Let the Hunt Begin
With your model numbers selected you can now start your targeted search. There are several online shopping websites and most of them are very good. There really isn't a perfect shopping network, so I suggest you use several. Three of my favorites are Pricegrabber.com, Google Shopping and believe it or not, EBay. Sometimes when shopping you need to find a product that is no longer being reproduced. A good example of this comes from my kids. Every year they get a new light saber from Star Wars, but the models they want is no longer being made and their retail availability is nonexistent. Many collectors have kept these little treasures unopened and in their retail packages. EBay is like a specialty shop that specializes in everything.
For my example today I have three model numbers and any of the three products will satisfy my needs. The Samsung UN55C8000FX is a LED backlit display and its plasma brother is a 58" display with a model number of PN58C8000YF. Panasonic has several model numbers that fit the bill, so I am only casually looking at their products, but each step along the way I am looking at Panasonic pricing. At the same time in the back of my mind I am thinking about the larger 60 and 65 inch models, but their prices are quite a bit more than what I really want to spend. We all have to have a dream, right?
The MSRP of the Samsung plasma display is 2999.99. You never want to spend anywhere near this price, but you need to know it before getting started. The Samsung LED display has an MSRP of 3499.99. Your local retail price for these two at most big box retailers is around 2800 USD for the LED and around 2500 Dollars for the plasma. The point of this article is to teach you how not to ever pay those prices, too.
For this example I am looking for a big ticket item and the higher the price means the more variation I will find in prices. I plan to spend around 2000 Dollars, so I will be saving 500 Dollars or more.
To start my search I am breaking out the weapons. First up is Pricegrabber.com. The lowest price for the LED Samsung was 2,069 USD. That's a really good start. The plasma display was 2,092 USD, another good price, but the LED cost savings is better over the retail and MSRP.
Next up was Google and their shopping network. To get to Google's Shopping Network you just go to Google.com and at the top you will find a link that says 'shopping'.
Google lists both used and new products, but I am only interested in a new unit that also carries the full manufacturers warranty.
To get the very best price click on the Base Price link and the results will be organized by price, lowest to highest. The above image shows the results listed by price. The first result is for a used TV, so it is removed in my mind. The next lowest price is just under 2,000 USD, but the seller only has ten reviews on Google's built in rating system. The next best new price is 2,075 Dollars and is actually a seller that I have used before when I purchased a Pioneer Elite receiver. That purchase went smoothly and I spent around 1,500 Dollars. At this point I am satisfied with my hunt and know that the seller is credible. We will get into how to verify a seller on the next page.
So, on this hunt I was able to find the product I was looking for and save around 1000 Dollars on my purchase. In the state where I live sales tax is 7%, so the final out the door price at a big box retailer would have been around 2,996 USD plus the gas to get to the store and the aggravation of dealing with know it all salesmen and massive holiday crowds. I would call that a victory in my game!
Since you are new to this game, you will want to continue your research and verify the seller with the product you want.