We are conditioned to expect a bargain online, but sometimes it's just as cheap to buy at a shop, where you get to touch and feel the product and discuss it with a salesperson.
The most recent example where I was steered in the right direction by a salesperson was shopping for a waste disposer. They pointed out that the cheaper waste disposers had wall switches (and I have no wall behind my sink) and the more expensive ones have air switches. That saved a costly mistake.
But even if you prefer to buy in the high street, it can be worth comparing shopping online, says Chris Palmer of PriceMe.co.nz. That way you can go in armed with the opposition's prices. Beware, however, that high street stores often won't match parallel importers' prices. Goods bought in the high street can be returned locally, whereas they may not be able to be repaired here if bought online.
Sometimes physical retailers sell for almost the same price as online. I did a search on PriceSpy.co.nz for various items and the Nike+ SportWatch GPS was only $8.25 and $9 more expensive respectively at PB Technology and Noel Leeming stores than it was from online-only stores (including postage).
In the case of a Beats by Dr Dre headset, the two cheapest suppliers this week were PB Tech and Warehouse Stationery — ahead of the online parallel importers and drop shippers such as Coolmobile and Parallel Imported.
A ViewSonic PJD5132 projector was $462.75 (including postage) from Wiseguys. The cheapest high street chain offering it was PB Technologies priced at $504.85.
• PB Tech: Nike+ SportWatch GPS. $178.25.
• JB Hi-Fi: Sony PlayStation 4. $648 .
• Noel Leeming: WD Elements portable USB 3.0 1TB. $109.