Holiday Online Shopping Secrets

by Mark Ellwood

No one should ever pay full price for anything, ever again – especially online. Here are five simple strategies to help guide you in getting a permanent discount on dot com shopping!

Mark Ellwood, author of “Bargain Fever,” explains how to navigate the endless online shopping aisles and “check out” with the best deals you can get!

Practice cart abandonment.
Buy items in a two-stage process: log onto a site, place a purchase in your cart and close the browser window. Wait 24-48 hours. Retailers will likely send a coupon or promo of some kind in your inbox to tip the purchase.

Marshall a Twitter army.
Create a twitter handle for deals, and follow some savvy shopping bloggers and dealhounds. Watch and see when they tweet about certain brands – a cluster of a retail store’s tweets means you should start Googling for some good but unheralded deals.

Wear the online equivalent of a fake nose and glasses – surf anonymously.
New customers are often offered extra incentives by dot com businesses to close the deal. Fool a site into thinking you are a new customer every time very simply: create a special ‘shopping’ profile in a browser and clear the cookies on that profile every time. In Chrome, click on Settings in the browser toolbar and click ‘Add New User’ in the ‘Users’ section; create a shadow profile that you use for all online shopping. Alternatively, open an Incognito window.

Beef up your browser.
Install the PoachIt. button in your browser and every time you find an item you want to buy online, hit that button while on that product’s page: it will generate a coupon code, if any are live and valid anywhere on the Internet, or bookmark it to email you as soon as that must-have product goes on sale. Sign up for ShopItToMe. Here’s how it works: This aggregator notifies you whenever your fashion favorites go on sale – it can even sift deals by trend, or color, as well as brand. Look at CamelCamelCamel. It tracks price changes on; register the product you want to track, and it will email you regular updates on price changes and availability.

Travel like a pro.
Create a trip alert at AirfareWatchdog. Unlike other deals sites, it doesn’t rely on automated searches. Rather, it has a team of real human beings manually checking prices on airline sites all day, every day, so they unearth “hidden” bargain fares. Create an alert for your favorite routes, and the site will alert you as soon as your route goes on sale. Book hotel rooms through Tingo. If anyone, anywhere books the same room for the same night for a cheaper price, the difference is automatically refunded.

Expert bargain hunter and author Mark Ellwood demonstrates several ways that department stores try to push you to buy certain products … when the best deals might be located elsewhere.

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