Are online shoppers getting good deals?

November 30, 2009 5:05:12 PM PST
You know Cyber Monday means free shipping and rock bottom prices from online retailers. But how good are the deals, really? Is the convenience costing you money? We decided to compare the prices of the exact same popular items both online and at the physical store. We also did our shopping last week so our numbers don't reflect any special internet sales.

If you are not used to shopping online, there are some methods to getting a great deal. Take Google, for example. If you don't already know, Google has a shopping tab that immediately searches for any product you're interested in buying. A quick search pulls up dozens of retailers that are selling the item. Most importantly, the search engine will show you prices.

Shopper Sam Allen said, "It's more convenient, it's easier and most of the time, sometimes it's a lot cheaper."

Our first stop is Best Buy. The electronics giant is known for its great buys on cameras, phones and gaming systems. First we pick up the Canon Powershot SX20-IS. The price at Best Buy is $399.99. A quick search online and we instantly find dozens of retailers offering the exact same camera. We find the best price at Amazon.com for $349 and it includes free shipping and no sales tax. That's a savings of more than $80 with tax!

"I like to shop over the internet because I can get free shipping and I don't have to deal with crowds," said shopper Erin Dubroc.

We also compare the price of a Panasonic blu ray disc player, model number DMP-BD80. The Best Buy price is $249.99. The online price at US Appliance is $173 and includes shipping.

Next we check out Wal-Mart. The retailer is known for its everyday low prices. The popular razor A5 is $79 at Wal-Mart but online the take home price $70.81. We also compare the price of the Garmin Nuvi 1350T. It's $269 at Wal-Mart, but online, we find the best price at tigerdirect.com. The total price is $179.99. That's more than $100 savings!

Allen prefers online shopping.

"Basically, they give you a better a deal," he said. "I just bought a cell phone on the Internet, too, from Sprint. I got $300 off. If I come to the store, it's full price."

Other items we price compared were the Nintendo Wii and the 2009 Holiday Barbie. The Holiday Barbie was the cheapest at Wal-Mart by 40 cents over amazon.com. The Wii was the same price at Best Buy, Wal-Mart and online. but if you but from an online retailer you don't pay for tax or shipping.

The bottom line is that we compared 10 items for this report. Out of the 10, nine items were cheaper online than at the physical store. The biggest worry for consumers was not actually being able to see what they were getting, but you can go check out the item at the store then go purchase online. Clothes and shoes can be a little tricky because if it doesn't fit, you pay those shipping costs for returns and exchanges.

Before you check out while online shopping, i recommend you run a search for a coupon code from whatever retailer you are purchasing from. Many times you will get 10 to 25 percent off, in addition to free shipping. Here are some to try:


Load Comments