How to Find the Best Deals Online – Comparison Shopping Sites, Product Reviews and More

Shopping online is a pleasure when you get what you want and with significant savings. Finding the best quality items for the lowest possible spend is a challenging task. By turning your focus on comparison shopping and taking out time to carefully assess the product reviews, you make sure that you get the best value for the money spent. Ask any avid online shopper and he/she will tell you the benefits of reading product or service reviews before you go hit the virtual stores!

In any shopping experience, online or when you walk into a physical store, one of the best approaches of arriving at a great bargain is of comparing different products and prices. Internet makes comparison shopping a breeze. Open an online shopping portal and begin your product search by identifying your choice of brands and comparing notes on the various product specs & prices. For instance, if you are looking to buy a good laptop, comparison sites can bring great deals and bargains within your reach. View the laptop images, specifications and dimensions, and arm yourself with all of the information you need for deciding on the one closest to your needs. Make sure you also check the online store’s warranties, return policies, service records and customer ratings.

Comparison shopping also helps you to use discount coupons wisely. One might think that the more shopping sites he refers for price comparison, the better results he gets. It is true to an extent but price comparison is certainly not the only idea behind comparison shopping. Reading product reviews from customers, who have already been using the product, also guide you in making the right choice. Blogs and forum posts have evolved as valuable sources of information. Read up forums and buying guides where you get the latest professional and consumer advice based on usage experience.

Useful tips that make you among the first to know about the best deals:

There are many ways of finding the best online deals. Since there are so many places from where a prospective buyer can know about the money saving deals, each one has his own way of staying up-to-date of the buzz.

Subscribe to merchant newsletters

Sign up for personal newsletters at your favourite online store and you will be informed periodically of the latest deals on offer at the store. Be the first one to know about the exclusive coupon codes, festive season discounts, freebies and the attractive contests.

Outlet Stores are also available online

Outlet stores often make available great money saving deals on your favourite products. You also find many of such stores online. It’s a good idea to visit them frequently if you wish to lay hands on otherwise expensive products at unbelievable discounts. Keep in mind to act fast when you find a good deal because such stores usually stock limited quantities which could run out if you delay.

Join Deal Forums – Express, Suggest and Exchange Ideas!

Connect with the members of shopping blogs and forums and you will know of the latest online deals. Look for the best deals posted by the members in the forums and purchase the items at discounted prices.

Special Deal Search Engines

Search for deals in specific search engines. A bargain site is a place where members post internet links to great products. You can easily grab the best deals for yourself through these specific search engines. This way comparison shopping becomes as easy as the click of a button! Compare the price of your favourite product on different websites and find the same quality at a cheaper price. These sites are usually updated several times a day so it’s always worth going back to them.

Internet shopping is perfect when you know what you want. You’re sure to find some important advice that you can take along to your next online shopping trip. Remember each person has differen

Internet Marketing Product Reviews – Thinking on Shopping and Product Reviews and Internet Marketing

How can you tell when an online Internet Marketing Review is legitimate or not? Just because someone says that a certain software is the best one to make you a million dollars does not mean it is. After all, most of the Internet marketing product review sites allow people to post using “fake names” or handles, like Starlifter7 or WookieMan or some such non-sense.

How can you tell if the person is not reviewing their own product or engaging in the ultimate form of “buzz marketing” tactics, which by the way is now illegal says the FTC, as it is just another form of hype or false and misleading advertising. So, while I have you here reading this article, let me discuss the actual websites that do “Internet Product Reviews” and explain what I have found.

First, when someone tells you that they made a million dollars and they are going to sell you their secret formula, a word to the wise. If they were making a million dollars using their methods, why on Earth would they share it with you, as they could easily double their efforts to make two-million or triple their efforts to make three. See that point? You should.

Second, if a person does not leave their name, then their book review, software review, product review or business opportunity review cannot be taken as 100% factual, and you ought to know by now that you cannot believe everything you read on the Internet – ever heard the famous quote:

You can believe none of what you hear, half of what you read and most of what you see”

Well, where does that leave us on the Internet? In that you are reading it, so that takes it down to 50% legit right there, and those are not good odds when you are reading online product reviews about internet marketing products in some shopping and product review website, no matter how legit the actual site is. Because it’s the actual review from the so-called or pretenda-consumer that you are reading.
Third, often competitors will go online and trash products and write up reviews claiming faulty products, bad service, poor delivery, or simply bad mouth the product. Well, obviously that happens too. All in all, I’d give the internet product reviews and overall rating of 30% factual, and to me that just is not worthy of my risk. So, if you like me go online before you buy, consider that what you are reading is not necessarily the real deal, the whole truth or written by some consumer god. Think on this.

The Rise of Social Shopping and User Reviews

Why I think customer reviews and social shopping are important. Social shopping is an interesting concept which divides opinion amongst web commentators.

Most are agreed that social shopping is a specific type of web service with its roots in the social explosion of Web 2.0.

In their purest form the best social shopping sites provide an open independent platform where users can add products, post a review or provide a product rating. The sites are service orientated, providing the tools for others to use and as such rely heavily on user generated content to set the agenda.

In essence the opportunity now exists for consumers to band together, discuss specific products and brands and provide an authentic alternative voice to the brand led marketing activity and conventional expert reviews we are all subjected to in other media.

By sharing product knowledge and experiences, creating useful content, an empowered community consensus can emerge, highlighting the gems and warning against the over hyped duds – the products which disappoint and fail to deliver.

This type of user generated content has a real value and satisfies an important element of the online shopping process – research, which accounts for 80% of consumer time when they are shopping online.

Social shopping sites combine social elements such as a social networking community features with aspects of shopping such as product reviews, ratings and deal hunting.

Some of the more agile social shopping sites are making use of the Twitter API and Facebook Connect to tap in to the online conversation, providing context for product related Tweets on Twitter and distribution of product opinion via Facebook.

Social shopping sites can be viewed as a value added evolution of the affiliate model – as they seek to monetize website content (the user generated product reviews and ratings) by sending traffic to third party merchant sites where they can purchase product.

My starting position is to agree with the mantra that “customer recommendation is the Holy Grail of Advertising”. We know this is true in the real world – if your friends and neighbours enthuse about their new car, lawnmower, laptop or digital camera – it will have weight, you take note.

The same holds online – reviews and recommendations are very powerful; especially those from people with status in a community, and those which are provided weeks and months after the purchase; only the scale and dynamics of relationships differ. The potential then of social shopping and what it offers us as consumers, product designers, specialist retailers and brands which really focus on and respond to their community is very exciting.

Some statistics and predictions from rantorave.

According to a global Nielsen survey of 26,486 Internet users in 47 markets, consumer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising among 78% of the study’s respondents. (Nielsen, “Word-of-Mouth the Most Powerful Selling Tool”).

83% of shoppers said online product evaluations and reviews influenced their purchasing decisions. (Opinion Research Corporation, an infoGROUP company, July 2008).

76% of US retailers said user-generated content would have a greater impact on their marketing goals in the near future. (SLI Systems/Zoomerang, November 2008).

56% of UK website owners say that user-generated content lifts conversion levels; 77% say it increases traffic; and 42% say it increases the average spend on site.(eConsultancy survey of 360 website owners across all sectors, November 2008).

By 2020, 84% of marketers agree that building customer trust will become marketing’s primary objective, and 82% agree that collaboration with customers will prevail over marketing. (1to1 Media survey April, 2008).

Top 10 Social shopping sites: (note I am only allowed to submit an article with 4 links)

Kaboodle – http://www.kaboodle.com a great site, arguably market leader geared towards female consumers. Now owned by Hearst Digital Media.
ThisNext – another strong site with an emphasis on female consumers, this site feels like a great window shopping experience with expert Maverns on tap
Tribesmart – http://www.tribesmart.com this site is making use of twitter and Facebook connect. There are some great tools such as the personal list builder and community messaging features based on the ‘Tribes’ idea. Like Veedow, Wists and Crowdstorm it could appeal to both sexes and this is potentially where the gap in the market is as Kaboodle, OSOYOU and ThisNext seem to have marked out a claim on the younger female market.
Veedow – a slightly confusing site, a neat idea, still yet to realize it’s full potential in my view
Stylehive – feeling less like a pure play social shopping site these days, it has a strong emphasis on wannabe celebrity fashion/lifestyle writers who you follow – it is not as vibrant as twitter although you can see where they are going with it
Jungle Raft – a new entrant, included as it is a new concept with a clear proposition in terms of pulling the best deals from Amazon
Stylefeeder – offers to help users discover products based on their unique tastes. The looks a little off the pace and has some annoying and tacky pop up ads. All a bit old skool.
Crowdstorm – the site is a Digg type site for products, it is based on buzz and an expert opinion network- although it does seem to have gone quiet in the last 12 months
Shopstyle – feels like an ecommerce site with price discounts on display. Lacks obvious reviews or community features although the stylebooks feature is really nice enabling people to put looks together and share these -

Shopping and Product Reviews – The Purchasing Duo

When purchasing items either online or on an actual shop, it is best if you already know what you are getting in line with the product you wish to spend your money with. Otherwise, spend a minute or two to perform product review before splurging your money on shopping.

Some may think that purchasing luxury briefcases or leather briefcases are not as complicated as it is. All you have to do is go to the shop, pick which one you like, or heed the suggestions from the salesperson or from your close friend. Wrong. Everything you want to buy ought to be double-checked first.

Shopping and product reviews are twins, they should go together. Going shopping without the aid of product reviews can lead you to a rather disastrous purchasing experience.

Let us go back to purchasing simple luxury briefcases and leather briefcases. Without prior knowledge on the things that you would want to purchase, you may be fooled by fake retailers. It is a known fact that frauds are all over the place. Everyone knows that. What you don’t know is how to determine whether what you are buying is an authentic leather therefore worthy of its skyrocketing price (leathers are expensive). But since you found time to search the net of what you are looking for, together with the information of how big is it, of the marks that can be found on its body, etc at least you have the knowledge of what to look for when buying the item.

Imagine not knowing all of the information. You went home with the package on your hands, thinking that you have in your possession something that is a bit expensive when actually what you had is close to a clone. Same goes with the price. Other stores take advantage of the lack of knowledge of their customers and would give a price way too expensive than the actual one.

With reviews, previous buyers’ comments can help you decide whether your chosen product is worth it or would you rather choose a different one just because most of those who had it are saying it is not worth a penny. Prices, whether actual or approximates, are also posted to give you a hint of how much your target item costs.

If you are planning to purchase not so-cheap articles, surfing the net to look for reliable product reviews may the best thing to do. It is for your own protection still. If you can stay for a while adding friends and posting your hang-ups in social networking sites, guess you will also allot a time for this as well.

Product reviews are just safety measures a buyer should take seriously so that their money will not go to waste not to mention not be fooled by fakes masquerading themselves as store owners or retailers. Checking online will not take a lot of time. Shopping may be good, but it will be better once you are confident that what you have paid for is actually the same thing you always wanted to have and not just a poor copy of it.

Philip Andrews enjoys writing for Mybriefcases.com which sells luxury briefcases and leather briefcases a