Buying Cheap Art Supplies Online
The phrase cheap art supplies can mean many things to many people. Advertisers, especially on the Internet, use such phrases to entice buyers to their website or their store. However, this does not mean that the prices or products are any less expensive or of a lesser quality than competitors, but in some cases it may. Most art suppliers carry a standard stock of the most popular art supply manufacturers, such as Prismacolor. Prices usually are adjusted according to season, primarily following the school calendar. Seasonally, i.e. fall, spring, and summer, manufacturers send pricing catalogs to their distributors and retailers, which reflect their specials. Normally, the retailer will pass this savings onto the consumer – but not always. Sometimes, it’s just a way for retailers to make extra money.
The best strategy that I can offer the consumer, art supplies for kids is to do a price comparison online for the products you are interested in buying. Using my browser, I open up multiple tabs for each retailer, so that I can easily compare prices. If you are unfamiliar with tabs, it is a much easier way to work than working with multiple open windows. Simply right click the ad or hyperlink on a web page for the company where you want to do your comparison shopping. A drop-down menu will appear with the choice of opening the new page in a new window or a new tab; choose new tab. In addition to product price comparison, also compare shipping costs. Some online retailers will offer very cheap art supplies, but may charge higher shipping fees than their competitors that charges slightly higher prices for their products, but less for shipping. The difference in shipping fees may make a big difference in the overall cost of your order. Also, some companies will offer free shipping if your order totals a specified minimum amount. The total, however, does not include tax and shipping fees – only the total price of the items ordered.
Some of the larger art supply retailers also sell their own brand. Depending on the product, this may or may not be a good buying decision. It’s similar to buying generic or supermarket brand products. The standard of generic or store brand art supplies may or may not live up to your expectations. If in doubt, it’s usually best to buy a name brand product, such as Prismacolor colored pencils, unless you already have firsthand experience with the retailer’s store brand. Store brands may not always deliver consistency either, as they may change the manufacturer that produces their products. In other words, a store brand colored pencil may not be made by the same manufacturer that made the pencils the year before.
Another thing to beware of when shopping for cheap art supplies is the retailer’s return policy. Some retailers may charge a restocking fee for returned merchandise. Be careful of final sale policies, with wording such as no returns or exchanges. Alternatively, some retailers may only give you a store credit, rather than your money on returned merchandise. On the other hand, if a product arrives damaged, retailers will usually issue a DOM (damaged on arrival) return label, in which they take full responsibility for all shipping costs of returned items. In such cases, retailers should not charge a restocking fee for products damaged during shipping.