How it Works
Even before the advent of the internet, warehouse clubs, drop shipping operations and other discount sellers were around. Most of these sellers rely on volume and cost saving strategies. Advertising adds to costs, so during the '80s they relied on word of mouth and if you were an insider 'in the know' then you could get the good deals.
The internet started low cost advertising and the ability to list products for the world to easily find. During the internet age volume has gone up, but so has the level of customer support issues. Paying a large staff of people to take calls on how to plug in an HDMI cable raises costs; the technically challenged are actually raising the prices at all levels, but the discount companies we find the best deals from often would rather have a product returned than deal with explaining to you how to plug in a HDMI cable.
Finding Your Target
Before you start shopping you need to know exactly what it is you want to buy. Sites like TweakTown are the perfect place to start. If you are looking for a solid state drive then you will not find a better place to research than TweakTown. The guy that writes about that stuff is awesome and has no problems telling you what to buy and what to pass on ?
Now that you know exactly what you are shopping for, we can get started with the shopping process. For today I am going to use an example and walk you through the process from start to finish. I am currently obsessing over a 3D TV to play Gran Turismo on. Please look past my personal insanity.
To find my target I started out with a trip to Fry's and HH Gregg, two local retail shops that I go to from time to time to research physical products and talk to other consumers to put myself in check. Being a computer hardware reviewer sometimes gets out of hand and to keep myself in check I need to see retail prices and see people actually spending money on them.
So, my target is a 3D TV to be used mainly on a video game. My current 55 inch plasma TV is three years old and I spent 2500 USD on it, but the MSRP was around 3500 USD. To stay in good graces with my wife and purchase a premium TV then this purchase has to be a family item; something that will go in the main TV room and be used by the entire family. To keep the family happy I will need to either keep the current size TV, or go larger.
So, a 55 inch 3D TV that delivers the best picture for console gaming, family movies and it has to be something that I will personally be satisfied with for at least another three years. After researching I concluded that I wanted a Samsung 8000 Series LED or plasma display, or a Panasonic plasma.
Let's start hunting.