If you are looking for a new car stereo, you probably have been thinking that the best way to get the best deal is to go to the internet. You are absolutely correct. Your chances of getting the best deals using an online store is much higher than if you were to shop at an offline store.
Unless you’re dealing with a factory outlet or a direct from the factory wholesaler, offline stores really can’t complete. How can they? They have all sorts of overhead. They have all sorts of personnel costs to cover. There are just so many costs centers involved with offline retail. Accordingly, more and more Americans are buying their car stereos from the internet because they know that due to structural advantages, online stores beat offline stores all day, every day.
Now, with that out of the way, this opens a whole other can of worms. It’s one thing to say that you’re going to shop online, it’s another to be reassured that you’re shopping at the right online store. Make no mistake about it, in the world of online car stereo stores, there are a lot of opportunities to be ripped off. Let’s just get that out of the way. There’s just so many shady, fly by night operations out there, pushing all sorts of counterfeit, off brand, or otherwise shady merchandise.
Sure, you can buy stuff for cents on the dollars, but that same “savings” isn’t really going to do you much good if the thing that you bought doesn’t last all that long. Do you see how this works? You need to make sure that you get the maximum bang for your buck.
Sadly, not all online car stereo stores are top notch operations like the Car Stereo Warehouse. In many cases, a lot of these are out and out rip off. So how do you get the best deal on car stereos online? Pay attention to the following. Go through these steps to maximize your chances of walking away with the best possible deal.
Step #1: Be clear on what you want
The first thing that you need to do is to be clear about the car stereo that you want. You see, when you’re shopping online, that’s the last place you should browse. You would end up making all sorts of bad commercial decisions when you browse your purchases online.
You should already have a fairly firm decision as to which brand and model you’re looking for. In other words, you have to sit down and do some advance research by checking blog posts, online resources, consumer guides, and what not to get the fullest range of features that you’re looking for in a particular car stereo.
It’s really important to note at this point that you should go beyond the brand. Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s a reason why many consumers prefer brands. But in many cases, a lot of that brand trust is misplaced. Seriously. Why? They think that just because they’re buying a Japanese brand that the car stereo is necessarily made in Japan. That’s not necessarily true.
In fact, a lot of the top consumer brands on the planet actually have their back-end manufacturing divisions in China. Always remember this. Go beyond the brand. I’m not saying that you should discard it completely, but you should also look at other factors like features and the quality of the warranties these products come with.
Finally, you must determine your most realistic budget. This is just a fancy way of saying, don’t expect a Ferrari or a Maserati for $5. It’s simply not going to happen. Sure, your friends might tell you that they got their car stereo equivalent of a Lamborghini for a few bucks. But the chance of that happening to you is probably slim to none.
Be realistic on the amount of money that you’re going to spend. The general rule of thumb here is simple: you get what you pay for. In other words, if you want a high-quality unit, expect to pay a premium. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should kiss all your expectations of saving money goodbye. I’m not saying that. What I’m saying is that you should step it up a bit because you are paying for quality.
Step #2: Read up on what you want
Now that you have a clear idea of the features that you’re looking for and the kind of warranty protection that you’re interested in, the next step is to do some research. This is where you roll up your sleeves and get a top ten list going. By simply reading blogs, online car stereo review sites, and consumer resources, you should have a fairly clear list of what you should look for. Try to reduce everything to a top ten list of brands and models.
The next step is to look up online reviews. Now, keep in mind that just because something has a negative review, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s completely off limits. You have to take everything with a grain of salt. You have to understand that anybody with a blog can post negate stuff. Anybody can go to a review site and post negative material.
You need to go beyond the negative reviews and look at the general pattern. Are they talking about the same thing? Are there too many negative reviews compared to positive reviews? Is there some sort of internal consistency or logic in the negative reviews? If everything lines up, then you should pay attention.
If it seems like this is just random stuff of some unlucky people that just got bad batches, then it’s anybody’s guess what those negative reviews’ overall impact would be on the quality of the products you’re looking for. After going through the reviews, pare down your list to top three brands and models.
Step #3: Cross reference with offline stores
Now, this is where things get a little tricky. Now that you have a top three list, you should look for an offline store in our area.
Now, be clear about your expectations. Understand that you are going to be manually handling the products at an offline store. If you feel that their service warrants a higher price, then by all means, buy from them. They’re the ones who bent over backwards to help you. They’re the ones who explained the product to you. It really would suck if you were to buy the same products from an online store when the price difference is just a matter of a couple of dollars.
However, if the price difference is quite extreme, we’re talking about several dozen dollars, then you are well within your rights. Again, be clear about your expectations and make sure to handle the merchandize. Make sure that this is exactly the kind of product that you want to buy.
Step #4: Do price comparison online
Now that you are locked into the specific brand and model that you want, now it’s time to do some price comparison. Now, what’s tricky about this is that it’s just not about price. It’s very easy to find an online store that seems to offer the best pricing.
However, when you look at their refund and return policies, you end up taking on a huge headache. Also, when you factor in lousy customer service, it may very well turn out that you paid a massive premium for such “low cost” car stereo equipment. Don’t just focus on the price. Focus also on how easy the refund return system is. Also, pay attention to customer service reviews.
Step #5: Pick the best online or offline supplier
Now, keep in mind that you should not dismiss offline suppliers immediately. Offline stores can be very helpful. Offline stores are local so if there is any problem, you just need to get into your car and drive to get a refund or an exchange. Always keep them in the loop.
However, if the price difference is so extreme, then you need to buy strictly online. Make your purchase, keep all your paperwork for warranty and customer support purposes, hope for the best that you don’t have to collect on the warranty protection.
Follow the steps above to maximize your chances of walking away with the very best product when looking for car stereos online. You can make things easier on yourself by buying from Car Stereo Warehouse or another high caliber and high-quality online sources of car stereo equipment.