Online shopping “deals” sites are becoming a dime a dozen. Those that boasts the best buys, along with coupon codes, are popping up with their own websites, blogs, forums, Facebook fan pages, and even iPhone apps. You shouldn’t confuse their willingness to share savings opportunities with a genuine desire to help you save money, however. These clues can help you pick out the sites that will be easier on your budget.
The site is updated at least daily. It’s not as important that a site include all the newest deals as that they are refreshed often enough to take down old deals. Any site that lists deals less than daily is not likely to be fully dedicated to making sure that expired offers are removed. This saves you time and money trying to redeem offers that won’t be very rewarding upon checkout.
Offers are qualified as true “savings” opportunities. As you already know, as sale is not always a good deal. Sites that can’t seem to give an indication of just how good a deal really is may be sending you down a path of buying an item that doesn’t offer much of a discount. Sites that share the historical regular price or a percentage of savings along with the deal can help you gauge the true savings potential for each offer.
Deals come from all retailers. Because deal sites make money when you buy through their links and generate affiliate revenue, they will likely work hard to promote those companies that they have a commissioned relationship with. This shouldn’t cause them to leave out great deals from companies that they don’t earn anything from, however. If you commonly see the same store sales over and over, with no mention to fabulous buys from other stores, the site may not be trying as hard to help you save as they are trying to line their pockets.
The community is involved. Sites that supplement their listing of deals with active discussions from their readers can prove to be more valuable than those that only offer a one-sided conversation. Forums and blog comments can be an effective way to see if a deal is still valid, if there are any special “tricks” to getting a discount code to work, and what to expect when inventory starts to be depleted. Communities also help to keep sites in check when they try to pass off a mediocre deal as a good one.
They provide additional tools. Getting great deal updates might be the most important feature of a deal site, but having extra perks can separate the leaders from the rest of the pack. If you want the biggest bang for your buck, search for sites that also engage their readers on blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. Other useful features include mobile apps, calculators, and special shopping guides designed to help you get more for your money in categories you may not be comfortable shopping (such as digital cameras or computer software.)
Sharing deals is the main purpose for a shopping site, but it shouldn’t be the only thing offered. Think about your priorities and the features you find most useful. Does your current online deal portal offer them?
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