It seems incredible that the year is more than half over already, but with summer temperatures fading fast and the kids back in school, the holidays are only a hop, skip, and jump away at this point. And that means it’s time for savvy shoppers to begin their tentative foray into the holiday shopping fray. If you’ve battled your way through the maddening crowd to get the hottest holiday finds before, you’re probably not looking forward to standing in long lines on Black Friday and fighting tooth-and-nail to snatch that coveted toy off the store shelf before someone else. So you’ll be happy to hear that online shopping helps you find everything you want for the holidays without having to deal with the hustle and bustle of real-world retail. But in order to get the best deals and find the perfect holiday gifts for everyone on your list, you need to know some basics, especially if you’re relatively new to online holiday shopping.
The first thing you might want to do is look for pre-order options. Whether you’re waiting for the hottest toys, the latest gadgets, or media that won’t be released until closer to the holidays, many websites offer pre-order options that mean you’ll get your items in time for the holidays with no muss or fuss. Amazon is a good bet since they offer both reminders and pre-order options for many items if you have an account with them.
Unfortunately, not every product you’re interested in is going to come with an option to pre-order so that you can get in on the first available shipment. In this case, you’ll probably want to wait for holiday sales to spring up. This panoply of rampant consumerism usually starts with Cyber Monday, although many businesses are now offering the same Black Friday deals online that are available in stores the day after Thanksgiving. In preparation, you should make a list of what you want and find ecommerce sites that offer the items you’re looking for.
Then sign up for membership with preferred sites so that you can get early notification of whatever discounts or deals they’re offering, as well as preferential treatment in some cases. If you enter all relevant information into your account, you can even streamline the ordering process to ensure that the sites don’t sell out before you complete your order.
Of course, smart holiday shopping isn’t just about finding the best online shopping deals. You also need to make sure that you behave in a safe and responsible manner, protecting yourself from identity theft while making online purchases. Whether you’re shopping at Amazon, Etsy, or Buy Sell Make Offer, Inc. you need to take steps to safeguard your personal information. So make sure your antivirus software is current, look for the padlock that identifies security when placing orders, and think about creating a PayPal account in preparation for online holiday shopping since this payment option offers an extra layer of protection.