In a few more days, Black Friday will be here, and if you plan on braving the crowds, that means getting up early (or staying up late) and making a mad dash for the electronics section among a frenzy of shoppers with no qualms about pushing, shoving, and trampling anyone who gets in their way. But should your reach your destination unscathed, you may find that the deals are nothing to get excited over considering stores have already had to mark prices down in the current economic climate, or that quantities are so low that if you're not near the front of the line donning a pair of running shoes, you're going to miss out.
CNNMoney.com reveals that in some cases, stores may stock as little as 3 units of those enticing low-priced electronics advertised in your local flier. Sale items could also be "derivatives" of the real deal, such as a large screen HDTV with lower image quality or a less desirable image contrast.
"It's a sleazy practice," said Craig Johnson, retailing expert and president of retail consulting group Customer Growth Partners. "I am old school. If a retailer is advertising a juicy deal and they are not prepared to have in sufficient quantity, don't advertise it. Or give consumers a raincheck."
Starting your holiday shopping? Stuff your stockings with some Maximum PC goodness! We're pleased to announce the launch of Future US techmart, a online store for Maximum PC and Mac|Life related products. Here, you'll find copies of our newest special issues -- handbooks and guides to building and optimizing your PC. Check it out!
With Firefox extensions, most users want to avoid adding more bulk to their toolbar and prefer browsing the Internet in a minimalist manner. However, for the frugal bargain hunter, Pricetrace.com makes the clutter worth it with a nifty Firefox add-on that helps users find the best shopping deals online. Simply install the toolbar, and use it to search for the best deal on any specific product that is readily sold at online retailers. You can also choose to have your search query displayed in the status bar at the bottom of the browser window.
Ever imagined a world where 6-foot Care Bears roam the streets going door-to-door begging for sweet treats while you're trying to watch the Phillies take a 2-to-1 lead over the Yankees in the World Series? That may be the scene tomorrow, based on the most popular online Halloween costume searches, according to frightening data put together by Hitwise.
You're also likely to see Michael Jackson and Balloon Boy getups, which held the No. 1 and No. 2 spots. But of the searches beginning with the word 'adult, 'adult Care Bear costume' came in third, right behind 'adult cat costume' (No. 1) and 'adult Snow White costume' (No. 2).
You're also likely to run into more themed pets than ever before. Compared to 2008, Hitwise noted a 97 percent increase in searches for "pet costumes." Better toss some Milk Bones in with those fun-sized Snicker bars.
Forget about entering in your username, password, shipping address, and payment details when checking out. That's so 2008! Going forward, you'll be able to part with your paycheck much quicker, assuming you shop at Amazon or any of the handful of other sites jumping on the Amazon PayPhrase bandwagon.
How's it work? You start by picking a phrase with at least two words and up to 100 characters in length, such as "Slam Dunk" or "Jake's Allowance," along with a PIN. Once you claim your unique PayPhrase, it will be tied to your Amazon account, including your billing info and shipping address. You'll enter this when it comes time to check out, and that's all there is to it.
"PayPhrase solves the headache of trying to keep track of all the different usernames and passwords people use to shop on various sites across the Web. With PayPhrase all you need is one phrase and one PIN to pay online," said Matt Williams, General Manager of Amazon PayPhrase.
Every PayPhrase is unique, so if this were to catch on, expect a rush to claim popular word duos. And for parents, you can set up spending limits and monitor your kids' purchases, as well as approve or decline each order by way of email or text alerts.
A handful of sites have signed up to use Amazon PayPhrase so far, including DKNY, Jockey, Patagonia, Buy.com, J&R, and CarToys.com.
Yahoo on Monday launched what it claims is the first website to provide daily deals, online coupons, grocery coupons, local coupons, store circulars, and exclusive deals all in one place. Dubbed 'Yahoo! Deals," the new portal also integrates social and community features, as well as videos offering tips on how to save money.
"Frugality is the new 'cool,'" said Greg Hintz, head of Yahoo! Shopping. "We now know that couponing and bargain hunting are losing their stigma and are now a regular habit for many people. Our goal at Yahoo! is to be the center of people's online lives and we're making Yahoo! the easiest place for consumers to find and manage the coupons and deals that are relevant to their lives."
Some of the features on Yahoo! Deals include a gas finder module that helps users find the cheapest gas by zip code, improved search functions to help users find deals from across the site, offers for local chain and neighborhood restaurants, retailers, and service providers provided by Valpak, and exclusive deals from partners like TechBargains.com, LogicBUY, CouponAlbum, and others.
To kick off the new site, Yahoo will be giving away to $20,000 as part of its Purple Piggy Bank Giveaway. The contest will be open through September 7, 2009.
According to a new report, shoppers continue to hop online at an increasing rate and are poised to spend $33.4 billion in 2009. If that number holds up, it will represent a 13.3 percent hike in online shopping compared to 2008. In 2010, the report says online shoppers will spend even more, reaching as high as $49.8 billion.
VerdictResearch, the company who put together the UK e-Retail 2009 report, notes cheaper prices and easier bargain hunting as reasons for the rise, in addition to a greater availability of free shipping offers.
"Those with less money to spend are turning to the Internet to search out bargains on the branded items like electricals," said Malcom Pinkerton, author of the report.
While the sales numbers are up, the report notes that the number of shoppers has not risen at the same rate as in previous years and was "considerably less" in 2008 than in 2007.
Given that the economy is down in the dumps, it would be expected that online retailers are treating all of their customers with all the respect that they possibly can… right? Wrong. According to an annual report from Forsee Results more than one-third of the 40 online venues surveyed in a report on retail satisfaction finished with lower scores than they did at this very same time last year.
While many of the retailers’ scores remained the same, a meager one-quarter of them saw an improvement. At the top of the list is Washington’s own Amazon.com, with an 84 percent satisfaction rate, a two percent improvement over last year. All the way at the bottom is Neiman Marcus with a dismal 69 percent. Other notables are Newegg.com’s 78 percent, BestBuy.com’s 73 percent and Dell.com’s 73 percent.
While these percentiles might not give off the impression of poor performance, bear in mind the millions upon millions of people doing business with these companies online during the holiday season. Having a good 30 percent of the people that do business with you walk away unhappy is a very large number indeed.
For many geeks, Newegg has become the de facto standard for shopping online for computer parts, and those of us living in the U.S. have had to endure the moans and groans from our brethren north of the border lamenting having to order PC peripherals elsewhere. Those cries will soon end as Newegg readies its Canadian website.
Having established itself as the "second-largest online-only retailer in the U.S.," Newegg will look to duplicate its success up north taking on the likes of NCIX.com and TigerDirect.ca, but the company isn't saying whether it plans to open warehouses in Canada or will simply ship across the border. Nor is it known exactly when Newegg.ca will officially open for business, only that it will take place sometime in 2008, and presumably sooner rather than later. In the meantime, when not chewing on delicious bacon or awaiting free health care, Canadians are encouraged to sign up for Newegg Canada's newsletter to "be the first to know about pre-launch sweepstakes, giveaways, and events."