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According to eMareter, a publisher of data, analysis and insights on digital marketing and commerce, more than 7 out of 10 internet users are now shopping online—a trend they believe will only continue to grow in the years ahead. For homeowners and DIYers in search of home goods, decorative accessories, appliances, and remodeling products, the internet is certainly the place to go for convenience, variety, and bargains. But do your research and shop smart.
Here are 5 things you should know when shopping for DIY products online:
1. Shop brand names. Be familiar with brand names and the level of quality they bring. They are the companies that have been in business the longest and for good reason—they stand behind their products. You will also find more consumer reviews and customer “likes” and “dislikes” for products bearing the name of a nationally recognized brand.
2. Have your measurements on hand. Don’t be fooled into purchasing something solely on looks and price. It needs to meet you specifications, too. A faucet with a center-spread will not work for a countertop designed—and plumbed—for a widespread fixture. Same is true for cabinets surrounding microwaves, dishwashers, and refrigerators.
3. Check out the manufacturer’s site. You are more likely to find comprehensive product details, specifications, and installation requirements at a manufacturer’s site than elsewhere. They will also clue you in to other products you may need to complete a successful installation (particularly important for plumbing and electrical fixture purchases). Manufacturers also offer special promotions and savings, so be sure to look on brand sites for bargains as well.
4. Read the fine print. Look to see if a warranty is available and for how long. Also, check shipping and return policies. Online retailers can make it difficult to return something unless it is being exchanged for another product. Most will not pick-up return shipping costs and some may even charge a restocking fee.
5. Check and double-check. Before you hit the “buy/submit” button, be sure that you’ve done your research and are getting the right product at the best price. Double-check the product model number, finish, size, and other details. The convenience and savings of shopping online will be lost if the product you receive is not what you expected.