As with any other purchase, you need to first figure out what features you need. Do you need a basic CD player or one that can rotate six CDs at a time? Do you need a mega stereo plasma TV or a simply a little one to put in your kitchen? Once you determine your needs, you can focus on the category, various companies and then, of course, the best deals.
Stacey Barton, director of consumer electronics at Overstock.com, says different retailers focus on different things such as selection, price, convenience, return policies and customer service. Her advice? "You should identify what's important to you and then shop around to find a retailer who can satisfy those needs."
The countless brands of electronics, models, bells and whistles can be overwhelming. She explains, "Many consumers end up paying more for features they don't need. Take digital cameras, for example. Unless you are drastically enlarging your images, most people don't need more than a 6-megapixel resolution."
In the less-is-more category, it also may pay to wait. Do you really need the latest iPod the very day it is introduced? Do you need a hot new DVD player, or can you wait six months until the demand has lessened and prices have dropped?
Helen Fang, marketing manager of Vendio Services, Inc., adds the importance of visiting a comparison shopping engine like Dealio.com or Shopping.com. These sites receive product and pricing data feeds from thousands of merchants. "As customers compare prices, they may also want to compare shipping costs, taxes and merchant reliability," says Fang.
With the huge array of electronics purveyors ranging from stores and outlets to online vendors such as Overstock and auction sites such as eBay, the key is figuring out exactly what you need.
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