EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 104 - October 05, 2003 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 8

AuctionBytes Tips for Online Holiday Shopping

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Traditionally, this is the time of year that merchants are stocking their stores for the holidays - and online merchants are no different. You can do all of your holiday shopping from the comfort of your home, and avoid the crowds and long lines at the mall. Smart shoppers can find the perfect gift online while saving time and money.

Large marketplaces like eBay and Amazon have proven to be popular stops for holiday shoppers, and smaller niche sites can also give you the variety and quality you are looking for in a gift, from hand-made jewelry and antiques, to collectibles and crafts.

AuctionBytes Tips for Online Holiday Shopping

  • If there is a collector in your life, online shopping is ideal for finding that one piece that will complete their collection. And don't worry about whether they already have an item. Collectors like duplicates so they can play with one and save the other, or trade for items missing from their collection. Online antiques malls like Tias, Ruby Lane and GoAntiques offer a great selection. And small specialty sites like have depth of inventory.
  • An extra set of a hard-to-find place setting or a replacement for a broken saucer or cup in a special pattern is a great gift. Check out sites like Replacements Ltd. and eBay
  • Satisfy hard-to-please family members and friends by buying memorabilia. Consider a vintage movie poster or a celebrity autograph for the "people who already have everything." Something that might remind a person of their childhood or a happy time in their lives is a great gift.
  • Check out some of the smaller auction sites such as ePier, SellYourItem or BidVille These sites may have hidden gems that are great deals because they're not as heavily trafficked as eBay or Amazon.
  • A wide range of books exists to satisfy collectors. For example, Miller's Movie Collectibles by Rudy and Barbara Franchi covers all aspects of collecting movie memorabilia with current values, sources, history, terminology and trends. You can buy the collecting-related books online (new or used) on book sites like and and specialty sites like Collector Books You can also use a search engine for books, like BookFinder
  • You can find free-shipping deals online, or consider buying multiple items at once to save on shipping costs. Use comparison shopping sites like, Yahoo! Shopping and Google to look for the best deals.
  • Be a savvy shopper. Use a credit card and be skeptical. If someone is offering a deal on eBay or another auction site that looks too good to be true, it usually is. If someone is selling a plasma screen TV for $500, it's likely that the item doesn't exist. Don't try and rationalize why it's such a good deal - just walk away from it. Never wire-transfer funds, and consider using an escrow service for high-ticket items. But be aware that there are hoax escrow sites as well. Be sure to use a legitimate service.

Some tips on how to shop wisely on eBay can be found at

There's no reason to be a last-minute shopper, make sure you leave enough time to have your items shipped to you. And don't worry if someone gives you a gift you don't like for the holidays. You can turn around and sell it online in January!

About the author:

David Steiner is President of Steiner Associates LLC, publisher of and the merchant directory. David, a former television producer, handles business development and advertising for EcommerceBytes. You can reach him at

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