A Guide to Smart Online Shopping

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to shop online. Whether you’re looking to buy items new or used, there’s a site somewhere on the web that has what you’re looking for. However, it’s important to frequent only the best online stores which are trustworthy and have a good reputation. Here are some of the online stores which offer not only the best deals, but also the best online shopping experience.

Overstock.com

Overstock.com is one of the best outlets for bargain online shopping. On Overstock, you can find furniture, home decor, bedding, clothing, jewelry, watches, electronics, sports, books, and much more. You’ll have to sign up for a user account to shop on the site. Items are priced at a discount of up to 70% off regular retail prices. When you browse the site, you can see the regular price clearly indicated under the item, along with the regular price and the discount percentage. Overstock.com accepts major credit cards, PayPal, Bill Me Later, and check cards. The site also offers a Best Price Guarantee, which is redeemable as store credit up to $500. Overstock also offers a full refund for returns of most new and unopened items within 30 days of delivery. If the return is the result of an error on the part of Overstock.com, you will receive a full refund for the merchandise and all shipping charges. Coupon codes for Overstock’s discount merchandise are available through their free newsletter.

Also, be sure to look at Overstock Auctions for many quality new and used products. Items are sold by individual sellers, not by Overstock. Each seller has a feedback rating to give you an idea of his rate of customer satisfaction. Look for the little gold “ID” shield to find Verified Registered Users. These sellers have registered their shipping address, billing address and other contact information with Overstock.

Yahoo! Shopping

You can also shop for a wide range of discount merchandise on Yahoo! Shopping. They offer bargain clothing and accessories, computers and electronics, DVDs, books, and music, flowers and gifts, fragrances and beauty products, home and garden, jewelry, watches, sports and outdoors, toys and baby products. Each merchant on the site has a rating which has been given by buyers. Buyers are permitted to rate the seller, saying how they liked the price, the shipping options, delivery, the ease of the transaction, and the customer service. Merchandise is available from reputable merchants like JCPenney, Orvis, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, REI, Fossil, and Overstock. Items are not purchased directly from Yahoo!, so you should check with each individual merchant to determine their payment methods and policies. Many purchases on Yahoo! Shopping are covered by the Buyer Protection Program, which is indicated by an icon below the merchant’s name. Coupon codes can be found on the Shopping > Bargains & Sales > Coupons & Deals page, which is under the Bargains tab of Yahoo! Shopping.

Amazon.com

Amazon.com offers significant discounts on a wide range of products, including books, music, movies, games, computers and electronics, toys, kids’ and baby products, apparel, accessories, health and beauty products, sports and outdoors, and tools. They even have a grocery section which offers natural and organic products, and gourmet foods. Amazon.com accepts most major credit cards, bank transfers, checks, money orders, and cashier’s checks, as long as they’re in U.S. funds. Amazon.com offers A-to-Z Guarantee protection for its buyers. If the seller failed to ship the item, or if the item you received is significantly different than the one in the description, you can file a claim and get a refund. Check often for Gold Box Savings, and Deals and Bargains on Amazon.com. Also, promotional coupon codes can be found online on a variety of sites.

Smart Bargains

SmartBargains.com features brand name products at discount prices. They carry items for bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, as well as home furnishings, decor, luggage and apparel. You can use a credit card, Google checkout, or PayPal to pay for your purchase. There is also a Bill Me Later option, which is very easy to apply for. The site offers several guarantees, such as a Lowest Price Guarantee on Footwear, a 30-Day Sleep Guarantee for bedding, and size charts. The site accepts returns within 30 days of receipt by the buyer.

Shopping.com

Shopping.com is a comparison shopping site which helps the buyer to find the absolute best bargains on name brand merchandise. You can browse by category, or search on specific keywords. In the women’s clothing category, there are usually tens of thousands of items listed. Featured stores include Amazon, Amazon Marketplace, Zappos.com, CafePress.com, JustMySize and many more. Shopping.com is an excellent resource to find the best price on a wide array of products. To use the service, simply type in a keyword, such as “levi jeans” to find which merchants offer the best prices on that product.

Google Shopping

Google Shopping is a searchable database of online products. It functions much like Shopping.com, showing a list of competing merchants who are offering similar bargain merchandise. When you do a search on a keyword, a list shows up at the bottom of the screen offering to refine the product results by price range, stores, seller rating and related searches. Featured stores include CafePress.com, Macy’s, My City is Hot, and In the Mood Intimates.

You can also search Google Base to search for products. Google Base can be used by a wider variety of merchants, so it returns a wider range of products, both new and used, from far more websites than are listed on Google Shopping. For that reason there may be a greater risk involved in using Google Base, but the potential for savings is much greater.

Jennifer Claerr has been published on a variety of websites, including Associated Content and Shared Reviews. She lives with her husband and two sons in Garland, Texas. A stay at home mom entrepreneur, she also sells books and collectible items on eBay, and is a registered eBay Trading Assistant. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Art from the University of Texas in 1995.

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