Holiday spending has begun with the biggest bang on record in the world of ecommerce. ComScore Inc., the Internet tracking firm which happens to be located in Fairfax County, reports that Americans spent $816 million online on Black Friday and $1.25 billion on Cyber Monday.
If you missed participating in the online shopping frenzy thus far, never fear. There are still good deals to be had on products, services and events this holiday season and all year round. Burke boasts both your favorite Mom and Pop stores and large chain stores like Target, Walmart and Kohls. Many offer coupons online as well as a listing of daily or weekly deals.
Simplicity is a virtue. Online services that gather these deals for you make fast work in pursuing the perfect gift for someone else or for yourself. Let’s check out five online services that can help: Patch Deals, Groupon, Living Social, Google Offers, and Amazon Local.
Groupon is arguably the most popular of the deals websites. Provide your email address and personalize your settings with your zip code, gender and age. You’ll receive a daily email with deals suited to you. Collective buying power is the key that makes Groupon work, so tell your friends and family about various deals that would be of interest to them. Gift certificates are an option, if you don’t see a featured deal which is a good match and the holiday clock is ticking down. Groupon is local and national in scope. You might find a treat for your Aunt in Omaha or cousin in Portland.
Living Social follows a similar model to Groupon. Daily deals with a focus on restaurants, spas, theaters, and more. You can also delve into deals by category such as for families, escapes, adventures, and at present “gifts – holiday ideas.” Travel is always popular. A major plus for Living Social is that after you buy a particular deal, you’ll receive a unique link that you can share with others. If three others buy the same deal, you get yours for free. Nice boost to the social side of the daily deal. Living Social spans North America, Europe and Australia.
Google Offers is in beta but has much to commend it. It is easy to get going with Google Offers through three steps: “subscribe, purchase, and enjoy.” The daily deal focus is on “eat, shop, play and stay” according to the promotional video. Personalize the deals you’ll receive by selecting categories and locations of interest to you.
Amazon Local is part of the largest online retailer Amazon. It is not surprising that they can expertly deliver the goods for daily deals from local restaurants, spas, entertainment, and more. If you have an account with Amazon, you need not create one for Amazon Local. If you don’t, the three steps to participating are: “subscribe, save and smile.” The tie-in to Amazon Rewards Card provides points for your use as well as substantial savings on the products and services themselves.
I've used each of these with good success. The daily email offers are quick to scan, pursue or delete. Some also provide deals to you through Facebook and Twitter, if you opt for that. Unless you’ve completed your holiday shopping (and wrapped everything, decorated your home, baked cookies, and sent your holiday newsletter), consider including these online services in your tech tools kit.
Have you discovered any particularly good online deals from local businesses?