While most digital cameras are priced using the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), there are deals to be had, particularly through online retailers. I'm typically not an advocate of going around the local brick and mortar retailer, but often times the online price is just too compelling to ignore. Such is the case with most photographic equipment. I learned long ago to visit my local big-box retailer to get an actual feel for a piece of equipment and perhaps even to ask a few basic questions. Once I've made the decision to go forward with an actual purchase, I will point my browser to my favorite online retailer, B&H Photo, to enjoy the low price and tax free advantage of buying outside of the state.
Price can vary dramatically from your local retailer to reputable online dealers. For instance, a Canon SLR or a novelty like a pink digital camera that may typically cost around $1,500 can be purchased online for closer to $1,000 for the exact same camera. Of course, there are some things you need to watch out for when buying online. First and foremost, do some research on the seller by searching through an online database such as Reseller Ratings, which provides user reviews of individual online retailers. The poor performers and shady operations will show up quickly, and it's up to you to avoid these retailers at all costs. While their pricing and package deals may be enticing, they are often times not what they seem. The phrase "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is" applies here. Apart from the vendor's reputation, you also want to pay attention to shipping and tax charges if applicable. I generally prefer to shop through online vendors located outside of my state of residence, since I can take advantage of the zero sales tax; however, be sure that the shipping charges do not negate this benefit. Also, be aware that items needing to be returned will need to have pre-paid shipping - typically paid by you unless there is a defect with the product. Lastly, be sure to read and understand the vendor's return policy, and if necessary, call them for verification or questions.
By paying attention to these simple suggestions you will be
able to reap the rewards of purchasing your tech gadgets online. So go ahead, search for that new digital camera and know with confidence that you can get it cheaper at a reputable online vendor. While some
people may be worried about transmitting their information over the internet,
most online retailers offer encryption to prevent fraudulent activity. I've
been buying online for nearly 10 years and have never experienced an issue
related to fraud. Just be smart and choose your retailer carefully and things
will work in your favor.