Here we go again, holiday sales are back in all regions. So, before even starting the hunt, it is better to make sure of the reliability of the shop where you intend to shop. Large chains and single-brand boutiques are usually very safe, given that the prices set and the goods to be put on sale are the same in every location, and therefore there are not too many risks.
Between discounts, promotions, deals coupons and the many products on offer, the risk of hitting a wrong purchase or, worse, some scam, is very high. So how do you best prepare for this event? Here are our tips for safe online shopping.
Guide For Making The Most Of Holiday Sales – Holiday Shopping Tips
We will give you a series of holiday shopping tips that will allow you to face the holiday sales with the right preparation and that will make you avoid unnecessary expenses.
1. Decide in advance what you want to buy
It seems obvious advice, but it is not. Since there will be so many products on offer during Holiday Sales that will grab your attention and entice you, don’t make the mistake of buying things you don’t need. Focus on what you need. Knowing in advance the articles you want you will not waste time in useless searches that will make you spend hours in front of your PC monitor. Another advantage will be to buy immediately what you have budgeted without the risk of missing the opportunity.
2. Use the “Wishlist”
This is a point that will help you to realize the first advice. By drawing up a “Wishlist” you will always have in mind which products to focus on, avoiding diverting attention to items you do not need or forgetting, given the many offers, what you need.
3. Read up before purchasing
To purchase with full knowledge of the facts, it is necessary to read up carefully. Read the reviews online, find out which are the best products on the market and study the characteristics. This is a piece of advice we give to anyone who plans to take advantage of the holiday sale to make more expensive purchases.
4. Watch the prices before “Holiday Sale”
We know very well that discounts are coveted by everyone and often lead the hastiest consumers to buy without being aware of the savings percentage. Given that it is believed that it is a habit of retailers to raise prices to give the impression of applying strong discounts, we advise you to keep an eye, even two weeks before the sale starts, the cost of the items you intend to buy to be aware of how much you will save and if you really will. This way you can realistically evaluate the validity of the offer.
5. Don’t be fooled by the discount
As previously mentioned, during the holiday sale the discounts applied on the products can even reach 50-70%. When faced with these percentages it is important to assess whether the reduction is applied to the product’s list price, generally higher, or to the recommended price for sale. Most of the times the discount percentage is applied to the price imposed by the price list and not to the “market” cost.
6. Check for price fluctuations
Using sites like CamelCamelCamel you can check how the price of a particular product has changed over time. Just enter the link of the product you intend to buy, or even simply the name, within these portals to have a graph that will show you the price trend of that item. In this way you can evaluate if the discount applied on the item of your interest is really convenient.
7. Use a price comparator
There are many ecommerce and marketplaces participating in holiday sales and everyone can apply higher or lower discounts on certain products. To make sure you are buying a product at the lowest price available at that time, you can use price comparators. These are sites that allow you to compare the prices offered by the different stores on the same product.
8. Shop on reputable sites
It is never trivial to say it: it is important that, for our online purchases, we rely on safe and reliable stores. This does not mean that we must only buy on the ecommerce of large commercial chains such as Flipkart, Myntra or Amazon but we can also buy on more niche sites as long as they guarantee security. To understand if a store is really reliable, we can, first of all, check that all the information necessary to identify the site is present – telephone numbers, addresses, VAT number – and check the reputation it enjoys on the web.
9. Beware of the seller
When buying on marketplaces where products are offered for sale by third-party sellers, checking their reliability is certainly a good way to avoid running into scams. To get a clearer idea and dispel any doubts, you can use the feedback left by other users who, before you, have done business with the same seller.
10. Check the payment methods
Safe and reliable sites and stores make available different payment methods that the user can choose from. Our advice is to always pay via PayPal or using prepaid or rechargeable cards. In any case, it is always better to avoid bank transfers or purchases that require the user to upload the amount of the product to the seller’s cards or online accounts.
11. Establish the budget
One of the main sources of holiday-related stress is the need to make ends meet. If your budget is tight, decide how much you can afford to spend on gifts, not forgetting that meals and extras, such as transportation and entertainment, are also included in the holiday outings. To respect the constraints you have established, make purchases in cash. As numerous studies have shown, using a credit card makes you spend more freely and this is even more true when you are in situations of anxiety (typical of holiday shopping) that stimulate impulse purchases. An extra help to stick to the budget comes from the apps that keep track of expenses, in which you can insert a list dedicated to gifts with those already purchased and those to do, to get the budget updated in real time.
12. Shop strategically
Starting to think about the holidays in time has the advantage of making the gifts more thoughtful and original. As well as cheaper. Buy the item you think is perfect for a given person right away, when you see it. And set it aside. When the holiday season is less than a month away, plan your time instead: set days and times for shopping and, if you can, avoid going from one store to another waiting for inspiration, but consider making multiple purchases. The same gift, in fact, can go to different recipients who do not know each other and this automatically shortens your shopping list. Similarly, if you happen to, buy some extras, such as a box of chocolates or a box of tea, will come in handy in case you have forgotten someone or an acquaintance shows up with an unexpected gift. If, on the other hand, you shop online, start months earlier and absolutely do not wait beyond the first week of December to avoid the risk of having the gift delivered late or having higher shipping costs.
13. Find relevant discount coupons
With online coupons, also known as promo codes, you can save a lot of money when shopping online. There are many websites strictly dedicated to providing coupon codes for users. One of the most popular, Khojdeal, offers more than 500,000 coupons from 50,000 points of sale. While this sounds overwhelming, you just have to search for the retailer or brand that interests you the most. Many stores offer special coupons through their social media platforms. Some stores deliver coupons online through social media as a means of retention of followers; others request to register to obtain the discounts via email.
Holiday shopping tips to put into practice to avoid making mistakes with your purchases:
1. Do not let yourself be influenced too much by the past season: you would end up buying pieces that are too period-related (and therefore overexposed), which would already seem outdated.
2. Plan your buying strategy in advance. Here it is not a question of being carried away by instinct, but of already knowing what to bet on, after having checked what you really miss at home. Otherwise, you will end up buying superfluous pieces that you may already have in your closet or that you would never wear.
3. Before buying, take a “discovery” tour. Knowing in advance where the pieces you are targeting are placed can save you valuable time. As well as compare prices and discounts between the various stores.
4. With the big brands, concentrate on the “commercial” collections, leaving (relatively) aside those of the runway: this is where the timeless garments are found, those that are not designed only in the light of the season.
5. Keep an eye on the season. Unfortunately, it may happen that some stores, less honest than the others, try to sell old goods as if they were of the period: accept it only if the discount is adequate.
6. A universal rule, which also applies during the sales: only buy the pieces in the right size. A pair of boots that are too tight or a suit that falls badly are never good deals, no matter how high the discount is: they would end up relegated to the back of the closet.
7. If you really can’t resist the call of the must-have piece of the season, then take it as an investment over time: in a few years it will become a remarkable vintage treasure.
8. An excellent source of ideas are the collections for the coming season: study them online from there you can understand what will be in fashion in the coming months, and choose accordingly.
9. In these cases it is essential, if you go “hunting” in a group, to choose who has the same rhythm as you. Otherwise, the risk is to waste time in long (and for you useless) waits.
10. If you want to take risks, wait for the last days of the sales (they last on average two months but the final date varies from region to region): many traders will lower their prices even more. Of course, so you may not find what you were looking for: weigh the pros and cons of such a move.
How to avoid holiday sale phishing and other online scams?
Among the scams that have claimed more victims last year and that are likely to return to vogue again this year are those based on phishing, in which scammers pretend to be companies and shops with unmissable discounts to steal the personal data of those who fall in the trap. Phishing is a type of scam that works particularly well online, thanks to dissemination channels such as social networks, email and instant messaging and to deception and data collection tools such as web pages designed to resemble those of the subjects that the scammers want to impersonate.
These deceptions are always carried out in a similar way, and with the approach of the holiday season they do not fail to mention the occasion to give themselves credibility. Specifically, scammers use social posts and private messages – including SMS, WhatsApp and email – to brag non-existent offers on attractive products. These days it may be that the scam makes the name of Amazon and other protagonists of ecommerce or large-scale distribution chains; in any case, the messages always end with an invitation to seize the fake opportunities by clicking or touching a link which then opens a web page designed to remember that of the subjects mentioned as protagonists. Within these pages you must enter login credentials or sensitive data for registration, but they end up with scammers who can use them for their purposes.
To avoid falling into this type of deception, the solution is simple, that is to suspect any such message in your mailbox or messaging app. For those who decide not to ignore these communications, the advice is to carefully check the address of the site to which you are taken and compare it with the same address of the company mentioned that appears if you enter it in a search engine.
The other holiday sale scams
The desire to buy coveted products at discounted prices is a powerful engine that can trap even the savviest consumers, which is why holiday sales are a great opportunity for any type of scammer. In general, it is better to be wary of sites that offer too high discounts, as well as ecommerce destinations that do not provide secure payment solutions such as PayPal and Google Pay or Apple Pay; in the case of unknown sites, it is better to use a prepaid card instead of a credit card, for which it is in any case a good idea to activate expense alerts via SMS and periodically check the charges.
Finally, it is important not to be blinded by haste or by advertisements that aim to instill this feeling, carefully read the conditions of sale of the goods and, especially during the payment phase, make sure that the information exchanged with the websites takes place safely, checking that in the address after the http string there is also an s before the colon, or the image of a closed padlock that certifies the presence of a secure connection.