Is it just me or do you have to wonder why when you're browsing online, you can find what appears to be a similar item offered for sale at a fraction of the price in comparison to known quality product? It makes me wonder, why is this one so cheap when the others are all competitive to one another. In other cases you might find the one outlier is the known-to-be quality product, and all of the competition products are coming in at a much cheaper price. This is quite prevalent with competitive items on Amazon, but it's pretty commonly found for multitudes of items one can buy online.
In many cases it's not realistic to purchase an example of a product from several providers to compare quality and ultimately the true value of said item. I suspect that if one were able to do this, and were to do it across several different product types, it would quickly become fairly obvious that the age-old saying 'you get what you pay for' holds true to this day. Upon receiving and reviewing the assortment of offerings from a variety of producers, it's likely apparent where cost cutting measures have been taken. Take for instance a wall map. One can shop around and find a printed map for a few dollars, yet there's also maps for sale that cost $50 or more.
Comparing sizes, it seems that one could purchase a wall map of a decent size for say $20. Also on offer for a similar size is a map that's $60. One must ask themselves, why is this one so cheap and this one so expensive? In a broad overview sense these are the same thing: a paper or paper-like material with an image of a world map printed on it. But, what's unknown to the casual shopper, is that one (or both) of the sellers may be overcharging or may be offering an inferior product in favor of meeting a specific price point. If one is familiar enough with a product type and maybe familiar with a few good brands, they may have a chance of recognizing what quality factors to consider.
Any product is going to have elements that make up the final product. Material choices, design, even packaging and presentation are all factors that contribute to the customer experience and are the things people perceive as value. In the example case of the wall map I used before, most are unaware of what specific factors to consider. In the case of a wall map, there's material, quality of the design, quality of the print, and finally the quality of the finished product. The causal shopper may assume they're comparing apples to apples when they are comparing two maps of the exact same size, but in fact there are much finer details to consider, even for this seemingly incidental product choice: Paper for instance comes in all grades and thicknesses. Is this cheap product made from a paper that's so thin it cannot hold the ink, or hold itself together? Halfway decent paper can generally render a print well, and will hold up reasonably well over the years, but a real cost-cutting move would be to provide a print on extremely thin, low quality paper that doesn't render clear crisp print. The design is the next element to consider. In the case of the map, was it a quality image to begin with? Can you trust the accuracy of the labeling on the map? Who was the original publisher of the map? Then, there's print quality. A wonderfully designed map could have incredible detail that's completely lost by poor printing practices. Another cost-cutting shortcut in this industry would be going with low resolution, high-speed prints that minimize ink consumption and keep prints churning through at a high rate of speed. The end result leaves text illegible, and colors blurred and dulled. Again, the casual shopper doesn't know to consider these important factors when they truly believe they're comparing very similar products.
Moral of the story is to be very aware of what you're considering purchasing online. Even in today's modern world the saying 'if it's too good to be true..' remains a valid statement. Do your research and if possible purchase from reputable brands and sellers.
Written by World Maps Online
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