shopping online might or might not be for everyone.
By: Ebe Heng, Tue Jan 17th, 2006
Christmas shopping online is not for you? If you are one of
those that share this thought, you probably like to enjoy
the atmosphere of physical shopping. Doing your Chrismas
shopping online despite all its convenience, lack the
festive mood. The convenience of online shopping has reduced
the shopping experience to a browse and click mode, no mood
and very little atmosphere.
So, you might think that despite the staggering numbers that
shows how many people are actually doing their Christmas
shopping online, they are just a minority out of the entire
Chrismas shopping population. Well, while I do not have the
statistics to back this up this thinking is likely to be
To ascertain the fact that the Christmas shopping online
folks are really a sub-set of the Chrismas shopping crowd,
just visit Marcy s, Barnes and Noble or one of the large
departmental stores during the pre-Christmas period, and the
crowd you see would highlight the fact that a very large
proportion of shoppers are still doing their shopping
And of course, it is this crowd that give rise to the
Chrismassy feelings. Never mind that you have to wait an
hour to find a parking lot or half an hour to pay for your
purchases, this feeling enhanced by the jingles that flood
the stores is something that doing your Christmas shopping
online would never be able to offer.
Having said so much about the value of shopping physically,
are there any merits to doing your Chrismas shopping online?
Yes, from my own experience there are at least two major
contributions that doing your Christmas shopping online can
First, Chrismas shopping online eliminates the hassle of
browsing and deciding at absolutely ground zero on the spot.
Imagine you are doing shopping with only a vague idea of
what to buy for whom and your only reference is some
scribbling on a post-it note.
Enter online Christmas shopping, and you are able to browse
online and zero in on the category of items that you would
like to get for your love ones. One of the biggest value of
Internet is it allows you to conduct your research and craft
a comprehensive list of items that you would like to get for
your love ones. So that, when you are doing it physically,
all you have to do is to choose from the different brands
and decide on the ones that have the best value. Thus,
saving time and allowing you to buy for more people in
The other contribution of online Chrismas shopping is that
it is able to take care of your bulk purchases . What I mean
is during this festive season of giving and sharing, there
would be lots of gifts exchange, and gifts giving to
So, for this group of people, you would probably be getting
something that is nice but would not invest too much thought
into it, and then you would buy plenty of it to last through
the season. Doing your Christmas shopping for these folks
online frees out more time for you during those shopping
mall trips to choose something special for your love ones.
It also takes care of the inconvenience of bringing a lot of
stuff yourself (online shopping would have the purchase
deliver right to your door steps).
There you have it! Online Chrismas shopping allows you to do
a thorough research on the gifts to get for your love ones
and it also gives you more time in physically shopping for
those gifts by allowing you to buy the generic stuff online.
So, using technology allows you to enjoy the magic feeling
of shopping under the thick Christmas atmosphere provides by
shopping malls with lesser things on your mind to worry
Having said all these, I hope you folks would integrate
(what a word!) online shopping to brighten your overall
Chrismas shopping experience and enhances the joy and magic
buying for those special ones
About the author: Ebe is the editor of
www.christmasgiftsshopping.com, which provides quality
Christmas related links and articles to better the joyous
occasion. He reviews and ensures all contributions lead to a
fun and easy online shopping experience for Chrismas gifts
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Save Time & Money Christmas Shopping Online
By: Kim Wutzke, Sat Dec 10th, 2005
So Christmas is a few months away. Seems like a lot of time
but we all know how quickly time passes to the holidays. It
feels like you have plenty of time to get all the shopping,
cleaning and organizing done before the holidays hit. But do
you ever get it all done without stressing out?
Get a jump start this year and shop early online. Here s a
couple of big time and money saving tips that will relieve
some of your holiday stress.
Many sites will wrap your gifts in holiday or any occasion
gift wrap. Some online gift shops will do this service for
free and year round as well! It is well worth your time to
do a search for free gift wrap and can save you several
dollars a package. It also saves you the time and trouble of
buying gift wrap and wrapping each gift. Many shops will
include your personal message and gift card as well, again
saving time and money.
Start your Chrismas shopping now so you can easily compare
products and prices before you buy. A lot of gift shops are
now offering a Price Match guarantee. Read each stores info
on their program so you can take advantage of their offer to
match competitor s prices. This is a great way to know you
won t be paying too much for your gifts.
Here s a big secret in saving time and adding lots of
convenience to your online shopping for Christmas. Some
shops will actually let you purchase in advance and then
specify a ship by date, i.e., buy in May and have it shipped
in December. This is rarely advertised on sites but a quick
e-mail to the shop may give you surprising results. No need
to pay extra shipping having it shipped to you when you buy
early, then you having to pay, again, to have it shipped to
your recipient. This saves a lot of Cristmas bucks!
How cool is that? Shop for Christmas in July, have it gift
wrapped for free, free gift card and message and shipped in
December! Look at all the money you can save and time you
have left for cleaning, organizing and you!
About the author: Please keep intact. We offer Free Gift
Wrap, Free Gift Message and gift card! All this and great
Cabin themed gifts & decor, fishing
gifts, black bear gifts, deer antler scrimshaw and
decorating articles. All rights Reserved
copyright 2005 Log Cabin Fever Gifts & Decor
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Comparison Shopping At Christmas
By: Rachel Lane, Thu Jun 8th, 2006
Credit can often be the first thing we think of at
Christmas, whether it's taking out a personal loan, credit
card or simply the extension of an overdraft. However,
saving money at Cristmas isn't just a matter of searching
for the best personal finance product. This article gives
you a few tips on how to make the most of the internet for
your Cristmas shopping.
Tip number one: get your credit sorted first
Most of us will borrow money this Christmas - whether that's
through a personal loan, credit card or simply moving
further into our overdraft. However, as you may be aware -
personal finance products vary enormously and it's worth
making sure you have the best personal loan before you start
spending it, likewise when you conduct a credit card search,
you want to ensure that what you've offered is the best
deal. Bear in mind that even internet promotions bear
geographical significance. For example - if you live in the
UK - the search term "Credit Card UK" is likely to give a
much more relevant result than simply "Credit Card", which
will take your search out to global credit card sites - the
same applies to a personal loan search.
Tip number two:
Use the search engines and price comparison sites. Search
engines can be very helpful, but they function on technical
sorting - rather than human sorting. Sometimes websites such
as moneynet.co.uk and lowermybills can save you the time of
sifting through lots of irrelevant sites - as they have
dedicated teams which comb the financial press and short
list the best consumer deals.
Tip number three:
Set yourself up with online bank accounts. There has been
lots of press about consumer concern of online security, yet
the reality is that 1) online security for shopping and
banking is extremely robust and 2) your money is as safe
online as it is anywhere else - fraud exists at all
transaction points - not just those on the internet. Online
bank accounts can save you bank charges when you're
transferring money and you can track your finances
throughout the Cristmas period, regardless of whether the
banks are open or not. With online banking, your finances
are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Tip number four:
Make a list of what you intend to buy people and then
conduct some price comparison research online. Websites such
as Kelkoo, Ciao and PriceRunner can help you source the
lowest price for what you're looking for, but you may find
that some online retailers can beat their bricks and mortar
counterparts anyway. For example, Amazon and eBay have
gained huge popularity because they're easy to buy from and
they give significant discounts over the High Street.
When you buy online - you also have more choice than what's
available in your high street. Online specialists such as
CCL - a computer specialist (
http://www.cclonline.com/ ), Stand & Deliver -
audio visual furniture, Crave - a maternity fashion site,
The Christmas Hamper Store ( http://www.christmashamper.c
om/ ) and headSpun - an online music merchandise store allow
you shop for your entire family, without you leaving the
house. This saves you shoe leather, shopping queues, car
park fees, heavy bags and you don't have to be sneaky about
buying things when the kids aren't looking!
The diversity of online retail stores takes the emotional
strain out of Christmas shopping. Even traditional
high-street favourites, such as H Samuel, have their own
online store, as traditional gifts such as watches (
http://www.hsam uel.co.uk/webstore/watches.do ) and
collectibles remain popular, despite the emergence of
techno-gifts like the iPod or latest Sony Ericsson
multimedia mobile phone.
A lot of sites have very modest delivery charges and
sometimes these are waived completely under special
conditions. In addition, providing you're not doing your
online shopping on Cristmas Eve - delivery services are
usually very quick. For example, Justtoys.com pledges to
despatch toys on the same day as the order, providing the
order is placed before 3pm. This site in particular has
enjoyed the benefits of adults returning to their youth,
with increased sales of retro-toys such as the New Series
Radio Controlled Dalek.
If you have any concerns about (or problems with) an online
retailer, the vast majority have customer help lines - which
are either free or charged at local rate, or there is an
e-mail address for sales queries. In essence - online
retailing has become so secure and sophisticated now, why
isn't everyone doing their Christmas shopping online?
Credit information for Christmas:
About the author: Rachel writes about financial and retail
consumer issues for a variety of online publications,
including her own personal finance blog Cashzilla (
http://www.cashzilla.co.uk ). For further
information, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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online? Time to think Christmas!
By: Rob Sullivan, Fri Mar 3rd, 2006
For many retailers now is the time to think Christmas. This
is because at least in terms of search engines now is the
time to make changes so that they have registered in the
organic index. But what does one have to do in order to
prepare for their Chirstmas time online marketing campaign?
In this article, I give some pointers on how to prepare your
organic optimization strategy.
It seems that every year I have to remind my e-tail clients
to prepare for the upcoming season because while it's still
sunny and warm out, they aren't thinking Christmas
(conversely, they aren't thinking summertime in the middle
of February either).
But from a search engine perspective one must prepare a few
months in advance of the season to ensure they reach their
All to often business has to be turned away because an
online retailer comes to my company in November hoping to
compete organically for the Christmas market. When you tell
them that they won't even begin to rank until January they
get very upset.
But this is the reality of today's search engines. It can
(and usually does) take 2 months or more for changes to be
registered and begin competing. In competitive markets it
can take even longer. While in the most competitive markets
it can take years to establish oneself as an authority
So at the very least, now is the time to get your campaign
That means researching keywords, re-optimizing if necessary
and ensuring your site is found in all the major search
engines and directories. So let's look at the steps
Step one - research the keywords your customers will use
As I mentioned in a previous article, you first need to know
who your customers are. Only then can you perform a proper
And I suggest that you do have to perform such an analysis,
even if you know what keywords were used last year. This is
because trends change, and people's search habits change as
Last year your customers may have been new to the whole
online shopping experience. But this year, they are much
more experienced and are likely more able to search and find
what they are looking for.
Also, search engines have changed from what they were a year
ago. Not only is MSN a new engine, but Yahoo! and Google
have also changed their ranking algorithms somewhat in the
That doesn't mean that you should totally forget about last
year's referrals however. No, I'd use them, but use them as
a starting point.
Now since you are going to be researching for future
traffic, you can't really use existing tools such as Yahoo!s
keyword suggestion tool or Google's AdWords sandbox as
effectively because they report on historical search trends.
They can help you create a larger keyword basket, however.
One that you can then use to help refine your keyword
choices and pick phrases which should drive traffic to your
Therefore you also can not rely on the search volumes
provided by such services. You should have a pretty good
idea (again based on last years traffic) what types of
phrases will drive visitors to your site. In this case it is
safe to rely on your gut and judgment as there is nothing
else to help guide you.
Optimizing existing content Once you've created your list of
phrases it is time to re-optimize some pages for those terms
you think will drive the most traffic in a few months.
Remember, you are doing a little forward thinking here,
trying to anticipate what your future customers will do.
Be sure to follow the optimization guidelines provided in
the article I mentioned earlier. You can also follow the
guidelines set forth by Google as they generally apply to
However you do it, try to optimize pages that perhaps aren't
performing as well as other pages. You don't want to harm
existing traffic, you only want to increase the potential of
To be sure you don't harm existing traffic, take a look at
your analytics to find out what phrase are currently driving
traffic, and which pages people are landing on. These are
the pages you don't want to change unless you absolutely
have to. Instead, look for those pages which may apply to
your new phrases and optimize those pages for the phrases.
Create new content
Chances are you won't be able to do too much to the existing
site without harming current rankings. Therefore it may be
time to create new content suited to the new keywords you've
Try to create useful pages, however. Don't make them too
promotional and be sure to link them to other pages within
your site, such as product pages, or pages with more
information. Don't just copy an existing page and re-word it
either. It's best to create fresh new content and work it
into the existing site.
Plan a PPC budget
I can almost guarantee you there will be more websites this
year than last year competing for that online market space.
As more and more retailers find out just how inexpensive
online marketing is compared to other forms of marketing
they will begin to invest heavily in a web presence. This
makes it harder for everyone else to rank competitively.
After all, there is only so much screen space to go around.
If this happens to you and you find someone like Walmart or
Sears moving into your space, it might be worthwhile to
invest in a PPC campaign, at least through the Chirstmas
Consider starting just after Thanksgiving, and watch when
you get the most clicks (and sales) through the campaign.
Then as the weeks go on you can modify the campaign
advertising only when you get the most exposure. This will
help you keep costs down as you won't be paying for clicks
at off peak times which drive little sales to your site.
This type of bidding, often referred to as day parting, is
an effective way to maximize your cost per click, and return
Also, be sure to end your campaign before the last day you
can promise shipping. In other words, if you know that it
takes 5 days to ship your product to your customer, then
quit your PPC campaign on the 18th or 19th. This way you
don't have upset customers who can't get their gifts by the
24th. This will also save you some money as in some cases
the last few days before Christmas become the most active
PPC spendings days.
Hope for the best but prepare for the worst
As with any online venture, there is the potential for
failure. Your web server could fail, or your site could go
down just at a crucial crawling period. While these types of
things rarely do happen, they none-the-less do occur from
time to time.
Therefore you shouldn't focus just on the holiday season.
You must also try and prepare for the times after Chirstmas
when you will still get customers. That is why I said
earlier not to mess too much with existing rankings or
keywords. Why shoot yourself in the foot?
It's best to try and prepare for what's coming a few months
down the road.
In the end, planning for Christmas shopping online isn't
much different than what a store has to go through. They
want to keep their Halloween product on the shelves until
Halloween yet they have to balance that with the Christmas
gifts they could be selling at the same time.
Balance is required with your website as well, you don't
want to alienate existing customers by focusing on Chirstmas
sales, just like you don't want to lose Christmas sales
preparing for boxing week.
So, as you move forward planning your Christmas online
marketing campaign be cognizant of the other efforts you
could be exploring, such as a PPC campaign for those phrases
which you won't be able to compete for effectively. Because
you never know what other potential lies out there waiting
for you to discover it.
About the author: About the author: Rob Sullivan - SEO
Specialist and Internet Marketing Consultant. Any
reproduction of this article needs to have an html link
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Shopping Tips You Must Know
By: Rosie Fletcher, Fri Jun 2nd, 2006
There are a variety of opportunities for holiday shoppers,
including stores, catalogs and the internet. Below are 6
Christmas Shopping tips that should:
Christmas Shopping Tip #1: Shop Early
If you're heading out to the mall this year, have your
shopping list ready. It's a good idea to shop early in the
season because, if you wait too long, that perfect gift may
already be under someone else's tree.
Christmas Shopping Tip #2: Be Polite
Always remember to be polite. The holidays are extremely
busy and store employees are working overtime, so be patient
as you wait for assistance.
Chirstmas Shopping Tip #3: Layaway
If you have a big list, but not quite a budget to match,
consider a layaway. Many stores offer a convenient layaway
plan, which would allow you to make payments up until
Christmas. It saves you from having to charge up credit card
bills or spend a lot of pocket money all at once, so
consider a layaway if you have a big shopping list.
Christmas Shopping Tip #4: Shop Online
If you do decide to shop on the information superhighway
this year, it will save you a lot of time standing in line
at the mall. You can literally shop worldwide with the click
of a button. Browse photos, compare prices, read customer
reviews and see a huge variety of products without having to
leave home. Best of all, in some cases, you won't even have
to pay sales tax on internet orders. Some stores offer free
shipping, quantity discounts and all kids of other
incentives to lure you into their site. In addition, several
televised shopping networks have websites in which they
offer an easy payment program on select items. This means
that you make one payment, using a credit/debit card, and
the product ships out to you immediately. The remaining
payments are billed to your credit card, until the item is
paid in full, for the specified number of months.
Christmas Shopping Tip #5: Place Your Catalog Orders Early
If you're shopping from a catalog this year, be sure to
place the order early. The most popular items sell out
first, so get your order placed and on its way as soon as
possible. There's no need to wait for a catalog to arrive in
the mail because you can log on to the internet and find
many catalog companies online with product photos,
descriptions, size charts and special 'internet only' sale
Christmas Shopping Tip #6: Buy in Bulk
If you have a lot of people to buy for, and aren't exactly
certain of their taste, consider buying in bulk. You can
purchase a nice package of scented candles, divide them up
into multiple gifts and present them with a beautiful bow
wrapped around the glass jar. These types of gifts are ideal
if you have teachers, doctors, co-workers or other special
people that you want to wish a Merry Chirstmas. Another
terrific idea is to purchase small Christmas tins and
several bags of assorted miniature candies. Divide the
candies up into each tin and present them with a beautiful
bow on top. These are ideal gifts because they are
thoughtful, but also budget conscious. You can purchase a
pre-designed tin similar to the one described, but you will
get a much better deal if you make your own. As an added
bonus, you get to decide which candy to include, which isn't
always the case with pre-packaged gifts.
About the author: For more great Christmas related articles
and resources check out
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Shopping Online - 10 Reasons
By: Paul Harvey, Mon Nov 21st, 2005
With the Christmas season approaching, here are 10 reasons
to do your toy shopping online.
1. Child free. Trying to shop for the Christmas presents
with your children in tow does not really work. Why not shop
on the Internet when they are in bed or busy with something
2. Crowd free. Avoid the hustle and bustle of the High
Street, trying to get a pushchair around a cramped and busy
3. 24/7 shopping. The Internet is open for shopping at all
hours. With the exception of a couple of large supermarkets,
why tie yourself to when your local toy shops are open?
4. Range of toys available. You can find pretty much every
toy available on the Internet. It's a great way to find
unusual and different ideas when you get stuck in the rut of
buying the same type of present year after year - after all,
our niche is wooden toys (www.in2play.co.uk) and we stock
some very hard to find items. A surefire way of getting away
from the cloned High Streets and malls we live with today.
5. Time saving. The children are not with you - and do not
know what you have got them. You are not fighting off the
crowds of other shoppers. You can fit your shopping into a
time that is convenient for your. No finding the last
parking space in town. Get the toy shopping out of the way
and when you do go to the High Street, you can relax and
shop for fun.
6. No shopping bags. Five full shopping bags hanging off the
pushchair, the car parked at the top of a multistory carpark
a mile away and the busy shopping center to negotiate. Shop
online and juggling the shopping bags is history (as is
keeping out the little prying hands and eyes).
7. Home or work delivery. The majority of online stores will
happily deliver to your workplace or home. If you want the
toys quickly, many stores will offer a courier option. While
most stores will charge a postage and packing fee, just
think how much you have saved on car parking, petrol and
time - and if you spend enough, the store will probably
throw in free postage.
8. Range of payment options. On the Internet you can pay
easily by card. Many stores will accept payment by cheque or
postal order. Then there are also the online payment options
such as PayPal. Don't forget that PayPal and many banks and
credit card companies offer Internet fraud protection for
9. Discounts. You may well get a good price on the Internet,
but the trick to getting extra discounts is to sign up for
mailing lists on websites that interest you. You will
probably find that from time to time you will get extra
offers, discounts and lower shipping costs.
10. Right to Cancel. In many countries you have extra rights
when purchasing online. In Britain and the EU, you may
cancel your order at any time during the first seven working
days after delivery - for any reason at all.
Above all play safe when paying for your Christmas shopping.
Check the page that asks for your payment details either has
a padlock icon at the bottom or https:// before the web
address. Check that you have 'real world' contact details
for the shop. Do a quick search on the Internet for the
store to see if anyone has reported unresolved problems.
Enjoy your Christmas shopping!
About the author: Paul Harvey is the owner of
in2play wooden toys an online store in the UK. He
is also a teacher of Humanities at secondary (high) level.
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