Online Shopping Guide: Find Brand Names, Craft Ideas, Product Comparisons and More
Whether you shop out of necessity or because you enjoy it, you can probably do it better with our Online Shopping Web Guide. Find a pair of shoes exactly like the ones your favorite celebrity was wearing, locate one-of-a-kind craft items or bid on that baseball card you never got as a kid, all from the comfort of your home. The Web is fully stocked with brand-name retail shops, price- and product-comparison sites, and discounters that can save you money. Before you decide to brave the crowds at the mall, read the findingDulcinea Online Shopping Web Guide and let the Internet do the legwork for you.
Once you’ve mastered the technology, putting items in your virtual shopping cart is a lot easier than pushing one around the store. If you’re new to the practice, the guidelines below will ensure you master the steps to safe online shopping. Even old hats can buff up on Internet security.
For an overview of online shopping …
’s “How to Shop Online” takes you step by step through the process of online shopping and shows you how to find products, compare prices and navigate a shopping cart system. It’s a great place to start if you’re new to shopping online.
To evaluate a site’s validity …
The Better Business Bureau
published an article, “Shopping Safely Online,” that details ways you can verify the validity of a site or offer, and provides warning signs for scams.
For safety tips …
is a site created by the American Bar Association that teaches you secure practices for shopping online and providing your credit card information. The menu breaks down the elements of online shopping into helpful categories.
has quick tips on how to avoid Internet scams and identity theft, and how to safely navigate online auctions. Also find information on how to file an Internet-related complaint.
For help with dispute resolution ...
provides links to e-commerce safety resources in many languages and its section on dispute resolution can help you if you feel you've been cheated or mislead in some way. With easy-to-read tips on shopping safely online, this site is worth a look before making an online purchase.
For online auction safety ...
provides an extensive checklist of things to do to avoid getting burned by auction fraudsters.
When you shop online, you can often locate the item you want and the store that sells it within seconds. If you have a few more seconds, you can compare prices. The following online shopping guide sites help you search the Internet for the stuff you want and save you the trouble of trips to the store. If you still want to shop in stores, there are sites that locate the products you need at stores nearby.
For help shopping in stores …
searches for items in stores in your city or zip code. Find out if your local stores have the item in stock. You won’t find results for your neighborhood shops here, but you’ll find out what larger retail chains have and how much they charge.
To search for a product …
searches more than 500,000 stores on the Web and delivers a comprehensive, unbiased list of products with large photos so you can see exactly what you’re shopping for. Some listed prices are inaccurate, but the ease of use makes up for a few minor kinks. The site also lists local stores that carry the product you’re looking for and tells whether they have the item in stock.
scours the Web for deals. It searches thousands of sites selling both new and used items to present you with the very broadest selection. It also suggests how to improve your search terms and monitors trends in an item’s price to help you decide when to buy and from which store. Look for coupons, rebates and promotion codes to ensure you get the best deals available.
For sites that have best-of lists …
has a guide to online shopping that compiles the favorite shopping Web sites of some popular shopping bloggers. Stores are neatly divided by type of product, so you can easily scroll through and find what you’re looking for. When you’re done with Part One, visit Part Two
’s “Luxe Shopping” breaks online stores into easily navigable categories. Products range from actual luxury items like planes, cars and fancy cigars to books and everyday clothing. Select an area of interest and get a list of the top online purveyors. The directory is compiled by Forbes writers who vouch for the quality of sites and products.
is a useful service once you’ve realized you can find everything you need online. Use this site to go paperless by selecting all paper catalogs you no longer wish to receive in the mail. The company will contact the catalog companies for you and take care of the cancellation process.
can help you find the clothing and accessories that celebrities are wearing. This site looks inside Web images to find items by appearance. Search for an item by keyword, or select an image and Like.com finds items with a similar color, style or feature.
At online auctions (like eBay.com), buyers bid and win items or, in some cases, can choose to purchase at the “buy it now” price. Online classifieds (like craigslist) function the same way as the classifieds in the local paper. Online auctions and classifieds are great ways to get inexpensive, used or rare items, but both have limited selections.
- Avoid shipping costs by shopping via online classifieds in your area and picking up your purchase from a local seller.
- Online classifieds and auctions require a lot of browsing time and need to be checked often for new listings. For greater ease and peace of mind, sign up for e-mail updates that let you know about new items or that tell you if you’re losing an auction. Or download widgets that will keep you posted on auction status (for example, the eBay Auction Countdown Timer).
- If you’re interested in selling your own products using online auctions or classifieds, learn the basics or refine your current techniques in the findingDulcinea Selling Web Guide.
For online auctions …
is an easier way to shop the listings on eBay. It searches eBay auctions for you but has cleaner pages than eBay, weeds out junk listings (things like scams and product accessories, for example), and searches for typos in seller listings. Gumshoo sorts results by the auction that is ending soonest. It also alerts you to any suspicious listings or sellers.
offers brand-name items at wholesale prices. Especially helpful for new online shoppers, the site features a short tutorial that shows you how to browse online auctions, search for items and place a bid.
For online classifieds …
browses local newspapers and Web sites for classified ads by keyword. The site includes typical classified sources (the papers) and a few Internet-only sources. Sort results by date to get the most relevant deals, or sign up for Oodle Alerts to be notified immediately when your item is available.
is organized by geographic area and lists all kinds of used items for sale (or occasionally, barter) as well as apartments for rent, job listings, ride share, personal ads and almost anything else.
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