- Internet & the Web
Online Shopping: The Best Websites to Visit
As a student at a large University in a very small town, I learned very quickly that where I was about to spend the next four years did not have the type of shopping I was accustomed to. I had to find a new way to shop and FAST, which is when I discovered the benefits of online shopping.
Online shopping has progressed incredibly quickly, not only is it convenient, but now thanks to modern technology it is also safe to provide credit card and payment details.
Believe it or not, shopping online can actually be cheaper than shopping in a store. The use of coupons is more prevalent online which can offset the cost of shipping and handling if the company even charges shipping. Most companies will have days where they offer free shipping as well as free returns. Speaking of returns, most of the time a company will include a return-shipping label, making the process of exchanging and returning quick and painless.
A new tradition for holiday shoppers began a few years ago which is akin to the infamous black Friday. Cyber Monday is held the Monday after Thanksgiving for online shoppers to get the best deals for all their holiday gear, all from the comfort of their own homes. This means no waiting at the doors of the mall at 4 a.m. freezing to death on black Friday, no crowds of people, and no picked over racks and shelves.
An IBM report on Cyber Monday sales can be found here… http://www-01.ibm.com/software/marketing-solutions/benchmark-reports/cyber-monday-2012.html?cm_mmc=holiday2012-benchmark-reports-_-press-release-_-wire-_-text-link
Now to visit some of my favorite places to online shop...
J. Crew Factory
Originally when J. Crew factory opened it was meant to be the online version of a J. Crew outlet store, and only open on weekends. Now the factory website is open for purchases all week long.
Although everything on the website is already discounted from their original price, most of the time there is an extra percentage off your entire purchase. For example, right now there is an extra 50% off final sale to make way for new fall items.
J. Crew offers $4.95 flat rate shipping and free shipping on orders of $100 or more.
Nordstrom is a great place to go for quality products. A lot of times people think that their prices are not competitive with other stores. While they do carry expensive products and high-end designers, they also carry very affordable items, and everything you could find at a competitors store such as Belk and Macys.
The best part about Nordstrom is their free shipping and free returns on any order. You know you will get a quality product, but if you need to buy two sizes and send one back it couldn’t be easier!
Zappos is very similar to Nordstrom in regards to their free shipping and free returns policy. It is not only a great place to buy shoes, which is what they are primarily known for, but also clothes and accessories as well. Their products also tend to be discounted from normal department store prices.
Zappos is known for their quick and efficient shipping and delivery. In my personal experience, I have placed an order with Zappos in the morning, and found it at my door the very next afternoon.
Beginning in 2005 in the United States, Amazon launched a program entitled Amazon Prime, which offers free two-day shipping on select items. I know what you all are thinking, only select items, but Amazon has a vast inventory making the program well worth it.
Select Prime members also have access to Instant Video, as well as the readers lending program for Kindle products. The types of Amazon Prime accounts available are as follows…
- Amazon Prime: $72.00 a year
- Amazon Mom: $79.00 a year
- Amazon Student: $39.00 a year
Amazon Prime also offers a free 30-day trial of prime benefits where trial members enjoy every benefit an actual prime member does, and Amazon student offers a free 6-month period.
Bear in mind that all of this is delivered straight to your door in two days or less.
eBay is certainly a buyers market, and the ability to find a bargain on this website is very easy. A lot of times people will go to eBay for big ticket items they are hoping to get for a cheap price, such as apple products, electronics, or sometimes even concert tickets. eBay is also a great place for just everyday items like clothing and DVD’s or Blu Rays.
Although sellers do choose how much a buyer pays for shipping, based on the product they are selling, a lot of sellers have been listing their items with free shipping in order to attract buyers.
The great thing about eBay is they protect both the buyer and seller if the product accidentally gets lost in the mail.
Online Coupon Websites
There are many websites online that can give a buyer some great promotional codes to lower the price of their purchases. A lot of times these websites will be able to tell a buyer what the deal on the website is at the moment. For example they would already have the coupon code for the 50% off J. Crew Factory that was mentioned above. The top coupon code websites are listed below.