With the winter holidays coming around, you’re probably looking into presents for your friends and family. Although it’s still fairly popular to do your holiday shopping in brick-and-mortar shops and malls (maybe not so much this year, of course), it’s also very likely that you are going to make quite a few of your purchases online.
Going online offers convenient access to some of the best deals and a huge array of products. Of course, online holiday shopping isn’t without its difficulties. But you can do your best to get a great present for a great price with these tips and tricks:
-Keep an eye out for extended sales
-Get free shipping
-Try “ship-to-store” options
-Be safe with online sellers
Take Advantage of Extended Sales
The most famous pre-Christmas sale is Black Friday, which happens on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday is the Monday directly after that, and some retailers have sales the entire weekend, stretching from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. This is usually one of the biggest sale periods of the year. And because Thanksgiving is the last big holiday before winter, it’s when people tend to begin their holiday shopping.
However, you don’t have to wait for Black Friday to get great deals on Christmas presents. Nor are sales done once the weekend’s over. There are lots of sales all month long, and year-round. Depending on what you’re buying, those sales may even offer more discounts than Black Friday.
Combine Orders to Hit Free Shipping Thresholds
Free shipping is a great way to get products for a price that’s the same or better than what you’d find in a store without ever having to leave your house. Online purchases may be convenient either way. But if you have to pay for shipping, that can certainly cut into your budget.
Instead, build your order to take advantage of free shipping. Many retailers offer free shipping over a certain price point. And some of them even have free shipping as an everyday perk, with no minimum. For example, if you know that you want to buy jewelry for two of your family members, don’t place two separate orders and pay shipping on each. Instead, combine the two and cut out the cost of shipping entirely.
Consider Picking up Orders in a Store
With crowds of people, parking wars and all, in-store holiday shopping can be a drag, especially when you know you can just buy products online. But some people do love walking around the mall, enjoying the holiday décor, or trying on clothes in-person. (This year, we recommend checking ahead of time for hours and what COVID protections may be in place.)
If you see a great sale or a perfect product online, you can always combine it with your in-store shopping by choosing to pick up your order at your local store. More and more retailers offer this perk, usually with no minimum, because it saves them money on shipping. It also saves you money, and time.
Yes, you will need to go in person. But, with the item already picked and waiting for you, you simply run in and out; no hunting required. Check the company’s website to see if it offers in-store pickup. Depending on if the product is in stock, you may be able to pick it up in as little as a couple of hours.
Keep Safety in Mind
Although most online retailers are reputable, some aren’t. Whether it’s with low-quality products, counterfeits, or just never sending out the products you paid for, these scam websites can be annoying, embarrassing, and most of all, expensive. Therefore, when you want to make sure you’re only ordering from genuine retailers, you should do a little investigating first.
You can start with a general online search to look the company up and see what others’ experiences with it has been. Beyond reviews (at least some of which could be faked), you should also try to verify the company’s overall legitimacy.
To do that, simply find the retailer’s customer service phone number (a reputable e-tailer should definitely have one), and use it to try and perform a reverse phone lookup. If you find that the number is registered to someone shady or related to an individual who has seemingly nothing to do with the company, that’s a red flag. You can also perform a people search using the name of a CEO or other company leader mentioned on the site to try and make sure that that person–and his or her connection to a website–really exists.
Online shopping can be a great use of your time and money. Especially around the holidays, when many people have lots to do, it can be very useful in helping you to find presents without having to bargain hunt and drive all around town. Just remember to take your time to do it safely.
For more safety tips when it comes to holiday shopping and other online activities, be sure to read the PeopleFinders blog.
Photo credit: LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS – stock.adobe.com