Maybe you’re in the market for a new couch. Perhaps your mattress needs replacing. Or maybe you have your sights set on that banging top-of-the-range Smart TV. Either way, the price tag is nothing to sneeze at.
It’s always wise to do some product research before parting with your hard-earned cash, but we know this is easier said than done. With so many options and so many scammers on the internet, it’s hard to know whether you’ve come across your dream appliance, or a dud.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Read on and you’ll be researching products like a champ in no time.
Step 1: Set a budget 💰
Decide how much you’re willing (and able) to spend. Write that number down. Stick it on the wall. Remind yourself, often, that it’s your limit. Chances are there are endless options of awesome products that do the same thing. Chances are that you won’t be able to afford some of them. Set a budget and stick to it. Don’t even entertain options that fall outside of it.
Your future self will thank you.
Step 2: Chat with your friends and family 🔈
Getting started can be overwhelming, but good ol’ fashioned word-of-mouth reviews are a great way to narrow down your options. Ask your friends, family or colleagues (or all three) which particular product they prefer and why.
Not only does this give you some insight into which brands to explore or ignore, but it’s likely that your nearest and dearest won’t have any dodgy motives. Their reviews are probably more honest than those of the salesman trying to flog you that top of the range, walk-in fridge that includes a temperature-controlled wine compartment and also a built-in smoothie maker (or something).
Why? Because their salary, and therefore their ability to jol on the weekend, doesn’t depend on making the sale.
Step 3: Google, Google, Google 💻
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of contenders, it’s time to get googling. Spend some time researching the product details, features, specifications and availability. See if your product has been upgraded (or will be soon), and if there are any alternatives you may like better.
As you descend deeper into the Google vortex, create a list of features that are non-negotiables, and ones that you can live without.
How do they affect the price?
Step 4: Read reviews 🤓
Sure, the brand website says it’s the greatest product the world’s ever seen but they’re kinda biased, aren’t they? Search for your product on reviews sites, like Hellopeter, that boast reviews from consumers just like you.
You’ll be exposed to the positives, the negatives and the in-betweens from real people – giving you a holistic, honest view of the product and brand you’re considering.
Remember to read as many reviews as you can. Don’t be put off by one bad review if the majority are positive. But be wary of common problems that arise in multiple reviews.
Step 5: Check it out IRL 🔎
Online shopping for expensive items is like Tinder – pictures can be deceiving.
If your purchase is on the pricier side (and in this economy, when isn’t it), it’s sometimes easier to go in-store and check out the product in person. Look at it, touch it, sit on it, open the doors, assess its size.
Make sure it’s exactly what you want. Trust us, returning a couch you bought online just because you don’t really like the colour isn’t that easy.
Step 6: Compare prices 🏷
Make sure you’re getting the best possible deal. Compare product prices from various outlets. Don’t forget to factor in extended warranties and delivery fees.
Ask the salesman if there are any deals or promotions they’re running. If you’re buying in-store, check online and see if the price is the same – many retailers offer discounted prices online as they don’t have the luxury of pulling a salesman “discount” swindle on the Interwebs.
Make sure that your lowest price (well done, you detective you!) is from a reputable source, and not from someone with suspect spelling and grammar that you found on Gumtree. Sometimes paying a little bit more to actually, you know, receive the product is worth it.
Step 7: Pay it forward 🤝
So you’ve researched the heck out of that product, parted ways with your hard-earned cash and have (naturally) secured a sweet deal. Why not pay it forward? Document your success by leaving a product review on Hellopeter – you’ll be helping out other savvy shoppers to up their product research game. Nice.
So, you can now research future buys like a boss. Go out into the world, buy products, write reviews about the product, and give the next shopper a chance to get all the facts before they make a purchase.
Reviews on Hellopeter have helped over one million consumers make better choices. Had an experience you’d like to tell us about? Leave us a review here.