Online shopping was once upon a time all about convenience and ease of access. With the current financial crisis of 2008 still looming large this holiday season, now it has become about saving money. As “Black Friday” rapidly approaches the concerns about recession are taking their toll on the free wheel spending that has been rampant the past several years. To get a corner on the market more and more retailers are recommending that their loyal shoppers go to their Web sites to do their on line gift shopping. In return for this loyalty they offer promises of discounts and special – online only deals.
The days of being afraid to shop at online malls is long gone. Now with the concern not just of Gas prices but all our commodities, the convenience of shopping at work to save time is now the biggest reason many click and save. If you hate the pushing and shoving of the mall then this is another reason to shop at online malls. Newbies and Oldies alike should of course make their first step research. Savvy shoppers will find the best offers. If you do it the right way you can make correct and inexpensive decisions. To get you started on the right foot before you even lay a finger to start Googling, you want to guard yourself. There are all kinds of items out there and you don’t want to just jump at the first deal. I prepared a brief 3 point online shopping guide to help you on your way:
1. WHEN & WHERE TO BUY – Think about the brick and morter stores you like to frequent so that you can get a feel for what you are looking for. Think of the clothing or handbag brands that you appreciate and then head on over to Shopping.com to begin your research. If it is toys you want go over to Amazon and look at their hottest toys. If you are still going to shop Sears and Target, see what deals they have. Once upon a time they offered discounts for shopping on line, now the opposite may be true as the crowds dwindle at the brick and mortar, they may want reward you for coming in, so find out. Compare, Compare, Compare
As soon as your local brick-and-mortar stores starts to put out their flayers for “Black Friday” deals in your paper you want to get on line and start looking as the days tick off down to Christmas. Places like Amazon.com. Buy.com and Overstock.com aggressively begin setting out deals that are trying to beat the offers of physical stores.
2. GET IN ON THE DEAL – There are sites like Dealnews.com, CyberMonday.com or Shop.org that offer up guides for getting the best deals on Black Friday and beyond towards Christmas.
Shop at portals like Market America that have thousands or top brand retailers at one site. Many of these portals will offer you savings for shopping there. As technology gets more savvy they can also offer a single check out option for all your purchases across multiple stores. So you can shop at Sears, Walmart, Sears and Home Depot all at one place.
3. ONLINE-ONLY STORES – It is important to note that you should always check exclusive online retailers like Overstock.com, Amazon.com and Buy.com. They don’t have the same overhead as a chain with lots of overhead in the physical building. So often these online dealers can offer better and cheaper prices for the same or similar products. Also check out new sites like SmartBargains.com or 6pm.com, for fashion or NewEgg.com for electronic. There is lots to choose from this year.
One final tip is to just be cautious and protect yourself. It is worthwhile, if you are leery to stop by bbb.org, the Better Business Bureau website. There you are able to check on many retailers and you can see what their satisfaction rating is. No complaints then they could be a good deal, but they could also be too new on the scene so tread lightly at new shopping portals. If you are new to online shopping it is better to stick with sites have been around for a few years.
Make your list, check it twice and check your budget. Get your credit card out and start Googling, there are great deals to be had. The stores are desperate for your business. Just don’t get carried away with online sales and max out your card. Stick to your list and a budget. It is easy to be tempted by all the shiny items before your eyes.