Tuesday, November 30, 2010

five helpful tips for holiday tech shopping

Undoubtedly, if you have a list of people to shop for this holiday season, you will have some tech items on your "to buy" list.  Many people feel overwhelmed when it comes to buying technology related items.  Are you one?  Here are some tips I have to help you make your purchases:

1.  If you don't really know much, if anything at all, about the item you are setting out to find, take along someone that does.  Its a terrible feeling to be standing in a store and have no idea which item is what you want, which item is better, or which item is the best deal.  If you have a tech savvy person with you, it will help take the guess work out of your purchase.  Don't rely solely on sales people.  Sometimes they have no more idea than you about items in the store, although they will seldom admit it!  They may also try to sway your purchase to something that doesn't exactly fit your needs just to make a sale, or lead you to a more expensive item just to boost their commissions.  So take a buddy!

2.  Ask the intended recipient a lot of questions (or if its to be a total surprize, ask someone who knows just what the recipient would want).  For example, you might know someone wants a computer...well do they want a desktop model?  Are they hoping for a laptop?  Maybe they are wanting one of the very small notebook types?  Do they have a certain brand in mind?  What will they be using the gift for exactly?  Do they have color preferences?  Clearing up questions like this will prove to me most helpful when you arrive at the store.  Arriving at a store these days just to say "I want an Ipod" will no longer cut it!  Wayyyyy too many choices out there!

3.  Comparison shop for your item.  Watch sales ads and commercials.  Check the internet.  There can be huge price differences on identical tech items out there.  Ask stores if they are willing to price match as well.  Many will do that these days.  It might make it easier on you to be able to buy your tech item at a store where you will be purchasing other items as well.

4.  Find out the return policy before you buy.  What if, despite all your advance preparations you find out what you bought wasn't quite what the recipient had their heart set on?  Will the store you bought it for accept a return?  Will they return it for cash?  Will you have to take a store credit?  Does the package have to be unopened?  How many days do you have to make the return (very important when buying a gift ahead of time!)  Will they need a receipt?  Do they offer gift receipts?  Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions.

5.  Find out if there is anything else needed to use the item or if everything is included.  Did you ever open a toy as a child and find it was just what you were hoping for....only to find out it didn't come with batteries and there were none of the size you needed in the house and no stores open?  Do you remember that disappointment?  I sure do!  So find out if there are chargers, power cords, memory cards, lenses, software, hardware....whatever else you could possibly need to make the item ready to go once recieved.  You don't want to make your recipient have to wait for stores to open to be able to use their much appreciated and loved item!!

Yes, sometimes tech shopping can feel overwhelming, but with just a few simple steps you can take a lot of the "scary" out of it!  So now, go on out and get those tech items crossed off your shopping list!!

About Staples:
Staples, the world's largest office products company, is committed to making it easy for customers to buy a wide range of office products and services. Our broad selection of office supplies, electronics, technology and office furniture as well as business services, including computer repair and copying and printing, helps our customers run their offices efficiently. With 2009 sales of $24 billion and 91,000 associates worldwide, Staples operates in 26 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia serving businesses of all sizes and consumers. Staples invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and today ranks second worldwide in e-commerce sales. The company is headquartered outside Boston.

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