[an error occurred while processing this directive] Best Online Shopping Sites - Steven and Chris

Best Online Shopping Sites

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Hey everyone! Jamey Ordolis here... I produce the Steven and Chris website, which is just THE best job ever because of all of you and how engaged and active you are online! Not to mention the fact that Steven and Chris cover the most fabulous topics AND they dubbed me their "Web Wonder Woman" and brought me on the show to share all my online tips, tricks, secrets and finds with you!

Today we talked about one of my favorite things: online shopping. Here's why it's a must:

1. The access: The world wide web literally opens up the entire world of shopping to you - from sold out, hard-to find items, to handmade treasures, to the best international products. You'll never see something in a magazine or on someone else's back that you can't find for yourself.  

2. The ease of use: What's better than shopping? Shopping in your pj's, while the kids nap in the other room, or while you're supposed to be working! ; ) Click away to browse online merchandise which is showcased so well in photographs nowadays, it rivals the real-life thing!

3. The savings: Because there's no cost of operating a retail store - with property and lights and heat and employees - online stores typically offer better savings. Plus there are so many online shopping sites that the pricing is competitive.

So, we've got our snuggies on and a cup of green tea and we're ready to shop. Where do we go first?

Best Online Shopping Sites

1. eBay.ca - You're thinking, "Duh! I know that one". But you need to make sure to put the things you buy to the "eBay Test" in order to save yourself money. eBay is an online auction where individual sellers post items (or create eBay stores full of items) and buyers can bid on or buy right away. Pricing is very competitive - not just versus retail stores but from seller to seller on eBay - and the consumers really determine what they want to pay for thing.

Why I love it:

  • for new items I want to get a deal on
  • for wonderful vintage finds like jewelery, records, comic books, art, etc.
  • for obscure items... Want to match that crazy sidetable you inherited from your aunt 25 years ago? Check eBay.

Best tip:
Get a PayPal account. PayPal is a safe and easy way to buy things from individuals online at a variety of sites (and to get paid online if you become a merchant). It allows you to pay using your credit card, bank account, buyer credit or account balances, without sharing your financial information. When you buy items using PayPayl you're also covered by the eBay Buyer Protection Policy.

2. RedFlagDeals.com - You can't actually buy anything on this site, but you shouldn't buy anything  - ever - before checking this site first. It's an amazing bargain-hunting community that monitors in-store and online sales and offers and "raises the red flag" to you.

Why I love it:

  • I hear about every sale and coupon and special offer and every store I care about - like 40% off at Banana Republic or an additional 20% off at the Bay. RedFlagDeals.com reports it! (And, by the way, I'll start posting the best ones in my blog too!)
  • The Scarlett Lounge is a section of the site that focuses specifcally on girly stuff like fashion and beauty and lifestyle products and stores. 
  • The Grocery Roundup sums up the best weekly deals from all the grocery store flyers in every major Canadian city. A must for all us guys and gals on-the-go!

Best tip:
Sign up for the RedFlagDeals.com bargains newsletter to get all the sales and coupon alerts sent directly to your inbox!

3. Etsy.com - It's the ultimate international craft fair featuring handmade items - like art prints, gifts, jewelery, furniture and more - from sellers in over 450 countries around the world.

Why I love it:

  • The Etsy.com vintage jewelry section! I find beautiful pieces all the time for low, low prices.
  • Art - I thought I couldn't afford original art until I discovered etsy.com. You get original work from artists around the world and prints for even cheaper! It's a decorator's dream.
  • You can get custom items made for yourself or as gifts by contacting sellers directly, like custom greetings cards and this custom family tree.

Best tip:
You can search Etsy.com by color to find items to match your home, baby shower theme. etc.

Read my Web Wonder Woman blog today to find out some more of my favorite Etsy sellers and stores.

4. Amazon.ca (Canada) and Amazon.com -
For books, music, electronics and more you MUST shop Amazon because you will automatically save. Here's the "no retail operations cost" thing in play. Go to a bookstore, browse, have coffee, enjoy... but purchase online. It just makes financial sense. Same goes for CDs, DVDs the kids' (and lets face it - the husbands') video games. It just makes financial sense!

Why I love it:

  • The savings - I often save 50% on the retail price of books I buy, like Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, which I had on the show today, and purchased for $18.47 CDN instead of $36.95. And when you buy as many books as I do, you need to get a deal.
  • You can preview the music tracks on an album, which is one of my favorite features because it's much easier and faster than trying to preview a CD in a store. 
  • The fast and easy shipping - I do 85% of my gift-buying through Amazon because things arrive so quickly (and I'm always in a rush!).

Best tip:
Compound your purchases so that qualify for their Free Super Saver Shipping on orders over $39.

5. Overstock.com - a site that opens with the question "What would you like to save on today" is my kind of site. Overstock.com has a wide variety of high-quality, brand-name merchandise at discount prices, including bedding, home decor, appliances, clothing and more. It's an outlet mall lover's dream come true.

Why I love it:

  • Instead of driving to my favorite outlet malls a few times a year, I can shop the site whenever I want!
  • The bedding and bath selection is really fantastic. When you're decorating you want options, and they've got more than you could hope for and you don't have to run to a zillion stores to find everything. 

Best tip:
Use their great search categories to sort through all the stock and find what you're looking for. In sheets, for example, you can narrow your search by size, price, brand, material, color, even threadcount!

Quick Online Shopping Tips

  • Compare prices: driving around town from store to store to compare prices is SO last millennium. When shopping online it's so easy to go from site to site to compare prices on the item you're looking for. 
  • Always try to get a deal on shipping and handling
  • Read the fine print posted by individual sellers on sites like eBay and Etsy, and even when checking out at other major retail sites - you want to try to get the best deal on shipping and not get looped into any extras that you don't need.
  • Bargain when you can with individual sellers on sites like eBay and Etsy... like if you want to buy 2 or 3 items instead of one, perhaps you can get a deal or save on shipping and handling.
  • Beware of sites and deals that are too good to be true! They usually are. Stick with the major mainstream sites, like the ones I've listed here, and use PayPal when dealing with individuals on sites like eBay and Etsy.

There you have it! Happy shopping!


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