Shopping online is certainly convenient, but in-store shopping has its advantages. When you shop in person you can consult store employees and friends for advice, as well as a smartphone filled with shopping apps for quick price comparison and deal discovery. When you’re online shopping, though, you are constricted to single websites and using your own best judgment to make your final purchase decision.
Smart online shoppers know that with the right tools, you can shop and save online at virtually any site. To shop smarter and make the wisest purchase decisions, use these six online shopping tools to optimize your online shopping experience and get the absolute best prices.
1. The Shopping List Creator:
You likely find products you like on your PC or smartphone all the time but then quickly forget about them. We often casually browse throughout the day and try to remember products by bookmarking pages, emailing ourselves links, or screen grabbing Web pages on our phone, yet rarely do these shopping discoveries turn into actual purchases. To help you remember the products you really want, try using an online list platform. These tools handle the simple but necessary task of saving and organizing products for you.
Designed specifically for multi-site shoppers,Wishlistr is an online shopping tool for organizing products and creating lists. The Web-based application comes with all the features you need to store the products you want online in one location. For remembering products on the spot, install the free bookmarklet to your Chrome browser, which will let you easily save products you want directly from product pages. The bookmarklet creates a button at the top of your browser that you simply click to add items from any website.
With social aspects integrated, Wishlistr also allows you to invite friends to view your wishlist via email, or social services such as Twitter and Facebook. Other features include tagging options to label specific items with keywords and a reserve feature, which enables you to mark items as bought or reserved. To help you fill out your wish list instantly, the app connects to Amazon and Delicious to import products you have already saved.
2. The Product and Shipping Tracker:
Slice is a website and mobile app that first originated as a product delivery tracking service, but has now evolved into an online shopping must-have to track prices. The service tracks stored products to help you determine the best time to buy and save the most money. Slice has dominated the marketplace for such tools after alternative price tracking tools such as Nifti and Hukkster shut down.
Slice syncs with your Gmail account to automatically keep track of your purchases and emailed store receipts. If you’ve bought items with stores to which the service syncs, Slice will automatically alert you if the product price has dropped after you made your purchase. Price Drop Alerts, as Slice calls them, are an easy way to instantly put money back into your wallet even after you buy.
3. Aggregated Coupon Tools:
Automate the often-cumbersome trial-and-error method of couponing with aggregated coupon tools. They do the work for you by scouring the Web for coupon codes based on your current domain and sometimes even the products and brands you are shopping. They also automatically filter the results to bring you only usable, non-expired coupons that can be applied to your purchase.
Since the extreme couponing hype hit, various coupon code browser add-ons have been released, all claiming to be the best online shopping tool. One such tool that is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer is Coupons at Checkout, which lists available coupon codes next to a standard “Enter Coupon Code” box at checkout.
Another option is the Chrome-only plug-in Honey, which places a “Find Savings” button on the checkout screen of hundreds of merchant sites. Upon clicking “Find Savings” Honey crawls the Web, filtering through all working coupon codes to find the code or combination of codes that will net you the most savings, and automatically applies the codes to your shopping cart. Poachit takes a more all-in-one approach to aggregated coupon browser add-ons by allowing you to save products, track pricing, and apply coupon codes using a bookmarklet.
4. The Social Buying Aid:
Smart social shopping is more than just product shares, pins, and tweets; it’s shopping optimized by online social connections. The Hunt is a community that crowdsources solutions for shoppers looking to create “a designer look for less, completing a look from a photo, finding similar products from a picture, [or] locating an exact product or styling a product.”
The Hunt helps you find products you like but don’t know where to buy. You can “Start a (product URL) Hunt” by submitting a picture of a product using the image URL or by connecting to a Pinterest, Instagram, or Tumblr account. Other users then hunt online to discover where the product is available and share the discovered purchase page URL if found. Once a product purchase URL is attributed to a product and confirmed, the product is marked “found,” and remains on the site in the product showcase.
As an added benefit, the platform is a great social discovery network, helping you inadvertently find new, under-the-radar shopping sites. Currently the site mainly caters to the fashion industry, but is expanding into a community where users make product purchase recommendations.
5. Price Comparison Tools:
When you need to buy right now, price-comparison tools are your best bet. These simple browser add-ons automatically compare prices across a variety of sites, alerting you to better deals elsewhere.
When looking for discounts on high-margin purchases such as airline tickets and hotel rooms, in-browser price-comparison tools are especially helpful and can save you more than individual comparison engine sites such as Expedia.
PriceBlink and InvisibleHand are two non-intrusive add-ons that provide in-browser price comparison to save you time and money. Installing either one will improve your shopping experience with no extra effort.
6. The Smart Online Shopping Cart:
Mavatar started as a smart shopping bookmarklet that allowed you to track prices and price compare across various stores. The service has since expanded into a full discount aid and adjacent social shopping site focused on lowest price product discovery. Mavatar acts as a smart shopping cart, from which you can complete your purchase, bypassing the retailer checkout page. It scours the Web to find the best promo codes, and automatically applies the coupon code that will save you the most to the items in your Mavatar cart.
Unlike most other shopping browser tools, Mavatar also allows you to upload your own personal coupons by manually entering a coupon code you may have found elsewhere. With Mavatar installed, you’ll get automatic price-drop notifications for items you have saved. This eliminates the need to play the shopping cart game with retailers, in which you leave items in your cart for extended periods of time until the retailer emails you a promo code to incentivize the purchase. The online shopping tool is compatible across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices and comes complete with social shopping features. Mavatar allows you to share items in your cart via Facebook and Twitter.
Source: PC Mag
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