If the thought of hitting the malls the day after Thanksgiving makes your stomach turn, check out this great list of Web sites that will have your computer on fire by the time Cyber Monday rolls around.
Newegg.com is a great site offering competitive prices on more than 25,000 computer hardware, software, consumer electronics and communications products. If you’re looking for a gift for the techie in your family, this is the place to go. But keep in mind, it is geared toward geeks, and is not the prettiest site to look at and is not that easily navigated.
Overstock provides shoppers with a “Gift Finder” that allows you to select the occasion, age range, relationship and interest and provides affordable ideas. While it does offer some good deals, the site doesn’t seem to offer the same bargain basement prices as some of the other sites.
This is the best site for comparison shopping. It seems you can find everything here from mullet wigs to gourmet gift baskets.
Foogle.google.com’s product search engine is the best and shoppers can find just about any product description entered into its search box, along with several like items.
It has an easy to read layout and finding the best priced items is a breeze.
Shipping information is easily accessible too. Consumers can view shipping information by selecting Google’s checkout option, where consumers will be redirected to a page with complete and clear shipping information and return policies. Otherwise, you’re at the mercy of the merchant’s site and shipping availability.
Froogle is a safe bet for finding a particular item and the best price. But the shopper looking for gift ideas might be better off at another site.
This site wins points for originality.
Mysimon had the most unusual but helpful gift guide where shoppers can browse Oprah’s “favorite things,” at compared prices.
Products on Mysimon.com are sorted from the lowest to the highest price, making it easy to select the best deal, but product descriptions were not available until the shopper is redirected to the merchant’s site.
The list of inventory categories is one of the most complete of all the comparison sites I researched. The gift guide is also just as complete with a large amount of options and comparisons.
This site’s best feature is its links to “Consumer report” information on the product of interest. And for the stumped shopper, mysimon.com offers a “most popular items” link.
However, no sales tax or shipping information could be found.
This was the most unique of the shopping sites and while it’s not necessarily a comparison shopping site, thefind.com offers greater access to products available on the web.
The site claims to have an “unbiased and objective product ranking engine,” and doesn’t necessarily limit its inventory to merchants who pay for to have their product featured on the site.
The site has a unique search query system where shoppers can refine his product search to color, style or sale.
For example, when prompted to search for a “coach hobo bag,” pages and pages of Coach Hobo bags were displayed along with like items, including hobo bags that weren’t Coach, or other Coach bags that weren’t “hobo” style.
And shoppers can refine their searches further by color, style, sale, or all of the above. After re-submitting the search query for “black Coach Hobo bag,” there only two pages to search through.
However, the findings weren’t arranged in order of lowest to highest price. The consumer needs to funnel through the pages before determining the best price.
Not necessarily the best site for the deal seeker, but it is a good solution for those searching for a hard-to-find gift.
Nextag.com stands out with its “true piece” element and easy-to-find shipping and tax information. The site also offers one of the largest inventories of all researched sites.
One the best features is the “trusted seller indication” icon. A shopper can have a bit of peace of mind when the product they select is considered a trusted seller on the site.
But the product descriptions are minimal, making it necessary to redirect to the merchant’s site.
The site price alert feature allows the deal hunter to be alerted if the desired product becomes even cheaper.
The gift guide was hard to find, but it’s to the point, offers no suggestions, but the does have a price search query allowing the shopper to indicate exactly how much they wish to spend on an item.
This site is better for the shopper with a particular gift in mind.
The drawback here was that there seemed to be too many links to sift through to get the desired info.
Amazon.com is one of the largest of the Web’s shopping sites, but unlike the others, amazon.com sets itself apart by offering gift wrapping.
Shipping information wasn’t offered until check out and the shipping rates, methods, and terms are set by individual merchant.
The upside is amazon.com is great at offering sales and items, and even offers used products for those seeking the best deal.
Last minute shoppers will do well here as amazon.com offers a $79 fee for free 2-day shipping good for a year. The shopper can then upgrade to 1-day shipping for $3.99.
But the site does not offer a customer service number, forcing the shopper to e-mail Amazon for information.
The other drawback with Amazon is the account requirement.
Surprise.com has a significant database of unique gift ideas from hundreds of different websites. The site had one of the best inventory selections along with an inspired gift guide with categories like “Works Too Much, Always cold, or Foodie.”
The site also offers unique gift ideas like maid service.
The hitch here was customer service and shipping information were not easily available.
However, the site offers a Best Gifts Under $30 section, great for those hunting for stocking stuffers.
If the shopper has a bottomless supply of money and isn’t concerned with easily finding shipping information, this is a good choice.
A great feature on this site is that the best deal is listed before all other product results.
The site also keeps close tabs on the “bad merchants” which are quickly given the boot.
Product descriptions are thorough and even include video reviews of select products.
But for those who need a little help with gift selection, the site doesn’t offer the most complete gift guide. Their guide only had four categories and only redirects shoppers to the merchant’s site.
This site wasn’t the easiest to navigate and didn’t supply shipping information.
Shopping.com is a comparison shopping site associated with eBay.
So the one-stop-shopping hopeful might do well here especially if he or she is looking for a deal.
A great feature here is the easy access to shipping information and rates before checkout. The downside here is that the shopper must create an account before purchase.