Online shopping couldn’t be more convenient and time-saving for those of us with not enough hours in the day. The 24/7 ‘click and buy’ concept fits the modern lifestyle quite well, especially with so many product sites out in cyberspace.
But what if, despite your best surfing efforts, you can’t find the information you seek?
Say this information is key in order for you to make a purchase decision for that particular item. In some instances, it may not matter that you know now. You can always shop around at physical stores.
However, what if there’s a time crunch to decide whether to buy something – like rush delivery before going on vacation, or you’re trying to win a product bid on Ebay? What if you can’t find the product in a store nearby? What if you have a problem getting transportation to a store or require extra help for a handicap? Then, finding that necessary product information becomes even more important. It’s understandable we only have so much time and patience.
Some hard-to-find information may include details like the inner dimensions of a laptop sleeve or camera bag (often you’ll find only the outer dimensions listed), the type of snap closure used on a purse or handbag (old-school snap v.s. magnetic snap), or even — surprisingly, the type of material a shoe upper is made of (leather, cloth, or some variant of synthetic).
Rather than take a chance and buy something that you may have to return (and sometimes pay for re-stocking and shipping costs!), I suggest trying some creative web searches to find the product information you need.
I usually start my search by googling the product name, going to Amazon’s website, or visiting the product company website to find information. Normally the top 10 hits on Google offer the best results, but beware if the website address (url) has a funky name like www.monsterskillbunnies.com, for example. It’s likely a spam site. You might also try popular search engines such as Bing or Yahoo.
If these methods fail, I look for online stores with live chat support that sell the item. Sometimes a customer service representative can refer to logged inventory lists not found on their website to find more information. It also may be possible to contact the product manufacturer, but they generally are not used to customer inquiries, and may refer you back to a re-seller.
It takes a bit longer, but you may find product information on forum sites, or by reading product review articles. I also visit sites like Consumer Reports or Consumer Search for information, or other sites for comparison shopping. If you know a foreign language, you might also search country-specific websites.
For product images compiled from various websites, search Google images. Finally, if you want more than just a two dimensional view or description about a product, YouTube is a good bet to find customer review or product videos.