Shopping Online For The Holiday Season: The 2014 GTG Edition

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Photo Design: salvatorejcs from Fiverr.Com

‘Tis the season for pretty much everything. Partying, Eating, Celebrating and best of all Shopping!

The first three events are cause for celebration and good will.

But the shopping thing? Mmmm not so much at times.

We love to shop for ourselves – that’s a given. But what about everyone else on your list? And where can you get the best bang for your buck?

Below, you will find my favourite places to shop online – in terms of ease, pricing, availability, customer service and delivery.

APPLE.COM

We can’t have an online shopping guide and not acknowledge my favorite geeky place in the world, Apple.Com.

And, of course, you all know that the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the iPad Air 2 and Retina Mini 2s, the gorgeous new Retina iMac and Retina Mac Pro are ready to be snapped up by Holiday consumers.

However, did you know that Apple makes gorgeous Photo Gifts including Photo Books, Calendars, Posters, Prints and Greeting Cards? I have personally designed and ordered Photo Books and Calendars and the quality was first class all the way.

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The hardcover Photo Book is particularly gorgeous – not only is your cover photo included on the book jacket, but also it is embedded to the hardcover at the front of the book.

And the layout of the book can be as simple as a photo or two per page or you can spend a little more time and create a wonderful story relating to your photo events.

Also, the Photo Calendar allows you to add special events and pictures to certain dates related to birthdays, anniversaries, graduations etc. What a special touch! Apple really thinks of everything.

With tons of templates from which to choose, you will never have a problem when selecting design for a specific photo gift. All can be accessed via iPhoto on the Mac.

Download iPhoto For Mac here: and, if you wish to purchase other Apple Products, download the Apple Store iOS iPhone App here: or the iPad App here:

And do not forget to download The Apple Store App for iPhone and iPad

BEYONDTHERACK.COM

This is a fabulous site. Great deals, enormous selection for everyone and everything in your life!

Basically, when you see a product, you add it to your cart at which time you have a 20-minute window to purchase this item before it is removed from your cart for future customers.

And, if for some reason, your shopping spree is disrupted and your item has not been sold, you will receive email reminders alerting you to the availability of your item(s).

And, returns can be made within one year from when you purchased an item. A year! That is pretty cool, isn’t it? And immediate cancellations are honoured before a product has been shipped.

The only Con with this site is that you cannot search within categories for specific brands or items. Therefore, you have to scroll through all the products and pray that the item you desire will come up first.

However, you can browse at your leisure while watching TV or waiting for your laundry to reach the end of its drying cycle, so it is better than staring at the walls, isn’t it? Unless that TV show is really good!

You can download the BTR iPhone App here: and the BTR iPad App here:

ZULILY.COM

I first came upon Zulily.Com while doing a frantic search for an online presence dedicated to creative and fun clothing for children – and at great prices.

So, every morning, I would log on and immerse myself in the great selection and creative products offered by retailers connected to Zulily’s E-Commerce site.

The featured stores are rotated on a daily basis; however, you can easily search for products or brands you may have missed or wish to recall.

Also, if you can’t quite make up your mind, you can add the product to your shopping cart and adopt the “save for later” function. This way, your favourite products or brands are in your Zulily closet for future purchases.

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Over the last few years, Zulily has expanded exponentially to include products for the home, toys, books, health and beauty, clothing, holiday decor and/or footwear for men or women.

The only CON here is that there are absolutely no returns. However, to counterbalance this policy, Zulily has rewarded given me $ credits when a product I ordered is no longer available . Very, very good customer service.

Be careful though. Zulily is very addictive.

You can download the Zulily iPhone App here: and the Zulily iPad App here:

AMAZON.COM
From a modest little book store, Amazon has emerged as an online department store giant over the years. Amazon now sells everything – from Groceries to Electronics to Clothing to Toys! Everything imaginable!

And, of course, they have their streaming service for music and movies plus their cloud storage services. The latter has expanded exponentially to include all your photos and videos at a very competitive price.

Also, if you sign up for Amazon Prime at $99.00 a year, your order will be delivered in two days. I tried the free trial for Amazon Prime and delivers big time – literally and figuratively.

In the last couple of years, I have started to utilize Amazon on a regular basis, if only to get some feedback via customer reviews. Of all the sites out there, Amazon customers are the most vocal about their purchases. Many are Verified Reviewers, meaning they have been designated by Amazon as consistent and credible in their detailed reviews of many products sold on their site.

Also, most often than not, if I cannot find a product on other shopping sites, I do find the product on Amazon. And the processing time is expedient, yet you can still cancel before the processing of your shipment begins.

And usually the pricing is cheaper or at least competitive with other retailers. It is a balancing act – do you want the product quickly and pay a little more or do you wait for the same product to come back in stock for a cheaper price elsewhere on the Internet? Usually, I go for the former, especially when the difference in price is negligible.

Overall, Amazon is well-stocked and can replenish stock quickly. They never disappoint and their Return Policy is immediate. Yes, I said immediate. They have the best return/exchange policy on the planet and it can be initiated online before the package is delivered back to their warehouse.

You can download the Amazon iPhone App here: or the iPad App here:

EBATES.COM

Do you want to make money while you shop? Well, head on over to Ebates.Com, register and then check out the vast array of stores associated with their rewards program.

I have made some good bucks on this site. I have been lucky to receive up to 20% cash back via Ebates.

For instance, hotel/travel accommodations can be a bit pricey at times but, if your favourite hotel is offering a high percentage of cash back, then it suddenly becomes more affordable.

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And, given the nature of this very busy holiday season, expect to see some great deals on Ebates. It will make your spending guilt-free – knowing you are making money by spending money. Hey, whatever works, right?

This site also has special coupon codes for hundreds of stores – the pickings are ripe and plentiful.

Add Your Own Own Shopping Suggestions And Tips In The Comments Section.

Of course, many other retailers have designed their own websites and we all have our favourites. Here in Canada, I hang out at Roots.Com, Gap.Com, Indigo/Chapters, Starbucks.Com, to name a few.

And, if you have not yet done so, make sure you sign up for their newsletters so you can receive immediate discounts and news about their future sales, oftentimes before the sales become public. This really pays off in great savings and you will have an email to remind you as soon as sales become available.

So, this is not a definitive list – you must have your favourites as well. So, I welcome you to add links to online resources that offer, great products, good deals and/or great customer service.

This site was created so we can all learn from each other, so please contribute your ideas and thoughts in the Comments Section.

Happy Shopping everyone!

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Posted on November 6, 2014, in Shopping and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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