Thursday, January 20, 2005

Shopzilla to the rescue

I've been shopping online for more than a decade and have had very few bad experiences with it. Of course, I'm cautious. Today I was looking for a high-quality, all-elastic cat collar for Kaylee, who gets herself out of her cheaper-brand elastic collar about three times a day.

The brand I wanted, which Sheba is wearing, is Coastal (their Licorice Strip is the all-elastic collar). The problem was that the big name-online pet stores are pushing a different brand of all-elastic collar, one which doesn't impress me much.

It took but a moment to find listings for the Coastal collar using Google. However, you can't buy from Coastal's wholesale site, and the retail sites that came up in the search just didn't inspire confidence. No Bizrate rating. No PayPal payment option. No physical store associated with the online operation. Hmmmm.

I went to Bizrate and discovered their new Shopzilla search. Turns out that one one of the major online pet supply stores did, indeed, stock the Coastal collar. For a whopping $6.99 per collar, when everyone else had been charging $2.49. Hmmmm...a $4.50 per item convenience fee for shopping a secure site? Since I was buying 8 collars (stocking up on supplies for the whole herd) this made a quite difference.

Going back to Shopzilla, I found, which not only had the Bizrate association but would also let me pay by PayPal so I wasn't surrendering my credit card info to them. One more nice thing about order form has a notes section so I could ask them to send me a red collar (instead of a raspberry one) if they had red in stock.

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