I’ve always been a big shopper (shocking, I know…) and as much as I prefer to go to stores where I can see and touch things in person, I do more online shopping now than ever. Mostly because I live further away from my favorite stores than I did before we moved but also because so many places now offer free shipping, which is huge for saving both time and gas. Most online shopping and price comparisons are simple Google searches but how do you price shop when you can’t find other stores selling the item you’re interested in because they’ve named it something totally different?
That’s where my favorite trick comes in:
So what are the most common things I use this trick for? Lighting, mirrors, and rugs. A lot of online stores sell the exact same mirrors, sconces, etc. but they call them different names so when you Google the name of the item you found at one store, you won’t find any other stores that sell it. Tricky, right?! So let’s talk about how to get around that.
I’m going to use the example of this beautiful mirror that I found at one of my favorite online shops. I love the mirror but not the price tag – the cost would be about $370 with shipping. I did a Google search using the name of the mirror to see if anyone else sold it for less but my search came up dry.
So I put my favorite trick into action. The first step is to save an image of the item you’re searching for on your computer. From my Mac, this means doing a two finger click while hovering over the image and selecting “Save image as…”. For a lot of PCs, it’s done by right clicking while hovering over the image.
Every now and then I encounter a site that doesn’t give you the option of saving the image. In this case, a simple solution is to Pin the item onto one of your Pinterest boards, go to Pinterest and click on your Pin to enlarge the image, and then save it in the same way as described above.
Once the image is saved to your computer, go to Google. In the upper right corner of the Google home page, click on the word “Images”. You’ll see a little camera appear on the right hand side of the search box. Click it.
Next, click “Upload an image” and then “Choose File”:
It will open up your File Directory where you’ve saved your image. Double click on your image file and it will be uploaded to the Google Image Search. Now you’ve got a list of all of the web pages that include an image of your item. For the mirror I searched, I got 92 results.
Those 92 results weren’t all for online stores but enough of them were for me to be able to shop around for a better price. In addition to looking at the item price, I also take into account whether there is a cost for shipping and whether there are any promo codes out there to lower the price (just do a Google search with the store name and “promo code” to see). If the online store isn’t one you’re familiar with, it’s a good idea to Google reviews of it and check it’s rating with the BBB.
The best price I found on my mirror (which is actually an Uttermost mirror sold at a ton of places) was just under $300 on Amazon. So a two minute search would have saved me about $70. Not bad!
Oh – and one last feature to point out to you. At the bottom of your first page of Google Image search results, you’ll see a section titled “Visually Similar Images”. Sometimes I’ve found great look-alikes for a ton less money by looking through these images (you can see more images by clicking on the title). For our pretty little bamboo mirror, Google didn’t do quite as good of a job as finding look-alikes as usual (what’s up with the purses?) but it’s definitely a feature worth checking out.
Speaking of mirrors, I ordered one yesterday for our bathroom makeover. As much as I loved the mirror from my bathroom inspiration board, I figured out that it was too tall and I also decided that I needed to go with a medicine cabinet as part of Project Hide My Husband’s Bathroom Crap. Have you looked at the mirrored medicine cabinet options lately? Not good. But I think I have a winner – you can decide for yourself when I share it on the blog tomorrow along with the rest of the bathroom progress. See you then!