Many years ago, consumer products were categorized simply as hard goods
and soft goods. The village general store stocked groceries plus a
variety of general merchandise items including tools and hardware as well
as fabrics and apparel. As the industrial revolution progressed,
more and more consumer goods were invented, and retailers became more
specialized. Today, national chain stores offer a plethora of
consumer goods for every taste and budget. Superstores like Walmart
attempt to cover the full range of consumer interests, while others focus
in depth on a more limited range of products. Home Depot and Lowes
focus on hardware, tools, and home improvement products. Target and
Kohls offer clothing, apparel, and home decor items. Bed, Bath &
Beyond and Linens-N-Things feature soft goods, housewares, and small
appliances. Best Buy deals with consumer electronics and
appliances, while Micro Center focuses on computer hardware and software.
All of the above retailers market their products online, but there are
many online stores which specialize in particular product lines.
You can find many of these vendors in shopping directories such as the
BOTW Shopping and Services directory. This comprehensive
directory features information about online shopping, retailing, and
products that are typically sold to consumers or end users.
Because of the vast number of consumer items available, consumers often
find it difficult to evaluate the quality of a specific product before
buying it. Therefore, they may wish to read various articles and
reviews before selecting and purchasing a product.
Consumer Reports is a good
subscription-based resource for consumer product reviews, and the Chosen
Sites resources listed below feature information about selected products
which are available in the USA.
Baby Stores - Baby gifts, baby clothes, and baby accessories.
Camera Shops - Digital cameras, SLR cameras, camcorders and photo gear.