Before Shopping Online

mother and daughter shopping online

If you take time to do some research before shopping online you will feel much more secure and confident about your purchases. I'll show you here, how to do that research.

If you have been in a mega shopping mall, you may have been wow-ed at the immense size of it all. Here in Saskatoon, people make shopping expeditions to the great big West Edmonton Mall in the next province west of us. That mall covers several city blocks.

But look! When you do your shopping from home on the great big internet market mall, you have pretty well the whole world before you! You may only be limited by the number of languages you know, or from where you can afford to have your purchases shipped. Therefore, I encourage you to do more thorough research before shopping online.

True, there are some businesses afraid to ship outside of their own country. They may not have really checked out the procedures. You will want to know that before you go through the shopping cart step, just to save you some frustration. Again, that's something you can find out by doing research before shopping online.

Search Thoroughly for the Best Product

What if you are not sure what model, or which is the best product? Do a thorough search for the best product, and do it on the internet. It can save you a lot of leg-work and time! You really need to research before shopping online.

I've always been a frugal comparison shopper and so for many years I took the time and to visit several stores, even if it meant driving across the city to several different stores, and making notes on what they offered. Often I ended going back to the first store to actually buy the item I wanted, but by then I was fairly sure it was the best deal for me in the whole city. Yes! That kind of research is time-consuming!.

Therefore, I really appreciate how - now - I can first do such research before shopping online for the best product or model and save a lot of time. Plus, I save wear and tear on my feet and back, and even save on gas for the car! I can still drive to a store in my city, but if I have done my research online before shopping I feel far more confident that I've found the best model or price.

You might be asking; what would be the best product for a problem I want to solve? Where is that product available at the best price?

Again, my reply is, do a thorough search for the best product online. It costs you nothing but time.

This research before shopping online is not that hard. Sure, it can still become time-consuming if you get intense and let it. You need some patience, and enough time to keep yourself planted with your computer to do the checking and reading on various sites. After doing this kind of product research over and over a number of times however, you get faster at this. If you don't get distracted by rabbit trails, chasing details that are off-topic, you can learn to zero in on the more reliable information sites, or to make your choice faster. I recommend that you take lots of time for this at the beginning while learning. It will give you greater confidence in a while.

Tip: Check the links all over this site for good quality information sites on both stores and products.

Use a Search Engine - What's That?

There are hundreds of search engines on the internet, some better than others, but the one that enjoys the best reputation is Google. It has the fastest system and boasts the biggest database. Feel free to experiment with others - (it is a good way to compare them), but lots of people come back to Google as their default search engine. (If you don't like Google... they are getting quite nosy... try Bing, and others).

a google search box on my browser window

Your internet browser, whether Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc., will likely have a simple rectangular box in the toolbar with the search engine's icon. It might be Google, or Yahoo, or Ask! or Bing, or even a drop down menu so you can have your choice. Your internet browser may even be set up to open to a search engine page when you open it. Some search engines are focused on a certain niche like a trade or one language, or one country. Others try to index everything they find on the world wide web. There's a whole world, or many sub-cultures to explore. These search engines are your tools for research before shopping online.

If you are new to using search engines take time to try out various search engine sites. Many shopping sites, will have their own search engine, right on their shopping site, just for their own database of products and pages. Sometimes their criteria and methods have some differences, but there are many things the same, so it isn't too hard to adapt to your specific research before shopping online.

How to Research Products
in Search Engines

Let's go deeper into this matter of how to research products in search engines.

Go to a search engine's website, or - if your web browser already has a little block in the toolbar on every screen, put your cursor in there. Just type in your keyword in that box, click the "Go" icon or submit button, and watch to see a list of links appear to the various sites which may have the information you are looking for.

Let's use an example to research products. Supposing your inkjet printer is going through a lot of cartridges and you would like to find a site online where you can buy them at a better price, or even in bulk. Just type inkjet cartridges into the search engine's search box. A new page shows up with a list of sites that sell or are about inkject cartridges.

search results on a google page

I like to open a number of tabs so I can go back and forth to compare products at various stores. To do that, I choose a link where the description sounds like that's what I want, and right-click with my cursor on it. A small sub-menu pops up, and so I slide my cursor to select "Open in a new tab" and click. Your browser may open that new tab right away, but I have mine set to stay there, so I slide down and pick another good possiblity site, and repeat - right-click, select "open in a new tab" and click. When I have opened several tabs like that, I begin to click on the tabs one at a time and see what that shopping site has to offer. If their prices are too high for the product I'm researching, or for any other reason disappoints me, I close that tab by clicking on the little (x) on it. This narrows down my search quicker.

opening several tabs (other sites) from the google search results

Of course, each inkjet cartridge site may have hundreds of models. So you need to use that store's search engine function to narrow it down some more. In some cases you just enter the model name and number of the cartridge you want and you will be taken directly to that item. On some store sites, you may have to first choose the brand from a drop-down menu (ie. Canon, HP, Brother, etc.), then another sub-category, and finally your model number.

This is where I advise making notes. Jot down the name of a site you think you may like, and the prices of the model they sell, which you would find acceptable. Then move to the next tab and do your search, and jot down their prices and any differences you notice. If none of the stores you are checking have what you look for, then go back to your main search engine, such as Google, and change your search keywords to be a more specific term. Or try your research before shopping online from another angle, a different keyword or phrase for the same thing.

If you are shopping for a printer, you may want to compare a laser printer against an inkjet type, and once you have narrowed down your choice to one or the other, you want to do a still more comprehensive search for the exact best product model for your intentions.

But there's more. You can learn about that product's reputation, and how hard it might be to get repaired if it breaks down.

my camera

How I did my research before shopping online - When my Dad wanted to buy a digital camera for me I spent several sessions over about three weeks researching and reading up on different models and what would be the best minimum features to look for. However, since I didn't know which model would be most reliable, I did another search to find out what users were saying about the models I was most interested in. By the time we found ourselves in a mall and I spotted a sale, I already knew there were certain models I would not even consider, some models were frustrating to learn, and some broke down easily, and I'd seen enough prices to know that sale was truly a good deal.

We ended up buying a brand I had not even been aware of, (Centrios, turns out, was a new one imported from China) but I have been pleased with that purchase ever since - all of the 7-8 years I've used that camera. (I gave it away to a friend when I was ready to buy a new camera.)

I've already written up some 'journal' type pages allowing readers to follow my research efforts step-by-step for various products. You are welcome to read them in case they show you more practically, how to do your research before shopping online. Check these over;
Toner Cartridges
Learn from my eyeglasses shopping saga
Researching RAM Memory,
Oasis for Flower Arranging
Grocery Shopping Online

Obviously, I love to research before shopping online! I hope this helps you to develop that habit too. Browse around this site freely for more tips and guides, including more about me doing research before shopping online.

Hey, you can share your research and shopping stories too!

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