Buying Electronics at an Online Marketplace

by Ryan Yates

You can find anything online these days.

First it was Comp USA, then it was Circuit City. Right now, Best Buy is feeling the heat and Wal-Mart is none too happy that customers can buy tax-free merchandise at numerous online retailers.

Personal electronics are big business because gadgets make the world go round – plain and simple.

As more and more people feel comfortable with ordering electronics on the internet, the brick-and-mortar retail stores have definitely felt the shift in consumer activity.

But before you go diving into your next online electronics purchase, you might want to pay special attention to some of the tips listed below.

You’ve Got to Compare Prices

Shopping online has made it incredibly easy to compare the price of whatever it is that you might be looking for. There’s no awkward bargaining with the sales associate and there’s now wasting gas and time driving across town from store to store.

When you’re looking for the best price, you’ve got to compare the prices. Not only is price-checking as easy as opening a new window in your web browser, but you can just as quickly check for coupons online as well.

I’ve gotten to the point where I check prices and check for coupons before I buy any sort of electronic device – from televisions to phones to cables and laptop batteries.

Promo Code Secret

If you’ve ever bought anything online, you’ve probably noticed a space labeled “coupon code” or “promotional code” during your online checkout. How often have you ignored this?

The promo code space provided at checkout is where your coupon discount is entered. If you see this space at checkout, there’s a good chance that a quick web search will reveal a discount. Even 5% is worth a quick ten-second search.

Check the Shipping Costs

Shipping costs are the one element of online shopping that have kept many people away from ordering products from an online retailer. I would often worry that any discount I found online would be wiped out by shipping charges.

And that can still happen if you’re not careful.

Before you purchase anything, make sure you crunch the numbers. Double check to make sure you don’t actually end up paying more for the item than you would at a local store.

USED isn’t really a four-letter word

Ok, so I’m not going to buy a used TV or a used computer or a used DVD player. There are just some things that I need (or at least think I need) to buy brand new.

However, my eyes have been opened to the massive discounts of buying some items used. Places like Amazon and NewEgg have dedicated categories specifically highlighting used or “open box” products.

These online retailers offer the same warranty and return policy as they would for a new item. So what sort of electronics might I buy used? Wireless routers and signal extenders, speakers, and computer monitors.

Once you get your feet wet, you’ll soon be able order just about anything you need at an online retailer . . . even if you give it a test drive at your local store first.

Photo By aresaubur

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kurt @ Money Counselor April 15, 2012 at

I actually bought a refurbished flat-screen TV online at a great price and love it. “Refurbished” can mean lots of things–sometimes it’s just something cosmetic. According to the research I did at the time, the key thing is that the refurbishing be done by the factory, not a third party.

On promo codes, I saved $10 recently (on a $75 order) just by Googling “promo code [retailer’s name]” and, eureka, a few codes appeared. I tried on and it worked, $10 worth.

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