Everyone looks for ways to save time and energy when the holidays roll around, and streamlining tasks becomes especially important.
To make your holiday shopping easier this year we’ve provided two free deal-finder tools:
And we’ll also be looking at other ways to get the most out of online shopping.
Amazon Discounts Finder
What started off as small online bookstore has grown into a retail behemoth selling absolutely everything, and the chances are that you’ve bought something from Amazon before. Amazon routinely discounts thousands of products, but they don’t provide a way for users to filter those results – but now you can. Our Amazon Discount Finder can take your search term and scan Amazon for the product, based on the discount range you provide.
For example, let’s say I want a Blue Ray Player that’s reduced in price by at least 50%.
Just type in the name of the item, select your country or the country that’s closest to you and click on Search. Instantly a red link will appear. Clicking on this takes you straight to Amazon to view the results. You will notice just below the search bar that it says, “50% to 100% off > Blue Ray Player”.
For this particular search the top result, a Samsung BD-F5100 Blue-ray Disc Player used to retail for $79.99, and with this tool I was able to find it for just $31.99.
To further improve the results you get you can select a Department on the left-hand side of the page in Amazon, and by doing so you can have the option to sort all of the results. In this case I chose to sort them in order of popularity, with the most popular first.
Our Amazon Discount Finder is free to use, so give it a go and see what deals you can find – but remember, reduced items don’t stay that way forever! Don’t be surprised if something you found with this tool today shoots back up in price tomorrow.
eBay Auction Advantage
eBay – the most popular auction website online can also be a treasure trove of bargains (even without any search tools), but we’ve named ours the eBay Auction Advantage for a reason.
Unlike Amazon, eBay don’t run discounts across items in the same way because the marketplace is powered by people like you and me listing our own items. It’s purely consumer to consumer.
Consequently, you can always count on someone listing a product incorrectly, with spelling mistakes or typos. Usually this makes it near-impossible for anyone to find it, and the listing passes by without any bids, but with the eBay Auction Advantage tool you can find them because it is not a conventional search engine. Instead of searching for the item you type in, it instead searches for dozens of spelling variations and typos instead.
Let’s run through an example so that you can see how it works. I’m going to search for an “android tablet”.
As you can see it looks almost the same as the Amazon tool, with the big difference being that the discount range has been removed, and instead you have some extra optional search functions.
After clicking the red link and going to eBay to see the results it is best to select the category which best suits what you’re looking for. This will help further refine the results.
In this case I’m clicking on “iPads, Tablets & eBook Readers” to remove the clutter of accessories and cables from the results.
Now we can see this:
So there you have it, another great way to find some bargains online.
Your Guide to Online Shopping
A successful shopper is an informed shopper, and shopping online can make it even easier to research a product or service thoroughly before purchasing. After finding a product you like try searching Google for:
"product name" review inurl:forum
This will bring up all of the discussion forums online related to it. Forums can be a more trustworthy source of customer opinion than testimonials published on the merchant’s website (as they’re often biased).
Amazon also has an active reviewer community, but be wary of items that only have a few reviews, because they can be faked quite easily. If you think a review is suspicious you can click on the person’s username, and then click to view other reviews they’ve left in the past. If it seems like they always review products from the same company, or if they’ve never reviewed anything else before, don’t place too much stock in their opinion.
Research the merchant
If you’re using eBay, check the feedback the seller has, and specifically look at recent reviews, and reviews pertaining to the item you’re interested in buying.
When buying from merchants on other websites you can use a similar search query before:
"merchant name" review inurl:forum
and you can check for complaints by searching in Google for this:
"merchant name" complaints OR problems
Always check the return policy
If anything goes wrong you need to be confident that you can return it. Always be wary of merchants/sellers that say “no returns accepted” – it’s often shorthand for “I got stuck with this crummy product, and now it’s your turn”
Check you receive a confirmation when you place an order. Usually your order confirmation is sent via email straightaway, but in case it isn’t chase them up. It needs to include your order number, address and expected delivery date.
Don’t send a payment in advance
When dealing with a reputable and reliable merchant then it’s ok, but it’s a definite no-no when dealing with individuals. Scams run rife on sites like craigslist and Gumtree with people asking for up-front payment. You can either do cash on delivery, or use an escrow service. Escrow act as a middle man, holding your money so that the merchant knows you can cover the cost of the product/service, but not releasing it until you say so.
It’s a cliché, but if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t ignore your buyer’s intuition, and don’t allow yourself to be pressured into a sale. Take the time to research thoroughly before you buy.
Get all of the necessary contact information from an individual before you buy from them. Some online classified-type websites have people selling things with only their email address on display. Before purchasing be sure to get their phone number and street address.
If you have anything you’d like to add, or anything else to share please let us know in the comments below!