Check Out the Internet for Great Deals

Physician's Money Digest, March15 2004, Volume 11, Issue 5

There's no denying that the Internet puts a vastamount of information and resources at ourfingertips. But as physicians know all too well,especially when it comes to health-related information,it's often difficult to determine the credibilityof a source. In short, it's a jungle out there.

The same can be said for shopping online. Somesites are difficult to navigate, while others promiseproducts and delivery schedules they can't meet. Andwhen you do find what you're looking for—be it electronics,furniture, or clothing—how do you knowwhether you're getting a good price?

Save Big Bucks

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If you're shopping for more high-end apparel, gooddeals on Hickey Freeman shirts—as much as 50% lowerthan at the company's own Web site—can be had atBluefly.com. Another site, Yoox.com, specializes in off-seasonand last season's designer clothes. According toa recent article, Prada shoes were selling atNeiman Marcus for $415, but a closely matched pairwas available for only $185 at Yoox.

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If digital cameras are on your wish list, start by visitingImaging-Resource.com. The site allows you to sortmodels by feature and offers side-by-side comparisons.Once you select your model of choice, the article suggests visiting BuyDig.com, which not onlyboasts some of the lowest prices on the Internet but goodcustomer service as well. A Canon Powershot G2 wasavailable for $464, including shipping, $74 less than theprice tag at Amazon.com.

Still haven't made the switch from VCR to DVD?Check out J&R Music and Computer World's site(www.jandr.com). You'll get advice on which playersoffer the features you're looking for, and a guaranteeto match another manufacturer-authorized dealer'sprice, if lower. Then go to DVDPriceSearch.com,enter the name of a movie you'd like to slip into yournew DVD player, and the site will list the best pricesfrom its database of 27 vendors.

If you're looking to raise the level of your golf game,check out The Golf Warehouse (www.tgw.com). The sitefeatures the most comprehensive list of clubs, includingbrand names like Mizuno, and offers good discountsand easy ordering. Don't overlook eBay (www.ebay.com) when it comes to golf equipment. Golf just happensto be the auction site's largest sports-equipment category,with more than 50,000 entries.

Need a new jacket or tent to enhance your campingexperience? Visit REI.com, which carries all of thetop brands at reasonable prices. In addition, the sitehas a bargain bin. Simply click on the REI-Outlet.comtab at the top of the page and you might find some ofthe items you're searching for at half price.

Express Browsing

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If time is a factor, or you simply don't feel like surfingdifferent sites for bargains, you might want toemploy a shopping bot—a search engine that comparesprices of items at different sites. According to PriceScan.com turned up the lowest prices among thebroadest range of retailers. In addition, while some botsstack results to favor merchants who pay to place theirwares, PriceScan.com ranks stores in an unbiased order.

The one drawback to PriceScan.com is that it doesnot include customer ratings of merchants, which isimportant when it comes to weeding out unscrupulousInternet retailers. However, if you come across aretailer you are unfamiliar with, you can check themout at Epinions.com, a site where customers rate theirprevious shopping experiences.

In short, the best online stores will usually featureeasy navigation, a wide range of inventory, and competitiveprices. If you don't find at least two of these featuresduring your shopping encounters, don't hesitate to takeyour e-business elsewhere.