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Finding the best value when buying online

Whether you’re searching for a music player, television or computer, you can save a substantial amount of money by following a simple price-comparison shopping strategy. Keep in mind that there is more to value than price – a good value allows a user to return the product and provide customer support as needed. Follow these simple steps to get the best value on any electronics item.

Visit a price comparison website

Price comparison websites keep a database of prices. When you search for an item, the website will display the best price for the item. Be aware that the website’s database might not include some prominent merchants. Prominent price comparison websites include Pricegrabber.com and Bizrate.com.

Visit an online shopping forum

Online shopping forums such as Fatwallet.com or Slickdeals.net offer forums where users post tips for getting the best value on a purchase. Electronics items are among the most frequently discussed. These websites contain advice for using coupons or taking advantage of unusual discounts that can dramatically lower the final price.

Check Review Websites

No matter how inexpensive the product, it’s not worth buying if it doesn’t work very well. Visit a review website like Buzzillions.com to read the experience of others who have used the product. Are there complaints? Or are people generally satisfied? Be aware that some reviews may be false: competitors may post negative reviews and the manufacturer may post positive reviews.

Consider refurbished and auction websites

Many electronics companies, such as Dell, have a separate website where they sell refurbished items at a substantial discount, sometimes above 50 percent. You should also visit an auction website, such as eBay, to see if the product is available for substantially less via auction. Often, you’ll save 10 percent or more if you buy an item in an auction.

Major retailers

Nobody should buy an electronics item without checking its price at large electronic retail stores such as Amazon.com, NewEgg.com, Buy.com and Walmart.com. These stores usually have an excellent reputation for accepting returns. If the price they offer compares to the price available elsewhere, or is only a few dollars more, you’re probably best off buying from them. They’re leading retailers for a reason.

In-store pickup

You can save a considerable amount of money on shipping costs if you order an item online and pick it up at a brick-and-mortar store. This is possible only if the merchant has an established network of retail outlets. Best Buy for example, may charge a bit more for some of its products, but since it offers in store pickup, you can avoid shipping charges and receive an overall lower price. Why buy an item online in the first place? Because the online price can be much lower than the in-store price.

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