I pretty much always buy electronics online, because of the greater variety of products on offer and the fact that the prices are generally cheaper. I like the fact that I can buy from a company that doesn’t have an expensive public showroom and have the savings passed onto me. The only problem I have is not being able to handle the product myself to see how it feels and behaves. Of course, not being an expert in every type of household appliance and general electronics does mean that I would need further information in any case, such as reading more reviews or asking reliable friends who already own the product I’m after.
One way to get to handle products without paying over the odds is to simply go into a shop and have a look and then buy the same product online. I feel bad about doing that, sometimes, because I do realise that by doing that I am effectively helping put physical brick and mortar stores out of business. I’m sure I’m not the only one doing this and we’ve already seen the record store and book store industry crumble because people like to look at stuff in person but prefer buying online. On the other hand, not all of us can afford the money to support someone else’s business model at the expense of our own shopping budget. When the price difference is big enough to make a difference, I will do what I have to do to get the best deal.
Another good way of choosing a product is by going for a reputable company that I know and trust and just reading reviews from trusted sources about the particular model I’m after. I must say that I am quite loyal to some companies, because once I realise a certain company makes quality products and has good customer care, it makes life a lot easier.
On the other hand, sometimes I don’t recognise any of the companies, which is when the online reviews become even more important. I check trade magazines, as well as online communities, consumer review sites, etc. and try to gain an understanding of the product’s general reception. Often, only people who’ve had a really bad experience will bother writing a review, which can skew the results somewhat. Also, not every product is right for everyone, so even if some people hated it, I could still find it a good fit for me. I try to read at least 10 reviews of each product I am thinking of buying, paying close attention to the bad reviews, but also reading about the product’s good points. Once I believe I know enough about the product to be able to understand whether or not it’s a good fit for what I want, I’ll start looking for the best deal so I can get the best price for it. I am always amazed at the difference in price for so many products I see online. I take the time to read reviews about the particular shop as well, in case there are any customer service issues.