Whether you’re shopping online or hitting the malls, make your holiday gift-giving easier, quicker, and cheaper this year with these five cool Web tools!
1. Online Coupons
Shopping online? You may be surprised to find out you can get up to 25% off your order or free shipping at your favorite retailer – if you know the right code. Before you submit your online order, do a quick search to see if any discount coupon codes exist for the retailer you’re shopping with. My two favorites are:
Wow Coupons: They offer online coupons for many web stores – including 1-800-Flowers, Amazon.com, Dell Computers, Gap, Lillian Vernon, Nordstrom, Red Envelope, Spiegel, Wine.com and many others. The list is updated daily, so check the site before you complete your order. Or better yet, get on their mailing list for automatic updates: www.wow-coupons.com/online-coupons.php
Google.com: Try a search for [retailer name] coupon discount code.
Bargain Bonus: This tactic also works for discounts on monthly membership sites like AOL, Match.com and eHarmony.com.
2. Offline Coupons
Smart shoppers use the web not just for online purchases, but to get good deals on offline purchases as well.
Wow Coupons offers printable coupons for popular retailers like Ann Taylor, Best Buy, Hallmark, Macy’s, Sharper Image, Toys R Us and others. Be sure to pull up this site before you head out to the mall: www.wow-coupons.com/index.php (click “Retail” on the left)
Also, sign up for your favorite store’s e-mail newsletter – retailers often send unadvertised coupons and specials to customers their mailing lists.
3. Find Local Sales
Serious bargain hunters often check the newspaper advertising circulars to find out about local sales, or hop from store to store to find the best price. But one great web tool, Cairo (http://www.cairo.com), lets you skip all that nonsense and search online for the best deals at stores in your area. Simply enter your zip code, and BAM! You have a comparison list of retail or grocery store sales in your area, and you can even search for a specific item.
Bargain Bonus: Cairo also helps you get refunds from stores who offer a lowest price guarantee. Simply enter an item you’ve already bought and they’ll e-mail you if it’s being sold for less by another store.
4. Compare Prices Online
Shopping comparison web sites PriceGrabber.com, MySimon.com and Froogle.com let you type in a specific item, and see who’s selling it the cheapest online. MySimon.com also has great buying guides if you aren’t sure which product to get. This is super handy if your teenage niece wants “that new iPod” and you don’t know which one.
5. Skip the Post Office
Take the hassle out of sending greeting cards this holiday season. Hallmark (www.hallmark.com) lets you customize your own personal or business greeting cards for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Years. You can even upload your address list, and Hallmark will label, stamp, and mail them for you – and you don’t have to set one foot in the post office! Fully customized cards start at $1.15 each, plus postage.
For an extra special touch on your greeting cards or party invitations, add a photo image of yourself, your business logo, your kids, or even your dog Charlie to your postage stamps. At Stamps.com, you can have your own personalized stamps in as little as two business days; a sheet of 20 stamps costs $16.99 (you can save more when you buy multiple sheets). photo.stamps.com
Jamila White, The E-Commerce DivaTM, helps small business owners attract new customers and sell more products on the Web. Get her free “Sell More Online” newsletter at www.ecommercediva.com/newsletter.html.