You’d order books online, sure. But golf clubs?
Shopping online can be a great way to find a bargain. You aren’t limited by geography, you have access to internet-only sales, and it’s easy to compare prices from the comfort of your own home. On the other hand, shopping online does carry an extra element of risk, particularly if you’re shopping for something like golf clubs, products that you’d ordinarily try out before you buy. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy those new golf clubs online, but it does mean that you should be smart about it.
First, since you won’t have a helpful salesperson to work with, make the effort to get informed yourself. Use your social network. What clubs are your friends using? Where did they get them? How was the experience? You’ll be surprised just how much information is available to you if you ask the right questions. Reading users’ reviews at online golf stores can also be helpful, though you may have to take some of the more extreme comments, particularly anonymous ones, with a grain of salt.
Second, scour the net for bargains. This might mean purchasing last year’s models to get a reduced price or buying your clubs as a complete set rather than individually. It might mean purchasing a used set of clubs, provided you’re confident that they’re in good condition. Or, it might just mean doing your due diligence and comparing prices. Prices can really differ, sometimes surprisingly, from online vendor to online vendor. Make sure to take advantage of all the access that the internet gives you.
Finally, remember, the internet can still sometimes be the Wild West of commerce, so it’s up to you as consumer to make sure you’re getting a fair deal. Remember, for example, to take shipping into account when pricing clubs. This may seem like a minor consideration but shipping golf clubs can be expensive, so make a note of the shipping charges as you shop. Unexpected taxes and shipping fees can turn a great deal into an okay deal. Additionally, choosing to buy from an individual through a third-party site could net you a great deal, but it calls for even greater vigilance. Who is that nice old grandmotherly woman selling the set of “as new” golf clubs that her son never used? It’s not paranoid to ask for verification and to look into the seller’s returns policy; it’s just good sense.