Nabbing that perfect price for the perfect gift online may take a little extra clicking on your part.
“Sadly, it’s not a one solution fits all the research,” said Gustavo Mosquera, marketing professor at FIU.
Mosquera says if you’re just googling a product, you may be missing out on the best deals.
“What usually happens is your research usually goes all the way to the first page and the first three or five links,” said Mosquera.
Try doing a Google image search instead. It’s fairly easy to do. First, save a picture of the item you want to search. Then, click on the “images” section of google.com and upload the file of the item you’re looking for.
“You will be impressed of how accurate it is,” said Mosquera.
For example, NBC Responds found a dining set on Joss and Main for just under $400. A Google image search found the same set for sale on Wayfair for $363 and Walmart.com had it for $348 – an instant $52 savings. Our team also found a sofa for $260 on Birchlane. The same sofa was listed for $241 on Wayfair and cheaper still on Joss and Main at just under $230. Joss and Main, Wayfair and Birchlane are all owned by the same company. Mosquera says it’s not unusual to see these price differences.
“It’s the same company trying to fit in every market, like premium, mid-size and low-end market,” said Mosquera. “So based on that idea, they will price it for the premium user, they will price it higher, because they want to feel premium, they want to feel like they’re having an exclusive offer.”
And you may not realize it, online retailers are constantly gathering information about you as they try to figure out your spending habits. That’s why experts say your browsing history could impact the kinds of deals you see.
“For example, if the last three pages that you visited is looking for the same product, they know that your intent is to buy the product, you’re just looking for the best deal so they will fight for you,” said Mosquera.
Sometimes it’s worth considering other things beyond pricing – maybe a company that’s selling an item at a higher price offers perks like free shipping and free returns, making it a better deal in the end.
In response to the differences in pricing NBC Responds found, Wayfair sent a statement that said: “Our retail sites are designed to offer distinctly different shopping experiences that address the preferences of different market segments. Each of our brands run their merchandising and pricing independently to create a unique brand experience. Each brand sets pricing within market context to align with brand positioning.”
That’s why if you’re looking for the lowest price, it’s so important to take the time to do more in-depth research.