As 2017 winds down and marks one of the worst years for brick-and-mortar retailers, the consumer will likely continue to shop online more than ever before.
"The convenience of not having to carry big, bulky items with a little one in tote is a lot easier," West Hartford resident Kelly Tobin said.
Those big, bulky items might be a little cheaper, too. With a quick right click, the NBC Connecticut Responds consumer team used Google’s image search to find better deals at your fingertips.
For example, a five piece dining set was listed for $399.99 on Joss & Main’s website, however Google’s image search shows that same set for sale on Wayfair for $363, and Walmart.com has it for $348. That’s an instant $52 savings.
Same goes for a Birch Lane sofa, originally listed for $259.99. Wayfair has it for $241, and cheaper still at Joss & Main, at $229.99.
Also, Joss & Main, Wayfair and Birch Lane are all owned by the same company.
"We are influenced by a variety of factors, and that influence ultimately drives us to purchase," retail expert Nicole Leinbach Reyhle said.
Reyhle explains how companies get a suggested retail price, the MSRP, and might adjust that number differently across its brands depending on who each site targets, apparently hoping shoppers won’t compare costs.
Reyhle also points to brand loyalty, noting it’s just as prevalent online compared to brick-and-mortar stores.
"There’s a certain convenience with shopping online," said Reyhle. "(Customers have) already registered, their accounts are set up, their credit cards are put into certain websites already, so certainly that’s going to factor into their loyalty and shopping behaviors."
Retailers get a glimpse of your shopping habits from all the information you put online: from your age, to your location, to your favorite restaurant. Companies can sort you in a category that suggests if you’re likely to spend more or less.
"As a consumer, if you look for something and then you wait, you typically will find something pop up in the near future that often drives the price lower than what you originally saw it as," Reyhle said. "That’s their call to action for you to hit purchase."
She suggests loyal customers who see an item cheaper at a competitor ask to price match. Also, consider shipping and return policies when weighing in price.