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The official start of the holiday shopping season is just days away with Black Friday and we figured we’d highlight some tips and tricks for shopping online, as well as of the favorite online shopping web sites around the office.

How Exactly Did Black Friday Begin?

According to Wikipedia:

The term “Black Friday” originated in Philadelphia in reference to the heavy traffic on that day. More recently, merchants and the media have used it instead to refer to the beginning of the period in which retailers are in the black (i.e., turning a profit).

Without further ado, here’s a few Wpromoters’ online shopping tips & tricks and favorite web sites to buy from:

Online Shopping Tips:

Price Check – Utilize ebay, Amazon & Craigslist to your advantage to see what the market price for new and used items is.  When checking prices online, you should always factor in tax and shipping.

Read Reviews Before Buying! – Check CNet.com – For anything electronics and read the reviews on CNet before purchasing a product.

Search For Coupons – Many online stores now offer coupon code discounts for discounted prices, free shipping or other perks.   Perform a quick search on Google and you may just save yourself some money.  Common search terms are “vendor name coupon,” “vendor name coupon code,” “vendor name promo code,” “vendor name discount.”

Secured Shopping Cart – If you are using your credit card to purchase a product, protect yourself and make sure that the web site is secured with SSL (you’ll notice a lock icon at the bottom of your browser).  If the web site does not offer SSL, consider paying for the order with PayPal, Google Checkout, or walking away.

Walk Away – If the deal seems too good to be true, odds are it probably is.  Be cautious of web sites that you have never ordered from that offer extremely good deals.  A way to check if others have been duped by this site is to do a search on Google for “vendor name scam” or “vendor name review.”  There are many fake storefronts out there, so beware!

Online Shopping Web Sites

Electronics

NewEgg.com – NewEgg offers almost everything computer related.  As a California based retailer, they ship fast to our office, which is a huge plus.  NewEgg also has customer reviews for every product, so you can see what others are saying about a product before you buy.
PCConnection.com – Similar to NewEgg.   Great prices, customer reviews and deals of the day for everything computer related.

Clothes & Accessories

ShopItToMe.com – ShopItToMe keeps you updated on sales across your favorite apparel brands.  They’ll scan through web sites and email to you (on a daily or weekly basis) a summary of the major sales happening.
Threadless.com – Quality & unique t-shirts at affordable prices.  Threadless is powered off of a community of designers where the best designs get printed in limited runs.  Find a t-shirt you like?  You better order it soon before it runs out!
BlueFly.com – Fashionable products.  Everything from womens and mens apparel to home decor.
JoesNewBalanceOutlet.com & RoadRunnerSports.com – For all the sports apparel and shoes you need, check out these two retailers.  They offer some of the most competitive prices online for new and discontinued styles and currently offer coupon savings during the holiday season.
Zappos.com – You can’t go wrong with Zappos.  Hundreds of brands, and almost ever size and style of footwear available at very competitive prices.  And even better, they offer free shipping both ways and a 365 day return policy.
PremiumLacesNY.com – The premier site for any sneaker head.  Nike Dunks, Airforce 1s, and new arrivals.  They also offer free UPS Ground Shipping.
Sephora.com – Skincare, hair, makeup and more.  Sephora currently offers free shipping on all orders over $50.
Mangoshop.com – Designer clothing, new trends, and even an online outet!

Home

CSNStores.com – CSNStores sells just about everything.  They have a great setup with individual stores that sells all kinds of things.  Besides their easy to use interface, they also generally offer free shipping and installation on furniture.

Comparison Shopping

ExtraBux.com – ExtraBux is a comparison shopping engine, similar to FatWallet & SlickDeals.  What we like most about them is the ease of use and the higher cash back rewards they offer.

And lastly, the ultimate resources for Black Friday Deals:

http://www.bfads.net
http://www.blackfriday.info

Happy Shopping Everyone!

photo credit mbremer57

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