Christmas is coming up. Do you have everything ready for the kiddos’?
Let’s say your four-year-old is obsessed with Paw Patrol and would love nothing more than to receive a Marshall figurine. What do you do first? How will you find an item that meets your budget – and arrives in plenty of time before Christmas?
You have a lot of options at your disposal. In this article, we’ll reveal some secrets offered by Quora members and help you make the right purchase.
Tip #1: Read Reviews
Studies routinely report that online shoppers find candid customer reviews to be more compelling (and trustworthy) than any other form of product information. It’s therefore no surprise that Quora panel trumpeted this practice in their responses. Here are a few of the more interesting suggestions about reading online reviews:
“I generally look at the negative reviews. I mostly dismiss the petty ones, wasn’t delivered on time or problem with customer support unless its rampant (lots of complaints) and look for legitimate problems that are likely to come up. That prepares me for the worst.”
“Learn the criteria for quality, by researching underlying technology and history in product development, and by reading critical reviews of the category of products (not of individual products or brands!).
“Are they good, bad, detailed? Often I Google for more reviews.”
Reading candid online reviews offers a unique opportunity for shoppers to tap into a community of past users. Unlike asking family or friends (which can be hit or miss), buyers are able to reduce risk by reading a significant volume of online reviews. By visiting sites such as Amazon, Walmart, and Target, consumers can find dozens if not hundreds of helpful reviews for a single item.
Tip #2: Utilize a Good Price Comparison Tool
Many Quora contributors recommended comparing prices from multiple online retailers. To do this, there are several logical approaches. Here are some of the more notable ideas:
“The first thing is Google it. I’ll usually start by popping open a tab for Amazon, and if the thing is worth researching, I’ll scope out other stores.”
“Depends on the item. For simple products, like a keyboard, or even standard products like mobile-phones, I like to find deals on eBay. Amazon is a later choice (I generally dislike giving my tiny business to monopolies). If the product is somewhat specialized, ex. a nebulizer for a child, I’d start with Google.”
“If I think I can save enough money to bother shopping around, I will. Often I shop around too much and save way less than my time is worth.”
In addition to manually comparing prices on competing retailer sites, some shoppers opt for a simpler path. Namely, utilizing an online price comparison tool, can be an effective way to save time and money.
Tip #3: Shop Trustworthy Sites
Each day seems to bring new stories of data breaches. For online merchants, security remains a major barrier for building trust with customers. This sentiment was stressed multiple times by our contributors:
“Online stores only come in two varieties. I either trust them with my credit card info, or I don’t. If I don’t trust them, then I won’t shop there. I generally trust any store that is also brick and mortar.”
“SSL or security verification.”
“A reliable seller, reasonable price, product choice, and maybe even knowledge about the product, are more central buying-propositions.”
It seems that while price is important, a sizable percentage of online shoppers give preference to websites they know and trust. Thus, demand for online consumer goods is not entirely elastic. Providing a reliable, secure online shopping experience does have significant tangible value.