Comparison Between Shopify and Squarespace

E-commerce has occupied a special corner of the marketplace, and is a buzzing hub for entrepreneurs selling their wares online. It draws on technologies such as electronic money transfer and inventory management systems to promote its goods. It provides good opportunities to create new business relationships, by promoting business-to-business websites, as well as a good platform for budding entrepreneurs. And the only way to get your online presence noticed is through a website. The main contenders leading the race for hosting websites are Shopify and Squarespace.

Shopify was launched in 2004, and was originally launched for small to medium businesses. Since its popularity, it has grown to envelop website hosting inside its domain. In 2010, it started the Built-a-Business competition to encourage budding entrepreneurs. The winner of this competition received a cash prize, as well as mentoring from renowned businessmen such as Richard Branson and Timothy Ferriss. It launched an iPad-centric application to accept payment from credit cards, as well as send items to faraway locations, without physically being there. Other than this, it supports many payment outlet apps to make transactions simple and secure.

Squarespace is a website building as well as a blogging platform for novice users. It has a very intuitive interface, and makes website creation easy with drag and drop features. It makes editing of the website easy without switching between the site manager and the preview mode. It has additional features of free Typekit fonts and discounted Getty images, so as to make the website more presentable.

Without further ado, we present a comparison of Shopify and Squarespace in E-commerce.

Shopify Vs. Squarespace

Interface
◼Setting up a website in Shopify is not as simple as one would like, with filling up link lists and metadata tags, that are too complicated for the average user to handle.◼The interface of Squarespace is far easier to use, and you can create your website by choosing a template of your choice, and enhancing your page with predesigned logos.

Browser Compatibility
◼Shopify has support for older versions of Internet Explorer (IE) as well as the new ones.◼Squarespace won’t be available for anyone browsing on IE 8 and below.

HTML and CSS Support
◼Shopify lets you have extensive control over the HTML and CSS coding.◼Squarespace only lets you modify bits of CSS, without any tech support from the Squarespace team.

Payment Gateway
◼Shopify has integrated with third-party payment gateways like Paypal and Bitcoin to make online transactions easier.◼Squarespace has only one payment gateway, Stripe, which means that you can conduct transactions only in a handful of countries.

Pricing
◼There is a basic package starting at USD 29 per month. The features are 1GB storage, unlimited products, and 24/7 chat, email, and phone support.
◼There is a professional package starting at USD 79 per month. The features are the same as the basic one, except for an increased storage of 5GB.
◼It has an unlimited package starting at USD 179 per month, which includes unlimited storage, 24/7 support, and fraud analysis tools.◼It has a basic plan with unlimited storage, but can sell only one product. It costs USD 8 per month for the annual plan, or USD 10 for the monthly plan.
◼There is a professional package that has the same structure as the basic plan, but can sell up to 20 products. It costs USD 16 per month for the annual plan, or USD 20 on a monthly basis.
◼The business package has all the features of the professional plan, and has real-time carrier shipping information too. It can sell unlimited products. The owner can also keep a track of the costs due to its integration with Xero accounting software. It costs USD 24 per month for the annual plan, or USD 30 per month.

Both websites offer a 14-day trial period, after which you have to choose a plan that suits your needs. Shopify is for those who wish to maintain an online business store, while Squarespace is for novice users who are still new to the process. As of 2012, E-commerce sales topped $1 trillion. With the above information, you can now join the booming online trade by making an informed decision.
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/comparison-between-shopify-and-squarespace.html

Save Even More Money Shopping Online with Coupon Codes

The Internet has become the favorite shopping experience for millions of people in recent years. Consumers have discovered that not only is it easier and faster to shop online, it’s also often cheaper. With so many retailers competing in one small space (your computer monitor), the online deals and bargains to be found are usually equal to, or better, than the ones in physical stores. Plus, there are so many more stores to choose from.

One approach brick-and-mortar stores have used for several years to try to compete with online retailers is the strategy of offering shoppers coupons either in ads or through the mail, and giving instant rebates on items purchased in the store. These deals seemed like good ammo for stores to use in waging war against online retailers, but before long the savvy online dealers came up with their own strategies for a counteroffensive―online coupon codes and online ebates.

Just like taking a paper coupon to a store to get a special deal or reduced price, hundreds of online retailers offer coupon codes that can be typed in during checkout to give you a percentage off a single item, a discount on your total purchase, or free shipping. Most coupon codes come in e-mail through online newsletters or marketing e-mails you sign up for. But what to do if you’re shopping at an online store for the first time, or a store where you haven’t signed up to receive those great deals? You can’t take advantage of these discounts if you don’t know the code

Not to worry―coupon codes are available to everyone if you just know how to look. Hundreds of well-known online stores have coupon codes on personal homepages or e-mail distribution pages, and all you need is a way to find them. One easy way to discover what coupon codes are out there is to simply search on the exact phrase ‘coupon code’ and the name of the store where you’re shopping. Sometimes you’ll hit pay dirt with just a simple search.

Another way to find coupon codes is through a site such as www.currentcodes.com. Currentcodes has a full-time staff who spend their work hours combing the Internet to find new coupon codes and discount codes and to verify the accuracy of their database. You don’t have to sign up for a newsletter, you don’t have to pay a monthly fee, and you don’t have to sift through mountains of ads to get to the code you’re looking for. Their motto is ‘No hype, just current codes’. Their mission is to provide absolutely the best coupon code database on the Internet.

For a site that has information about the latest deals and bargains, in addition to message boards from site visitors, check out DealHunting.com. You can select a store from a list of hundreds and click GO to see what coupon codes are available.

Finally, not only can you save with coupon codes, you can get some money back from your purchase if you make it through Ebates.com. The company was founded by two Deputy District Attorneys in Silicon Valley who used to prosecute online fraud and identity theft, so you have no need to worry about your online transactions being secure. Over 800 of the world’s top online stores pay to attract customers through ebates, and shoppers make purchases directly through the ebates site rather than at the individual store. Ebates tracks purchases and gives you some cash back on every one. When a purchase is completed, the retailer notifies ebates, and within two days you see cash back in your ebates account. And the cash back doesn’t have to be used at a store―they can transfer the money to your PayPal account, or send you a check, or even donate the money to your favorite charity. And it’s all 100% free.

To get the best of both worlds, go find a coupon code first to save money, then make your purchase through ebates to get cash back!

Whether you’ve been wanting to buy new fingertip towels for your bathroom, or you have a hankering for chocolate-coated macadamias, or you just need new socks, there’s an online store somewhere that has exactly what you’re looking for. And chances are they have a coupon code and you can get money back. So what are you waiting for? Get busy shopping!

Tips for Safe Online Shopping

Not just the trend of buying goods and availing services online, but even the frauds associated with it are on rise. Technological advancement has given a major boost to e-commerce and other similar concepts, which revolve around computers and, more importantly, the Internet. The concept of online shopping is no more alien to anybody in the world.

Millions of people log onto shopping websites in order to make shopping a convenient affair. What they fail to understand though, is the fact that they are compromising on their security by not abiding by the rules that they need to follow. With so many cases of online frauds coming to light every other day, it is surprising to see people go on an online shopping spree without paying heed to their security.

Online Shopping Safety Tips

Online shopping fraud is a broad concept, which includes a range of activities, right from hidden charges and phishing to credit card scams and identity theft. Given below are some simple precautions that you can take to keep yourself safe.

Carry out your transactions from a secured PC: You need to make sure that the PC you are using for shopping online and related transactions is up-to-date with security measures, like anti-virus software and firewall. Being one of the most important advice as far as safe online shopping is concerned, this will help you keep those malicious programs out of your transactions.

Be well-versed with the website you use: You need to make sure that the website from which you are buying goods or availing services is authentic. Never go to random sites that feature in search engine results, or ones that you have never heard of before. Always go for popular websites, as the chances of you getting caught in any sort of web of deceit on such websites are negligent.

Never give away your personal information: You will have to provide some information while shopping online, however, you need to make sure that this is just the general information, like your name or contact number. Never give out confidential information, like your social security number, on online shopping websites. More importantly, never fill in any sort of information in pop-up windows, even if you trust the website. Maintaining privacy while shopping online is a must, as giving away confidential information can make you vulnerable to identity theft.

Go through the privacy policy of the company: A trusted website is bound to have its privacy policy covering all the points whereby the website would be legally bound to keep your personal details confidential and giving away the same to the third party would mean breach of contract with possible legal implications. If any website doesn’t have their privacy policy in place, it is better off to stay away from it.

Paying by credit card is wiser: Always resort to credit card for payment options. Though many of us prefer to use debit cards for shopping online, they don’t have all the security features that credit cards do. More importantly, if your debit card number gets stolen, it will give hackers total access to your account and result in even more difficult situations for you.

Before you order the product: You need to make sure that the transactions are secured and the shipping policy of the company is in the place. Cross checking the actual price of the product and the shipping charges with other companies can help you get the best deal. Make sure that there are no hidden costs in the shipping charges. You will have to take into consideration the actual price of the item as well as shipping charges, handling fees, and sales tax.

After you order the product: Never reply to confirmation mails which ask for your personal details. Make sure that you take the print outs of all the online transaction records, which you can eventually use as proof. Other than all your transactions with the company, it is wise to save the product description as well. Lastly, you will have to monitor the time required for shipping. It is very important to get well-versed with terms and conditions before you buy any product online.

If, by chance, you do end up having a bad experience, you can report the company to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the consumer protection agency in your area of jurisdiction. Considering that there are a number of phishing websites out there in the guise of shopping websites, it will take efforts from all of us to come together and make online shopping safe and secure.

Why Grocery Store Self-Checkout Does Not Go Far Enough

At this point, we’re all familiar with the self-checkout options that are available at most grocery stores and large retail establishments. The concept behind them is sound, and most of us have given them a try at one time or another. If you have only a couple items, and you see lines at the regular check-out lines, then it’s somewhat more convenient to drop into the self-checkout kiosk and complete your transaction. Of course, if you’ve used self-checkout more than a few times, chances are pretty good that you’ve run into a problem with the automated procedures. Whether it’s a product that scans improperly―or not at all―or some other glitch during the payment or check-out procedure, it’s safe to say that self check-out is far from perfect.

Given the availability of technology and the fact that many people are willing to pay for it, why not offer some another option: smart carts or shopping guns that track items as you cart them.

Imagine you walk into the grocery store and grab your shopping cart as you normally would. Only this time, the cart comes equipped with a tethered scanning gun that looks and feels much like the pricing guns that grocers used not long ago to affix prices to items. Your cart-mounted scanning gun will read the bar codes of all the items that you load into your cart and keep track of everything while you shop.

The cart itself (or possibly just the gun) will have a small screen that keeps track of the total you’re spending as you shop. A simple ‘return’ button on the gun allows you to put anything back on the shelf that you had scanned previously.

After you have everything that you need scanned and loaded into your cart, simply walk to the checkout kiosk, plug your scanning gun into its reader and pay your bill. You get your printed receipt and off you go.

Maybe I’m not thinking through all the logistics, but it seems like this method would be far superior to the clunky self-checkout lines that are currently available to us. Let us select the item and add it to our total at the same time. There should be no need to go through the entire store to grab all of our necessary items, and then go to a central point to individually scan everything so that we can pay for it. That’s just silly and incredibly inefficient.

With barcoding technology what it is today, it would be very easy to implement this type of system. Each item would be easily accounted for and the same type of inventory control procedures that are currently in place would still apply for safety and to ward off thieves.

As one who is in the grocery store a few times per week, I know that my suggestion is a better way of doing things. What I can’t figure out is what incentive exists to not pursue this path. A faster and more efficient shopping experience, I believe, would only be good for business. But then again, I’m not in the business, so maybe I’m missing something big.

Pros and Cons of Online Shopping

With increased use of Internet, more and more people are drawn towards online shopping. This means of buying products has gained immense popularity in today’s times. Earlier, Internet was only accessible to people of developed countries, but recent revolution has made it accessible to almost all parts of the world. With increased awareness, people now flock towards Internet for shopping. The concept of shopping goods through online services has been highly recognized and accepted, as it provides several benefits to the customer. However, every good aspect has a bad side to it and this is applicable to online shopping as well. The advantages and disadvantages of this kind of convenience shopping are listed below.

Advantages
The best part of online shopping is that you can shop from home. There is no need to go to the mall to purchase the item you need. You just need to order and it will be available right at your doorstep.
As you shop from the comfort of your home, you save on gas and time that would otherwise have been spent to reach to the nearest store and look for the desired product.
It is convenient and easy! You do not need any degree to learn online shopping. All you have got to do is, visit the website, search for your product and buy it. Your product is just a click away!
Shopping online gives you the privilege to shop whenever you want. The stores are never closed and you can do your shopping 24×7.
It provides variety to the buyer. You don’t need to jump from shop to shop to look for varieties of a product available in the market. The options available online are many and this is one of the best features of online shopping.
Shopping from malls and stores makes it difficult to compare between features and prices of products. Shopping through websites provides simplified comparison of products and helps in deciding which one should be purchased.
Many websites device special discount schemes from time to time to attract customers. You can always buy products under such schemes and save a lot of money.
It keeps annoying salesperson at bay. Aggressive salesmen often pressurize you to buy their products. This harassment can be simply escaped by shopping using the Internet.
Disadvantages
The first disadvantage is that there is a time lag between you making the payment and the delivery of the product.
You cannot try out the product before buying it. Many people like to try things out before making the payment. This feature remains missing when you buy a product online.
High shipping costs often add up to the total cost of the product. Companies usually set very high shipping costs, which add to the total expenditure. Also, if the product is shipped from another country, you are liable to pay extra taxes for it.
The payment mode may not be secure. With increased security issues, making online payment through debit or credit cards might be an insecure mode of transaction. It is therefore important to check whether the payment gateway is secured or not.
Possibility of product damage while shipping cannot be nullified. If the product received is damaged, it may again take several days for replacement or the company may not provide any replacement at all.
The ease of shopping can be extremely dangerous for shopaholics, as they may get provoked to buy many items at a time leading to unwanted expenditure.
The incidence of billing errors is high and if you encounter one, you will again have to follow a long procedure and wait for several days before the error gets resolved.
You need to have a debit or credit card to make a purchase. Very few websites give you the option of paying cash or check on delivery.
If you are trying this shopping method for the first time, I will advise you to get some tips for safe online shopping from your friends and relatives who have already tried it out, so that you do not make any mistakes. Also, weigh the pros and cons and decide for yourself whether you would like to go for it or not.

Tips for Smart Grocery Shopping

Unlike shopping for clothes or shoes, grocery shopping involves a little more planning and responsibility. After all, running a household isn’t a joke. Grocery shopping isn’t just one individual’s wish list, it requires keeping in mind the needs of everybody in the family. Whether it is a family of twelve, or a household of two, if this is strategically planned, it can work wonders. Here are a few ways to help you while you go shopping for groceries.

How To Shop Efficiently

Make a List
This is a must for all shoppers, irrespective of the fact whether you are a frugal shopper or a squanderer. List down everything you and other family members require. Don’t do this in a hurry. Start making a list a few days before you actually plan to make a trip to the local supermarket. This gives you enough time to check your refrigerator and storage containers in the kitchen. Check if other members want to add to the list.

Classify your List
Divide your list into broad sections: vegetables, dairy, spices, snacks, toiletries, etc. This will help you remember if there is something missing in the list, and help you pick up exactly what you need from a particular section in a store.

Ready-to-cook Meals
These are things you often forget in your shopping list, and then feel stressed out when you are in no mood to cook an elaborate meal. Ready-to-cook meals come handy occasionally. Stock them up.

Make a Budget
You definitely aren’t going to spend all your money on grocery. Plan how much of your earnings should be kept aside for the grocery. There are many products in the market to tempt you to spend more. Try not to overshoot your budget. Trust me, there are lots of things you can do with the saved money.

Take Somebody Along
Yes, you know your job well. But no harm requesting a family member to accompany you if the list is long. However, take someone who is not a wastrel. This way you can get some good advice and also get some help to move out of the store fast.

Make a Trip During Off-peak Hours
Not only will you get enough parking space if you go to the store when it is not crowded, but you will also be to finish your shopping faster. The long lines at the cash counters can be really frustrating. Avoid going on weekends or major holidays. Most stores also tend to finish their stock during peak hours, so you might miss out on something that you desperately need.

Check Out the Best Bargains
Read every offer carefully. Maybe you can get a good deal. Check out the pamphlets and banners displayed for the customers. Ask questions if you have doubts, but don’t get swayed by the offers. This is not the last time the store is offering a discount. You can come back later. Where is the bargain if you are buying things just for fun?

Start From the First Section
When you move systematically, you know exactly what you need. You can definitely browse around. But then look at your list. Is that mentioned on your list? Is that something you really need? Move fast if you don’t need it now.

Don’t Compromise on the Price and Brand
If you feel that the store you went shopping last week has a better range of tea bags, don’t buy them from this store. Mark it in your list, so you don’t forget to buy the tea bags from the other store. Also, if you feel apples at a particular supermarket are more expensive compared to another market your friends told you about, avoid buying them from here. Shop wisely.

Never Just Grab Items at Eye Level
Always look on the shelves above and below, probably that is where what you need exactly is. Stores often have wide-ranging brands and products in different quantities. Check out the right quantity pack. You don’t need to horde things in your kitchen.

Avoid Looking Back
Give a final glance to your list before you arrive at the cash counter. Once at the cash counter, don’t just keep going back to the shelves to grab things again and again. There are other people waiting in the line and their time needs to be respected.

Keep An Eye on the Cash Register
The person at the counter can make a mistake, so be careful of what he is billing you for. Make sure you remind him if there are any freebies on any products. Check if all the products you picked up have been carefully put in your bag.

Avoid Plastic Bags
Lead by example. Carry your own cloth bag as far as possible. Be sensitive to the environmental concerns.

If you follow these tips, you can have a pleasant shopping experience, where you will have gotten all you needed, and save a few bucks as well.

Online Shopping Trends

Online shopping―what was once frowned upon has now managed to gain acceptance with open wallets! Yes, while in the past we hesitated ordering things online, and most importantly questioned the safety of letting out our credit/debit card details on the Internet, now due to the safe and secure online market, the skepticism has vanished to a great extent. A recent study done by eMarketer confirms the truth of this statement. Their analysis predicts the growth of online sales in the United States to USD 434.2 billion by 2017, from USD 225.5 billion in 2012.

The year 2009 saw an extraordinary trend. While most industries suffered significant losses due to recession, the U.S. saw a significant rise in online retail of 11%, according to a report by Forrester Research published in March 2010. This just shows the popularity of the trend of online shopping in the past few years.

Online Shopping: From a Luxury to a Trend to a Necessity

The 90s proved to be historical for Internet shopping when the world was introduced to the ‘World Wide Web’. The pioneering online shopping sites such as Amazon and eBay were launched in 1995, and they still continue to reign the kingdom of online retail market. Among the initial steps in Internet selling was the selling of books. What started as a trial-and-error strategy―with many people wondering the feasibility of the success of web shopping―today, has become a revolutionary industry worth billions!

With the consumer population becoming more and more tech-savvy, and with the technological excellence that has led to safe, secure, reliable, and satisfactory online transactions in the recent past, most people prefer to avoid the chaotic crowd of shopping malls, and opt for shopping from the comfort of their homes.

The Internet was once an option, and is now a necessity. Likewise, the virtual market has become more than a facility; it is now, in fact, a necessity. With irresistible advantages such as 24X7 access to shopping, free shipment, and home delivery, the online retailers have managed to acquire some loyal customers. Forrester Research state that the United States online retail industry is likely to be worth USD 279 billion in 2015.

Factors That Have Made Online Shopping a Trend

From the 90s till now, gradually people have accepted virtual shopping to be an easy and affordable way to get hold of things ranging from luxury items such as smartphones and laptops, to everyday items such as grocery and stationery. More and more stores are opening their own websites to enable consumers to shop online. There are various external factors that have contributed to the rising inclination towards virtual shopping.

The Social Media: While browsing through social network sites such as Facebook, have you noticed the ads that are displayed on the right hand corner of the webpage … attracting you towards the trendy branded clothes, jewelry, scents, and footwear? With sellers joining the social networking sites and creating their own pages, a study shows that almost 60% of online buyers used social media to discover, like, and follow retail sites in the past year. This strategy definitely helps increase the pace of product exposure with features such as like, share, recommend a friend, reviews, and more.

Smartphones and Tablets: With the increasing user base of smartphones and tablets, online shopping is not just confined to sitting in front of a PC. If you know what you want, shopping can be done while eating your lunch, while traveling to your work … while on the move! Another survey depicts that almost 10-15% of Internet traffic comes through mobile devices. A trend known as “show rooming” has been on the up lately. The buyers visit the physical retail stores to check out the products, browse the products online, compare prices, check the reviews on the websites, and buy the same product from an online retailer offering the best deal. Mobile apps of these retail stores also help the consumers know about the latest stock and sale going on, subsequently increasing the customer database and sales.

Crowded Shopping Destinations: While researching on shopping trends during Black Fridays, I came across various consumers who preferred shopping online rather than going out in the crowd with no parking spaces! This just shows that customers not only find it more comfortable, but also less chaotic to shop online rather than traveling all the way to the rushed shopping destinations, especially during sales. This drift has encouraged physical stores to focus more towards their service and hospitality to make customers’ shopping experience more comfortable and satisfactory.

Tech-savvy Users: Another contributing factor towards the hype in online shopping, is the majority of population becoming increasingly tech savvy. A fair amount of credit goes to the effort of sellers making online shopping not only a comfortable, but an overall safe and fun experience with alluring features such as cash on delivery, free home delivery, replacement plans, low price guarantee, gift cards, customer reviews, and more. In fact, many online retailers also give consumers an option to try their selected clothes, apparels, and footwear at home, and offer to do the necessary changes. There are also customer service numbers which enable the consumers to contact these retailers to clarify their queries. With all these features, online shopping has made the experience less complicated and tiresome for the users.

No Geographical Limitations: The one factor that has worked the most in favor of virtual shopping is the fact that users have multiple options that are not confined to any geographical boundaries, as is the case with physical stores. For example, if a book you need is not available in your city, you have no other option but to wait. In case of online shopping, if one website doesn’t have that book in stock, you will definitely get it on other websites. Also, online retail stores give you an option to set an e-mail alert when the product is in stock, so that you may complete your purchase.

What Lies Ahead …

By analyzing the aforementioned factors, it is evident that the virtual trend of shopping would only flourish in the near future. Unless the bricks-and-mortar stores don’t adapt to recent trends in e-commerce, and prepare themselves for the competitive strategies to attract online buyers, the future of traditional shopping seems to be under a potential threat. It is inevitable that online stores will have to become a compulsory feature of each and every traditional store that wants to be in the competition. In fact, a business website―which was an “added feature” till the recent past―has now become a prerequisite. Each and every business, other than retail stores is launching user-friendly and attractive websites to enable their customers to ask queries, make appointments, sales, cancellations, and the like, all through the website. With these strategic changes, buying and selling online is transforming from a luxury to a necessity.

Considering online shopping to be a solution for all shopping-related hassles would not be right. Like any other area, virtual market has its own cons, the most important one being the lack of a “physical presence”. At the end of the day, we humans are social beings, and shopping is considered by many, a means to socialize. It is normal for us to want the presence of someone who would approve with our choices, or help us make the right choice among the many options before us. Virtual shopping makes us “physically” more isolated.

Who would’ve thought, a few years ago, that the Internet would evolve from being something physically non-existent, to something that has now become an integral part of all the dominating aspects of our physical lives? The unlimited access that the Internet has provided to its users has made them more aware about the market. When it comes to online shopping, the most powerful marketing tool―the word of mouth―is what works the best. With social media, mobile apps, review sites, and sharing features, online buyers have become significant contributors in the total sales revenue. The target of the market is to find buyers and follow them where they are. Promotional ads and coupons are sent to consumers online; while offline, mobile messages are steadily delivered to their inbox, keeping them aware about what is “in store” for them. The world is functioning the quick and smart way, and e-commerce is a perfect example for reaching out to consumers even while they are busy and on the move.

Things You Should Never Buy Online

‘Have money, will spend’, is the mantra of today’s consumers. They have become savvier. They believe that money can buy happiness, and turn to retail therapy very often. Bummer, I know! But this is the truth, and with the boom of eCommerce, shopping has become very easy. No more trying out clothes or those nosy salespeople. Just pure indulgence without burning a drop of fuel.

But there are some things which cannot be bought through the virtual window, and you will have to visit a brick and mortar store for such items. You may ask ‘Why’? Well, it is because, at these stores, you physically get to see, touch, and feel the products, and even can haggle a little. But with online shopping, you miss out on this experience.

I agree that ‘most’ of the products that you get online most probably have a better price. True! But most, not all! Therefore, to save you from the pitfall, Buzzle has made a list of things you should never buy online.

Clothes

Shopping online for clothing can really be a bad experience. You don’t get to see the actual colors, you don’t get to feel the material, you cannot try out the outfit, nor can you bargain. I don’t see any point in giving up all these experiences, just to wrestle with an online-ordered pair of jeans that won’t ride up past the knees. Apart from the humiliating feeling that the ill-fitting clothes leave us with, there comes another ‘easier-said-than-done’ task of returning the clothes and getting the money back.

I won’t say that you will run into bad or badly-fitting clothing every time. Some websites are authentic, and provide ample information so that you can make correct choices. But picture this! You walk into a clothing store, and just walk out with the first pair of jeans you see. Does this happen? Absolutely not! You go through a strenuous process of choosing the perfect length, width, and fit, by trying them out. I’m left with no choice but to wonder, how this process can be bypassed with a click of a button.

The above-mentioned scenario is applicable for all types of clothing. But I would like to make a special mention for intimate clothing. They are meant to fit snugly, and can be quite a nuisance if they don’t. Therefore, when it comes to clothes, as far as possible, try to stay from online shopping.

Footwear

Footwear is something that can make or break your entire look, and is really tricky. You need to have precise judgment of the correct size. While choosing the correct size of footwear is important, comfort level is also equally essential. These are the two determining factors for choosing the right footwear.

When surfing through shopping websites, you may have come across conversion charts for sizes, as they are used in different countries. You know that your shoe size is 8. But what you may not know is that, shoe size 8 with one brand can be 8½ or 7½ with another brand. And you would only come to know about the ½-inch difference, when you receive the big box in your mail. The ½-inch difference would be nothing less than torture, when you stand or walk in your brand new shoes.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that footwear should be tried out properly before purchasing. Through the virtual shopping screen, you can only ‘see’ the size and ‘guess’ the comfort level, right?

Makeup

While most websites promote clothing and footwear as their primary selling points, makeup comes in as a close third. Makeup should always be tested for the correct shade or the right color, before finalizing the deal. And this is especially true for the cosmetics that are required to be applied on the face. If you select a shade of foundation that is either too light or too dark, you may end up looking like a painted stork. The idea is to look natural and not made-up.

Secondly, if you see a new product and order it, chances are, the product may not suit you. Your skin may break out into a reaction or allergy. This is the main reason a patch test is always recommended. While there are policies where you can return the product and get your money back, the discomfort caused to the skin cannot be compensated.

The only case where you can safely grab a deal is, when you know a particular brand and a particular shade suits you properly, and you have used it before.

Big Brands

Flaunting a ‘Givenchy’ clutch or a ‘Dolce & Gabbana’ tote gives a boost to the ego, and you feel as if you are on top of the world. But these brands are ridiculously expensive, and owning them is a pain. But what if you get a ‘non-Saint Laurent’ bag in less than $200, which would pass off as an original? You would quiver with joy and order it impromptu.

The same rule applies for luxury brands in perfumes and sunglasses. You can never make out the difference between an original and a knock-off. The reason I’m saying this is, if it was an original, how would something that costs $1,600 be sold at just $160?

But as I said earlier, not all websites are misleading. Many of them are authentic. If you are planning to buy a luxury brand, make sure you visit their official website and order from there. Do not opt for third-party websites. But the best bet would be visiting a store in person, and buying it directly.

Electrical Appliances

Large and fragile, that is what they are! Electrical appliances usually cost a fortune, and imagine spending on something that you haven’t seen or even touched. One more thing that needs to be kept in mind is, if you would be using the appliance everyday, it should be tested before it reaches your doorstep.

You also need to be aware of the fact that, if the website is cutting down the price on a product, it may make up for it by including an exorbitant shipping and delivery charge. If you must buy online, select trusted websites, and check the reviews of the product. Also make sure that you inquire about the ‘damage during transition’ expenses, and the ‘return back’ policy, as some websites do not cover these.

Heavy Items

When I say heavy items, I want to include all those products which you plan to spend the big bucks on. Furniture, cars, and all other heavyweight items that are difficult and expensive to deliver, should never be purchased online. Furniture needs to be checked in person, and a car should be test-driven before purchasing.

There is another drawback with heavyweight items. If after getting it delivered, you find that the product is damaged or faulty, you can return it and get your money back. But what you will not get back is the shipping charges. Therefore, if an item is expensive to get delivered, and equally expensive to return, you will incur a loss and have nothing left in hand to show for.

Medicines

Even if you go wrong with the above-mentioned items, the mistake wouldn’t be as major as the one that would occur if you go wrong with medicines. Buying medicines online is a complete no-no. You are going to risk your life if you do so.

There is just no way to ensure their safety, the seals could be broken, they could be tampered with, contaminated, or even fake. Worse still, the website selling these medicines could be unlicensed. You never know what you may be consuming, and from where they are coming.

Your browser can buy medicines, but it doesn’t have the degree. So, let the doctor and the local medical store be the best option. Bottom line-never purchase medicines online, even if they are over-the-counter drugs, and you are very familiar with them.

Online shopping need not be stayed away from completely. This write-up is only to encourage you to think twice before finalizing a purchase, and be very certain of what you are buying online.

Where to Get Grocery Coupons

Grocery shopping is one thing that tops our monthly to-do-list. Most people love this activity and cannot wait to hit the grocery store for the smallest of reasons. However, in today’s hard economic times, it is extremely important to save money and cut corners in order to live a relatively decent life. The good thing being that, though the grocery is a primary expense, it can be controlled too, in order to save money. One of the best ways for serving this purpose is to search for grocery coupons. These are available online, in newspaper inserts, and sometimes, as discount coupons. Let’s try to identify a few places from where you will be able to obtain them.

Sources

Printable grocery coupons are the newest rage amongst shoppers, as well as manufacturers these days. Free coupons have always been a great attraction for shoppers and now, with the availability of the former, it is even more exciting. One of their biggest advantages is that you can use them as soon as you go online, and print them, which is so much more convenient. Hence, printing them out is the best way to get the maximum savings while shopping for what you need.

Free Sign-up
The best thing to do is to sign up on various suitable online sites. Sign-up for free on these websites and get to know about the special free coupons that are available at various grocery stores. Once you are informed about these offers, all you need to do is to print them and avail the discounts. The only thing that might hold you back from signing into these websites are the additional offers that keep on appearing in bulk. Well, there is a simple solution to this problem, as well; you just need to uncheck the box for additional offers and you will be spared of all such mails.

Shopper’s Card
Some grocery stores also offer various schemes and discount offers, once you cross a certain amount of shopping. If you shop beyond that sum, you get a shopper’s card. This card gets activated only after you fill up a small form with your contact number and/or email address. Once you do that, the stores keep on sending you text messages or emails about all the free sales offers on a regular basis for saving money on groceries. If they find that you are utilizing most of their offers, you get special considerations and additional discounts, whenever you shop from them.

Communicate
Communication is the best way to save money on groceries. For instance, you can contact shop associates in person or by email, and request them to let you know about the ways that you can receive notifications regarding discounts and offers. Some websites also offer no-registration coupons to print. Such a facility is a great option for people who want to escape the hassle of first registering themselves.

Food coupons are pretty hard to come by, in comparison to grocery items like soaps, toiletry, juices, and other household products. Hence, you need to grab the opportunity as soon as it comes your way. Thus, all in all, it is certain that shopping will be quite a pleasant experience for you, provided that you use this facility to its full capacity.

Coupon Organizer Categories

With prices of even regular, everyday-use items shooting up, it makes a lot of sense to take the advantage of manufacturer’s coupons, which help in decreasing the weekly house shopping budget to a great extent. These days, coupons are available for almost all household items, right from vegetables and fruits to cosmetics and medicines. Although the use of coupons can greatly help in cost cutting, yet organizing them can sometimes be quite a headache. The best way to deal with this situation is to form organizers and then keep the coupons in them accordingly. Given below is some useful information on the ways to form coupon categories.

Setting Up a Coupon Organizer

When it comes to forming categories, the easiest way to do that is to sort the coupons according to the products. For example, you can have categories like ‘frozen foods’, ‘cosmetics’, etc. So, the next time you are out buying say yogurt, you know that you have to look into the ‘dairy products’ category to find the relevant coupon. Here is the list that you can consider while sorting out your coupons.
Housekeeping
Medicines/toiletries
Containers to store food items
Cosmetics
Beverages
Canned foods
Meat/meat products
Dairy products
Cooking supplies including oil, flour, etc.
Beverages
Frozen food items
Desserts/snacks
Baby foods and items
Breakfast items including cereals
Pet foods and items
Pasta/rice
Condiments
Sauces/seasoning/soups/dressings
Cookies/crackers/dry snacks
Seafood
➜ Some categories such as ‘groceries’ can have lots of items under them, and thus, a number of different coupons to sort out. So, in that case, forming grocery coupon organizer categories such as the ones mentioned above will make your job much easier.

➜ You can also save money on groceries with the help of this. Also, if there are certain items which you purchase very rarely, then it would be better if you club these together and form a single category so that when needed, they are handy. At the same time, you do not need to sort them all out at the same time.

➜ Besides categories based on products, you can organize your coupons according to their date of expiry. The coupons whose date of expiry is nearing, should be kept in the front and the others at the back. Another method which many people follow while sorting out coupons is to sort them out alphabetically.

➜ There are many coupon organizers available in the market and you can opt for any of these. You will find many purses and wallets which come with in-built organizers. However, on second thoughts, why spend money on them when you can make one easily at home.

➜ Write down all the categories of the coupons you have and then take as many envelops. On the envelops, write the product category name and then put the coupons inside accordingly. After this, all you have to do is insert these envelops in a file folder or place them in a shoe box.

➜ Besides these, some other things that you should do to take maximum advantage of discount coupons are – firstly, before stepping out for shopping, make a list of things that you need on a sheet of paper. Next, check your coupons and then mark a tick in front of the item on the list whose coupon you have.

Also, if you have any coupons whose expiry is nearing, then you can add that particular product to your purchasing list as well if you feel that you might need it in the coming months and purchasing it now makes sense. Take this grocery list and the coupons along while shopping. At the grocery store, when you are buying stuff, you will already be aware that every ticked item has a coupon, thus it will save you a lot of time as well as money.