turned out to be offline shopping.

  8. #8
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    >>What was the last thing you bought?

    HMMM (blank look) Oh yeah, some calendars.

    >>How many sites did you go to before you bought it?

    Two. 1) Mine, to click my Pay Link. 2) The merchant's site. I spent quite a bit of time at the merchant's, deciding which design I liked. I've got them all up on my site, too, but the merchant has better sorting capability than me.

    For average-priced things: When I'm going to buy something that I don't promote myself, I usually go to one of a handful of sites that I've been going to for years. Once I find a site I like, I tend to stick with it forever. I hate shopping around and only do it when (a) I don't know of a merchant for the product I want, or (b) I think there's a good chance of finding a *substantially* lower price at a place other than one of my "standard" places.

    For big-ticket items, I'm more prone to checking around at various merchants, than to look at review sites like BizRate. I know what I'm looking for in terms of performance, capabilities, etc., and it's a matter of finding out who's selling It in the version that I want It in.

    Rhea's got a good point about forums, though. Quite a few times I have checked forums for comments about big-ticket items (I don't bother with that for normal-ticket stuff). To me, forums beat review sites, because if someone's really smoking it on a forum, then the other people are more apt to say so! I haven't actually joined any just to get product reviews, because usually the members are WAY more fanatical about "their subject" than I would ever be. But, those fanatics are just the ones who'll have bothered to learn all about Product X and make posts detailed enough to help with a purchase decision. The "search" function on a forum is quite helpful...

    (Edited to make important clarification about sources of reviews.)
    Last edited by Leader; January 28th, 2005 at 08:37 AM.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  9. #9
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    I just go to Amazon, usually they have the lowest prices. On items that Amazon doesn't handle themselves, they give you options of choosing from different stores with the price each store is selling the item for, so you can choose the lowest price or go with your favorite merchant.

    When it's not Amazon, i go to my site so i can save money with a coupon code and click the link on over and buy. Just think, there are people today going to Joann.com and paying full price when they can go to a deal site can pick up a 50% off any item coupon. I think people will only get smarter in their buying habits online and deal sites will just get bigger and bigger.
    Last edited by Trust; January 26th, 2005 at 11:18 AM. Reason: i like pizza

  10. #10
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Oh, this is a heads-up to anyone working with HomeClick. When I phoned to get information the guy on the phone tried really, really hard to get me to place my order over the phone instead of through their web site. When I told him I had more shopping to do and wasn't ready to place my order yet he gave me his direct phone line number and name so I could call him when I was ready to make my purchases.

    IOW...HomeClick is very peristent about convincing YOUR visitors to order over the phone. That just might impact your commissions, doncha think?

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    On the idea of how the average shopper shops, I have been watching my wife shop on the internet to give me an idea of what they do. She goes to Google (not Froogle) and does a search for that particular item. This returns a series of place to research the item. Finds the best price, then does a search for available discounts or coupon codes. Whoever has the best price gets the sale.

    Checking my logs, most of my visitors are looking for a particular brand name item when they arrive.
    Luke
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    It's been interesting reading this, but I have to agree with the comment that we are not typical internet shoppers. I don't know any "real world person" who routinely has 5-10 browser windows open at the same time and flits between merchants and Google for information, reviews on the products like I do.

    However - I spend a lot of time researching the item and then go to a few favourite sites, Amazon, Watford Electronics (UK site) Kelkoo, I find the Google ads really useful as there's often some great sites that aren't able to get a decent SE listing themselves. I never look for coupons - pretty rare in the UK anyhow - and buy from a site that is usually the cheapest, but I don't kill myself looking for it.

    I also often get the opinion of my son (nearly 13) as he will see stuff I don't and gives me a great instant impression reaction which is useful in building my own pages.

    Most recent web aquisition:

    http://www.shopboxuk.com/Details.cfm...=434&category=

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Jane's Avatar
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    Hey Rhea,
    I'm in the middle of kitchen remodeling too. Got my cabinets online from Sunco. Some were backordered and didn't get here while I was off work for a week during christmas. So I decided to scrape up the vinyl floor so I could put down real tile. Dec 30th had an unplanned operation on my arm which put my out of commission for awhile. Still living in a construction zone, though I did get the wall cabinets up. Anyways, what did you decide on for a sink? I haven't decided yet.

  14. #14
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Hey Jane,

    I got a Moenstone granite composite big, single bowl. It's a monster, but it's black and will be undermounted so hopefully it will "disappear" under our Silestone Mahogany countertops. (Ooh, I get goosebumps just thinking about it!) Our cabinets are in great shape and not dated looking so we're not replacing them.

    What kind of countertop are you getting and what color appliances do you have? I think those are probably the key considerations when determining the "look" of your sink and then you can figure out what kind of material you want.
    What'd you do to your arm?

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Jane's Avatar
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    I got Maple cabinets, was trying to decide on countertop color so I could decide on wall color. Picked one out, painted the wall and changed my mind (several times). I am using 3 sizes of Mardi Gras tile on the floor in a hopscotch pattern. Will use the same tile for backsplash. This is the tile for people who can't decide on color, it has lots of differnt colors in it. A good match for the different colored bricks in my fireplace. My appliances are 20 years old so I am getting new black & stainless steel appliances. I may just stay with stainless on the sink, it goes with anything! I like the black granite sinks but think I a going with green on the countertop. My old countertop will be put back in place for awhile until I get everything else down and call a countertop guy. I have to cut and replace the drain pipes when I put the new sink cabinet in. Many of the granite sinks have their drains farther to the back, that would mean moving the drain pipes a second time if I change my mind. So hard to decide! Who knows, maybe I will take all these countertop samples I have been collecting and make a patchwork countertop

  16. #16
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    It sounds pretty Jane, can you give me a link to the tile you chose?

    We bought new appliances (black) when we moved in last year. This project is to replace lighting, sink, countertop, faucet and backsplash. Since there's no time pressure I'm taking it slow. I probably won't even look at tile for the backsplash until I see how everything else comes together. Because we don't have to replace the cabinets I can afford to splurge on some other things...like the countertop! $84 square foot and that doesn't include sink cutout or edge treatment!

    Hopefully within the next year we'll replace the flooring (kitchen, mud room, powder room and laundry room). I'm thinking of a rough terracotta or tonal copper colored slate tiles, but if the overall effect of the room is too dark I'll have to find something lighter.

  17. #17
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    last thing i bought .. uhmm .. hosting . before that ... pocketpc .. before that .. digital camera .. yes, lots of looking around first. plus i have a credit card that's basically dedicated to online purchases (hosting, domain regs, purchases etc.) ... just so i can track better and watch out for fraud

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador Jane's Avatar
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    http://www.daltileproducts.com/serie...at=1&series=19

    Mardi Gras is from Daltile's French Quarter series and the pics don't really show the color good. See if they have a showroom in your area. I went with the Mardi Gras cause that is what Home Depot had in stock and I was in a hurry. Hahaha, still don't have the tile down yet. Think I might have preferred another color in the same series. Anyways at this point I am just taking it slow too, it will get done when it gets done. My previous cabinets were particleboard that had gotten wet several times... rotted away.

  19. #19
    Newbie TB Alex's Avatar
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    For brand name stuff I hit up epinions.com and compare total prices from various merchants.

    I'm also always up for smaller things that are new to me, like the Dead Sea products I saw in a banner here yesterday. For these I look for something to prove the legitimacy of the product and the company. Can be something small like "Item in Stock," I think we've all had to wait weeks for a ship date before... sometimes after our cards have been charged. I just try to prove to myself I won't have a bad experience after clicking the buy button.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador Jane's Avatar
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    I was looking for a used mac for my son who is out in LA. Found several stores online that sold used macs and then we looked up the address of the best deal. Turned out to be in LA but was a web store only. They said he could come buy and pick it up though. Turned out he was close enough to the place he could have walked! Pointless story but it was kind of funny at the time.

  21. #21
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Jane, I tried to send you a PM but you have it turned off. Let me know if I should try again.

  22. #22
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    I don't shop much except for my kids. My kids keep pestering me till I go to the used video game site (ebgames) or the toy site (amazon) and get the game or toy they save up their money for.

    I do ebay once in a while. To the dismay of my wife, I got a deal on some mule deer antlers. Also ordering some seeds over the internet - I like to browse through the catalog (the paper kind of catalog) pick out what I want, and then order online. I don't like browsing around online catalogs that much if there are a lot of products.

    I like amazon's reviews. They are helpful when buying books.
    This World is Not My Home
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  23. #23
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    Usually from one of my sites. I kill 2 birds with one stone. I get what I need and find out whether that merchant tracks or whether there is any funny business going on.

  24. #24
    Newbie TB Alex's Avatar
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    I got burned terribly on, what a coincidence given Jane's post, a used Mac on eBay. Turns out they had known the seller's account had been hijacked but didn't bother informing me until after the transaction. Of course I was naive to agree to use Western Union to pay too (investigator later told me WU essentially knew all about these scams and gladly accepted the business). So now I won't set foot near a WU and have a serious aversion to eBay.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Jane's Avatar
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    That really sucks Alex! I don't do much biz on ebay myself for just that reason. Actually another thing I don't do often is buy used stuff, but I was in home depot the other day and wanted a sander that they had on sale. They were all gone so they offered me the display model for only $25.00, AS IS I only need it for one job so I said what the heck, let me plug it in and make sure it runs. It ran, I took it home ran it 60 seconds and smoke was pouring out of it. I tossed it out on the patio and waited to see if it would burst into flames. This is typical of what happens when I buy something used. Anyways I got lucky this time. I took it to the Black & Decker Service center and they are sending me a brand new one.

    PM turned on now Rhea

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