|Holiday Shoppers: Find Unique Gifts Online while Saving Time and Money
October 2003, Natick, Mass. - Smart shoppers can find the perfect gift while
saving time and money by shopping online, according to David Steiner, president of
"Traditionally, this is the time of year that merchants are
stocking their stores for the holidays - and online merchants are no different, said
Steiner. You can do all of your holiday shopping from the comfort of your home, and
avoid the crowds and long lines at the mall."
Large marketplaces like eBay and Amazon have proven to be popular stops for holiday
shoppers. But smaller niche sites can also give you the variety and quality you are
looking for in a gift. This year online shoppers have a couple of extra tools available to
help them find unique gifts on the Web.
Search Aggregators like Google (http://www.froogle.com) and Yahoo! (shopping.yahoo.com)
have developed shopping search engines. In addition to including large retail sites, the
services include many smaller Mom and Pop sites offering a great selection of
items, from hand-made jewelry, antiques, to collectibles and crafts.
Youll be amazed at some of the things you can find on smaller sites - and the
prices in many cases are excellent," said Steiner. For holiday gift-givers, Steiner
offers the following online shopping tips:
- 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
(http://www.tias.com), Ruby Lane (http://www.rubylane.com) and GoAntiques
(http://www.goantiques.com) offer a great selection.
- 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.
(http://www.replacements.com) or eBay (http://www.ebay.com).
- 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 (http://www.epier.com),
SellYourItem (http://www.sellyouritem.com) or BidVille (http://www.bidville.com) These
sites may have hidden gems that are great deals because theyre 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 Amazon.com
(http://www.amazon.com) and specialty sites like Collector Books
(http://www.collectorbooks.com). You can also use a search engine for books, like
- You can find free-shipping deals online, or consider buying multiple items at once to
save on shipping costs. Use comparison shopping sites like Shopping.com
(http://www.shopping.com) and Yahoo! Shopping (http://shopping.yahoo.com) to look for the
When buying online, it is important to be a savvy shopper, warns Steiner, especially when
buying on marketplaces like eBay. Use a credit card and be skeptical. If someone is
offering a deal on eBay or another auction site, and it looks too good to be true, it
"If someone is selling a plasma screen TV for $200, its likely that the item
doesnt exist. Dont try and rationalize why its such a good deal - just
walk away from it," said Steiner.
Never, ever wire-transfer money to a seller, Steiner warned. And consider using an escrow
service for high-price items, but be aware that there are hoax escrow sites as well - be
sure to use a legitimate service.
Steiner's Web site AuctionBytes.com has more tips on how to shop wisely on eBay:
http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y202/m08/abu0077/s03 There's no reason to be a
last-minute shopper, get online now. And don't worry if you get something you hate under
the tree in December. You can turn around and sell it online! "January is a hot month
for online 're-gifting,'" said Steiner. "People are online selling the gifts
they dont want or that don't fit, and they're looking for the items they really did
want but did not receive."
PO Box 668
Natick, MA 01760
Contact Ina Steiner with questions, firstname.lastname@example.org