This post offers two important online shopping tips.
Our designer secrets for finding the best online bargains. Plus, important advice on how not to get burned by both manufacturer and online sales tricks.
Finding the Best Bargains Online
Let’s say you are remodeling your kitchen and are smitten with a gorgeous faucet you interior designer plucked off of Pinterest. Its the one, nothing else will do.
Keep Your Eye On The Numbers
Find the MFR product number, AKA the SKU. Let’s use one of my fav’s as an example, Rohl’s R7923, a heavenly little number dressed in Satin Nickel finish (STN). The entire MFR number is R7923STN and if you type this number into a Google search you’ll find thousands of websites willing to sell you this faucet. Buy online and you may avoid paying sales tax.
Start clicking and searching for the best price, but WATCH OUT!
You will find that several of these websites do not designate the color (STN) at the end of the product number.
If you aren’t diligent in making an apples-to-apples comparison it’s easy to be tricked into thinking that you are evaluating pricing for Satin Nickel when really your seeing Polished Chrome. The difference is on average $134.
Beware Imposter Pictures
Many websites use Manufacturer stock images as a product picture place holder for a similar faucet even though it does not offer the same features and functions. If the product number is different you could end up with a different sized faucet, one that doesn’t swivel, or one that doesn’t pull-out.
Off Brands are the Manufacturer’s Shameful Secret
Many big companies manufacture their own off-brand merchandise. These are called “fighter brands” because they are ultra competitive cheapies that fight against other cheap competitor products for your dollars in the marketplace.
One of our favorite plumbing manufacturers has a reputation derived from offering decades of quality made-in-America products built to exacting standards with impressive warranties.
When the big-box stores came along selling cheap Chinese imports this company decided to compete by creating new brands that offer products of lower quality with inferior warranties manufactured outside the USA.
This strategy enables this manufacturer to get to a price point that can be sold en-mass by the largest of the large home improvement stores.
Here’s how you spot it, the MFR’s product number will be just slightly off. For instance, just as a hypothetical example, your may see R7923STNS instead of R7923STN. Tricky aren’t they!
Know What Your Paying For
Yes, sometimes a cheaper alternative is a good thing. I just like to know what I’m actually getting, and that I’m comparing “apples to apples” on pricing. I promise you that fighter brand toilet actually does not perform as well as the American-made one. Let’s just say it’s in the slipery-er finish.
When it comes to furniture the difference is usually in the toxins and chemicals in the finish. These volitile organic compounds (VOC’s) affect indoor air quality, normal function of the lung and can be problematic for people we allergies, asthma and breathing related diseases. VOC’s are not good for you people!
One Final Recommendation
Always shop online with a credit card, not debit card. If you get scammed or the seller doesn’t deliver for you a credit card purchase can be refunded by the card services provider. Not so if it comes from your checking account.