Look For Online Shopping Deals After Christmas

Now that the holidays are just about over, the online shopping deals are going to be more prominent than ever. If you’ve been holding off on a particular gift (whether for a loved one or for yourself), now’s the time to go for it and you know what they say: Go big or go home! Here are a few gift ideas that you can surely find on one deal web site or the other.

A Game Console

Games consoles aren’t just for playing games these days. On many, including the Wii, X-Box 360 and PS3, you can play DVDs (Blu-Ray, in some cases) and CDs. You can also watch Netflix Instant Watch movies on your TV via the devices. Plus, to say the games you can play on these devices have evolved quite a bit is an understatement. For example, the Wii is about more than sitting back and playing whatever game you’ve popped in you can exercise and play sports on the Wii, play music, even dance.

An E-reader

E-readers have sort of been around for a while, but only over the past few years have they really burst onto the scene. Convenient and technologically vogue, they’re a logical next step in entertainment, especially for avid and fast readers who can’t carry around a variety of reading materials wherever they go. There’s a number of e-readers you can choose from, the most popular of which are Barnes and Noble’s Nook, Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad. (The latter is technically considered a tablet computer with e-reader features, and is better if you’re looking for a computer supplement.)

A Digital Camera

In a time when everyone wants to share everything with everyone else, a digital camera is something everyone should have. One with the option to record video is preferable, as strange things happen all the time who knows? You might find the next big Internet sensation.

Headphones

Not the cruddy $10 ones you can find in any convenience store down the corner good headphones, the kind that will last a few years without losing any of their luster.

Gift Card

A lot of people look down on gift cards, shrugging them off as the gift of the lazy. Gift cards, however, are often the best route. In a way, they’re extremely thoughtful, because they show you want the recipient to have what he or she really wants as opposed to something he or she might want. You can either get a card from the recipient’s favorite store, or get a credit gift card, which can be used at any store that accepts that particular kind of card.

Any of these gifts would surely make anyone happy, so check out those online shopping deals to see what kind of savings you can find!

Wedding Dress Dilemmas

According to a recent survey, the top wedding dress dilemmas include dresses not being sexy enough, brides feeling faint at the price tag, pushy and unhelpful mothers and too-short hemlines! We believe that there is a wedding dress for every bride – and there are ways to make your search a lot less stressful! Sometimes wedding dress shopping can be difficult and at times, overwhelming, but if you plan carefully, have a good idea of what you’re looking for, and most of all have an open mind, you should be able to avoid these common dilemmas.

In our experience, the top wedding dress dilemmas are:

Indecision: Brides who start wedding dress shopping without a clear idea of a) what dress style suit their body shape, or b) what they are looking for, often struggle at first. There’s also a problem when a bride ends up falling in love with more than one dress – which one to choose?! Be open to the suggestions of others, and learn when to let go if a beloved style just doesn’t suit your body shape. Usually our brides just know when they’ve found THE dress, but other times it can be more of a difficult decision – this is when the opinions of trusted friends and family can come in handy… but beware, as this leads us onto our next dilemma…

Too Many Opinions: Interestingly, many brides-to-be have the most problems with their mothers and mothers-in-law rather than the actual dress! Be aware of how much your taste may vary compared to your mum’s, or your bridesmaids’, and try to stay cool if no one can agree with each other! One way of avoiding this situation is to spend some time before you go shopping doing some research into dress styles with whoever you plan on taking with you – that way you’ll know if your opinions are going to differ wildly. Try to bring someone whose opinion you really trust, and listen to the bridal store staff; they have many years of experience and will give you an impartial view. Another approach is to visit bridalwear stores alone at first, and bring in your friends and family to help you choose when you’ve narrowed your choices down to just one or two. That way they have less leeway to make your life difficult!

Adrenaline/Feeling Overwhelmed: Treat your wedding dress expedition like an endurance event! Make sure you’re well rested, well fed, have drunk enough water and if you start to feel faint or woozy, sit down immediately. Sometimes the tightness of the dresses, the adrenaline of trying on something so special and general feeling of being overwhelmed by the situation can lead to low blood sugar and faintness. Look after yourself – unless you’re getting married tomorrow there’s no rush! Take your time to find the right dress and spread your shopping expeditions over several visits so you are able to fit in trying on as many dresses as possible.

Too Rigid Ideas: Unless you’re prepared (and can afford) to have your wedding dress made completely bespoke to your specific visions, you must be prepared to compromise slightly on your choice of dress. You may have a particular style in mind, but you have to allow for the possibility that certain dresses just won’t suit your body shape. Sometimes you have to let those ones go…. and find an even more fabulous wedding dress instead! It’s good to have clear ideas of what you’re looking for, but don’t prevent yourself from being pleasantly surprised by something that you never normally would have chosen.

How to Find the Best Deals Online – Comparison Shopping Sites, Product Reviews and More

Shopping online is a pleasure when you get what you want and with significant savings. Finding the best quality items for the lowest possible spend is a challenging task. By turning your focus on comparison shopping and taking out time to carefully assess the product reviews, you make sure that you get the best value for the money spent. Ask any avid online shopper and he/she will tell you the benefits of reading product or service reviews before you go hit the virtual stores!

In any shopping experience, online or when you walk into a physical store, one of the best approaches of arriving at a great bargain is of comparing different products and prices. Internet makes comparison shopping a breeze. Open an online shopping portal and begin your product search by identifying your choice of brands and comparing notes on the various product specs & prices. For instance, if you are looking to buy a good laptop, comparison sites can bring great deals and bargains within your reach. View the laptop images, specifications and dimensions, and arm yourself with all of the information you need for deciding on the one closest to your needs. Make sure you also check the online store’s warranties, return policies, service records and customer ratings.

Comparison shopping also helps you to use discount coupons wisely. One might think that the more shopping sites he refers for price comparison, the better results he gets. It is true to an extent but price comparison is certainly not the only idea behind comparison shopping. Reading product reviews from customers, who have already been using the product, also guide you in making the right choice. Blogs and forum posts have evolved as valuable sources of information. Read up forums and buying guides where you get the latest professional and consumer advice based on usage experience.

Useful tips that make you among the first to know about the best deals:

There are many ways of finding the best online deals. Since there are so many places from where a prospective buyer can know about the money saving deals, each one has his own way of staying up-to-date of the buzz.

Subscribe to merchant newsletters

Sign up for personal newsletters at your favourite online store and you will be informed periodically of the latest deals on offer at the store. Be the first one to know about the exclusive coupon codes, festive season discounts, freebies and the attractive contests.

Outlet Stores are also available online

Outlet stores often make available great money saving deals on your favourite products. You also find many of such stores online. It’s a good idea to visit them frequently if you wish to lay hands on otherwise expensive products at unbelievable discounts. Keep in mind to act fast when you find a good deal because such stores usually stock limited quantities which could run out if you delay.

Join Deal Forums – Express, Suggest and Exchange Ideas!

Connect with the members of shopping blogs and forums and you will know of the latest online deals. Look for the best deals posted by the members in the forums and purchase the items at discounted prices.

Special Deal Search Engines

Search for deals in specific search engines. A bargain site is a place where members post internet links to great products. You can easily grab the best deals for yourself through these specific search engines. This way comparison shopping becomes as easy as the click of a button! Compare the price of your favourite product on different websites and find the same quality at a cheaper price. These sites are usually updated several times a day so it’s always worth going back to them.

Internet shopping is perfect when you know what you want. You’re sure to find some important advice that you can take along to your next online shopping trip. Remember each person has different likes and opinions, so try to first understand what is most important to you, and a simplified shopping experience will ensue.

Online Shopping a Common Scenario

Online Shopping

I will never, ever buy anything over the Internet! Have you ever said this? I have heard this statement from a number of people. The first question I ask them is; Why? When I ask them this question I get a range of answers but the most popular responses are: ‘I don’t know who I’m giving my information to, how can I trust them’, or ‘The internet is not secure enough’, or ‘There are thieves everywhere on the internet.’

Let go through a little scenario.

You take your family out for a nice supper at a local restaurant, and have an enjoyable meal. The waiter/waitress brings the bill, you check to make sure it right and then hand over your credit card, they walk away to process the transaction. The server brings you the bill and the slip, you sign the slip and hand it back, the server should check to make sure that your signature is correct and hands back your credit card. This sounds like a normal transaction that happens countless times everyday around the world.

Now let’s look at what really happened here. When you handed over your credit card to this individual you gave them a wealth of information whether you realize it or not. The server has now walked away with your card and an unscrupulous person might take advantage of this. The information available to them to copy at their leisure is your credit card account number, the expiration date, the security number on the back of the card and a copy of your signature. This is more than enough information for a thief to use to purchase goods on your card.

We don’t normally think about this because using our credit cards at the local restaurant or store is a normal part of life for most of us. We have a face and usually a name to the person that we are dealing with and that gives us a certain level of comfort, an perhaps instills a certain amount of trust in the individual and the business we are dealing with, but do we really know the person we are dealing with, in most cases probably not. So what we work on is the perception of trust.

Now this is a pessimistic scenario, most people are honest, and law abiding and the overall stats around credit theft in this manner is extremely low, so I don’t want to alarm anyone but instead wanted to use this example to make my point. Doing business over the internet can be no more risky than handing your credit card over to the complete stranger serving you in the restaurant.

So now let’s look to see what happens when you purchase goods on the Internet.

You surf to a site where you find something that you either really want or need. You go through the process to order the goods and come to the screen where the company is now asking you to enter your credit card number, this generally causes the customer to pause to contemplate whether or not taking the next step is the right thing to do. This is the right reaction, you are about to enter some sensitive information on a form where this information will be sent electronically over the internet to the company that you want to deal with. So to make you more comfortable in placing an order there are a few things that you should look out for.

Making your Shopping Experience Comfortable.

When dealing with the store down the street you know how to find them if there are any problems with the products you purchase. You have an address, a phone number and most likely the name of the person that you are dealing with, so if you have any problem you know where to go and who to talk to in order to get any issues resolved.

Since the business you are dealing with is online finding them shouldn’t be a problem, but the company should also provide other means of contacting them in case you have a problem with the product.

Check to see if they offer a phone number and hours of business. If you are at all uncomfortable with dealing with a particular company, call them, you may find that a simple phone call will set your mind at ease. Suddenly you have a name and voice to go with the company.

Look for a physical address, a street address is always more viable than just a PO box. Either way this gives you another method of communicating with the company, and if your issue could lead to legal action sending a registered letter to the offending party can be very useful.

If you have questions about how a company operates, call them or send and e-mail. You’ll be able get a sense about a company, in the way they respond and how prompt they are at responding at customer requests. If they don’t respond in a professional manner then perhaps you shouldn’t deal with them, or if it takes them a long time to respond to your request then you would have to wonder if this is the same service you would receive after the sale.
Technical Queues to Look for.

There are also other technical queues to look for as well. You are going to be sending sensitive personal and financial information over the internet so you have to make sure that the company that you’re dealing with is looking after your interests as well.

Encryption:

The web page where you enter your personal and financial information should be protected by encryption. The form of encryption is called SSL (Secure Socket Layer) this is the industry standard for making secure transactions over the internet.

To verify that your information will be encrypted you should look for a visual clue that the web browser makers have built into the browser. For Internet Explorer users a small pad lock will appear at lower right hand corner of the browser window. If you see this you know that your information is being protected. For Firefox users a key will appear at the bottom right hand side of the screen to indicate that the information entered on the web page will be encrypted.

Depending on where you are in the world there are two commonly used levels for SSL encryption, 40-bit or 128-bit encryption, 128-bit being the stronger of the two types of encryption. In North America the two browsers mentioned offer 128-bit encryption.

The latest versions of the most popular web browsers, Internet Explorer and Firefox offer 128-bit encryption.
You can download the latest versions of these browsers from the following links.

Firefox:

http://www.getfirefox.com

Microsoft Internet Explorer:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/default.mspx

Most companies doing business online also present a logo for the company that they use to provide the encryption, you might see logos like these. Insert logos for thawte and verisign . To make you more comfortable investigate these companies, the two mentioned here in this article are very well known and reputable sources for SSL encryption.

The link tells a story too.

When you surf to a web page that you believe to be secure or feel that should be secure you can also look at the link a the top of the page. The first charactersof the URL (Universal Resource Locator) determine what kind of information will be displayed on the screen. For example a normal web page will start with http://, this tells the web browser to expect a web page.

When a web page is supposed to be encrypted the URL will start with https://, the additional ‘s’ tells the browser that the information collected and sent from the this web page will be encrypted.

So http: //www.mystore.com/buyhere.html is not an encrypted web page where https: //www.mystore.com/buyhere.html is encrypted. Just because the URL starts with https doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look for the visual clue at the bottom of your browser, look at them both.
Making Payments over the Internet.
When most people think of shopping online they assume that they will have to use their credit card to make purchases. This, in my experience, can make people very nervous, especially when dealing with a company that they are not familiar with.

There are a number of things that you can do to limit the risk even further when dealing with a company that you are not 100% familiar with.

So you don’t want to use your platinum credit card with the huge limit on it, because you don’t want to risk that much credit on an unfamiliar company. Your credit card vendor should be able to provide you with another card with a smaller limit, somewhere around the $500 to $1000 mark, something that you feel comfortable with. So even if by chance you run into someone who is out there to be malicious your risk has been reduced by not offering them a card number that will give them access to thousands of dollars.

Another increasingly popular way to make payments online is through a payment processing company, here you place the amount of money you need to make the purchase in an internet account with the payment company and then the payment company will in turn pay the vendor you are purchasing from.

This form of payment is secure for both the purchaser and the online business. The company you are purchasing from never sees your personal financial information and your financial information is only available to the payment company. This way you are not sharing your credit card information with a bunch of businesses you only have to deal with one. In addition you are reducing your risk not only because you are only sharing your financial information with one company, this companies main purpose is to provide these services, it is their livelihood they are in that business to make it work not only for themselves but also for their customers, which include both the businesses that sign up to use their services but also for the consumer. Additionally youdecide how much money to place in this account, so instead of potentially risking more than the purchase price you can simply put in exactly the amount required to make the purchase, you control it, it’s your account.

The downside to payment processing company is that not all online businesses are subscribers to their services. If you feel more comfortable making purchases over the internet in this manner call or write to the company that you want to deal with to see if perhaps this is an option. If enough people do it the company may decide to make it a payment option for their customers.

If you’re not comfortable with providing any financial information over the internet contact the company they might be able to provide you with COD service, or take your order over the phone. Call the company most will be more than happy to accommodate your needs.
I hope that this has helped you to understand some of the issues and clear up some of the misconceptions about making purchases over the internet. In review here are the few things that you should look for.

1. Does the company provide multiple ways to contact them if there is an issue?

2. Is your personal information going to be encrypted when it is sent to the company?

3. Does the business offer different payment options?

4. Are you comfortable with the company you are dealing with?

5. How quickly do they respond to customer requests?

Here are a few things to look for once you have purchased from the company.

1. A confirmation that the transaction has been processed should appear on the screen as well it should be delivered in the form of an e-mail. This information should be the same as a receipt and contain information indicating when the order was received, an invoice number, an indication of when the order will be shipped and contact information incase there is a problem with the order. I would suggesting printing the web page containing the transaction information and when the e-mail arrives print it as well, for your records of the purchase. This is just incase the e-mail gets delete by accident.

2. Once the order has been shipped, you should receive another e-mail indicating the tracking number and the web link you can use to track your package.

If there are any issues with shipping your order the company should be prompt in sending a message to let you know what the issues are and when you can expect to seeyour delivery arrive. The company should also give you the option to cancel the order and get a full refund. Shopping online is not to be feared, it is the next step in commerce. Much like the advent of the catalogue and making purchases over the phone, shopping over the internet is simply the next logical step. The catalogue is now electronic and has the capability to reach millions of potential buyers, and instead of calling in your order the consumer simply enters some information and presses a few buttons on the screen. The advent of SSL and other technologies to make commerce online safe and secure has pushed this new avenue for businesses further than ever expected and there is no end to the growth in site. Every day there are more and more vendors embracing the internet as a source to reach new markets and open the world to new products. Just as the internet has made the world a smaller place to live electronic commerce is bringing people closer to the products that otherwise would never have been available to them.

If you have any additional questions that this article has not addressed or would like some clarification on any of the points made here, please feel free to send an e-mail to questions@new2technology.com, or visit www.new2technology.com we are here to help.

The contents of this article may not be reproduced, copied, published or modified in whole or part without the written consent of the author ©Copyright 2004 new2technology Inc.

Weddings on a Budget – Wedding Dress Rental and Other Cheap Tips

Among the things that you should consider to find out what exactly is the size of the dress you need to purchase. Although, it’s not enough that you find out your “regular dress” size. You also have to consider the type of material that your wedding dress has. Sometimes, medium sized dresses would fit too tightly on a bride who usually wears medium sized regular clothing. One way of getting through this is to try on several wedding dresses in commercial bridal stores. This will give you a better perspective of what size and material would look good on you, and since you will not be obliged to buy these dresses, you won’t have to worry about spending anything at all. Once you have decided on your size, then you are ready to shop for your wedding dress.

Among the great places that you can check out are local thrift shops. Wedding dresses may be hard to find but sometimes, they do appear – and in many times, under a hundred dollars. This is a great place to find vintage pieces and if you have to resize it a bit, it wouldn’t cost that much. Perhaps you can find a great temple dress or another vintage styled dress. Another great place to try searching in is any dry cleaning shop in town. It might be unusual but sometimes there are wedding dresses that have not been claimed for a long time and the cleaners have the right to sell them once the claiming date is past its due.

If you still can’t find a dress suitable for you, then you might find your luck in wedding dress rentals. These rental shops have a vast selection of wedding dresses and you could pay only have the price of their worth. The only catch is you have to return them.

Wedding dresses usually hike up the wedding budget. With these options available, you can spend your extra money in other wedding specifics like your honeymoon – or better yet, to save for the future.

Finding the Best Value With Online Product Reviews

When you are planning to buy an item or product, a common gesture done by most consumers is to ask their friend or family members for opinion about a given product before buying to generate information.This applies for all type of products,whether it be appliances,clothing, or any other items. Anyone wants to gain more information about a certain product before they go on to pay for it. same thing applicable for online product reviews are the best tool that online shoppers can use to help them out in finding the best product out there.

If you have tried online shopping before, you probably have noticed a star rating provided next to each product as you are browsing through your possible options. Although not all online shops offer this feature, most of them do and you have to take advantage of this feature. In most cases, those ratings provide direct link to online product reviews that you can read to gather information about a product and learn what others’ opinion of the product is.

Although these reviews provide valuable information about a certain product, you must not take 100 percent of the information as it is. Most of the reviews written for products found online are legitimate, such that they are written by industry experts who have tested the product or consumers who bought and have tried it. You need to be wary about fake reviews though that were written with product promotion as its hidden agenda. These types of reviews provide positive assessment of the website and serve to shadow the negative features just to convince buyers to purchase it. It is therefore important to have an idea of what to look for in a given product before heading out to do your online shopping.

Although they are of help, star ratings placed next to the product do not offer anything. You can be more confident with reviews written by actual users or consumers of the product. It will provide a more realistic and effective insight into the product, especially issues concerning user functionality. Going back to the above statement, knowing what your needs are and specific characteristics that you want, reviews you read can potentially impact your buying information based on your buying priorities and intended use. You have to admit it; product descriptions provided in online shops do not offer much, so these online product reviews should be generated to the fullest.

To conclude, online product reviews enable the consumer to identify the advantages and disadvantages of buying a certain product. Hence, many online merchants have invested on the business of writing reviews knowing how much it affects the buying decision of certain individuals. Indeed, they double as a promotional or marketing strategy knowing that consumers rely on the validity of information provided to ensure that they have made a great choice.