No matter how many years you’ve been shopping online or how quickly you can enter your credit card number during checkout, the holidays can push any shopper to their limits. Through the years, I’ve tried a lot of services that claim to make the experience easier, but most don’t hold up over time. These six browser extensions, services, and websites are my ultimate go-tos during every online shopping spree:
- Try.com – This new service has partnered with retailers like ASOS, Zara, Shopbop, SSense, and Kate Spade to allow you to try an item for 10 days payment free. Once you receive your purchase, you can choose to keep it or return it, and after the 10 day trial period your payment method will be charged. It uses a Chrome browser extension to circumvent the payment process, but if you have a coupon code you’d like to use, you can simply share that with your personal shopping assistant over chat before checkout. Try is invite only at this time, but fortunately I have invites to share!
- eBates – The original online shopping shortcut, eBates is a site that gives you cash back for shopping online. Every time you’re ready to browse, visit the eBates website, search for the retailer, and open a link to shop through the eBates portal. Once you’ve checked out, you’ll earn a percentage of your purchase back. Current favorites like Sephora (4% back), ELOQUII (3.5% back), Lane Bryant (2.5% back), and Amazon (up to 10% back) are all available. eBates partners with retailers for affiliate revenue, and they share a portion of that revenue with you. For this reason, eBates may not be compatible with all the services listed here, but it’s a great place to start!
- Honey – Honey is by far my most frequently used service. Similar to Try.com, Honey is best utilized through a Chrome browser extension. Add items you’d like to buy to your cart and begin to checkout. When you arrive at the step to enter your payment and coupon codes, Honey pops up to notify you how many coupon codes that they have for that retailer. With a click of a button, the browser extension automatically tries all the coupon codes available to see which will give you the best deal. Just this Cyber Monday, a retailer I was shopping had 40-50% off without needing a promo code. I used Honey to find a $25 coupon code, and I was able to stack the two with ease (and get free shipping, too!). They also have a new service called HoneyGold, but I don’t have any experience with that (yet).
- ShopStyle – Without a doubt, Shopstyle is the best product search engine available. I use it when I’m looking for generic search terms (black Birkenstocks, for example) or specific items like my recent Kate Spade Pom Baseball Hat purchase. You can compare prices at different retailers, plus set sale alerts for specific items. It’s very helpful if you don’t know exactly what you want or don’t know exactly which retailer has a specific product available.
- RetailMeNot – Before I used Honey, I relied heavily on RetailMeNot for coupon codes and discounts. It’s essentially a coupon search engine and app where you search for the retailer you’re shopping to find the latest codes available. Similar to eBates, you can click to open a link to the retailer or you can copy & paste the code right from the site. The app uses your location to push coupons to retailers nearby and it’s available for both iOS & Android devices.
- ShopRunner – ShopRunner is a service that offers free two-day shipping at select retail partners like Nine West, Lord & Taylor, Lancome, Avon, Space NK, New Egg, Staples, and more. Think of it as an alternative to Amazon Prime. It’s available for free to select American Express cardholders, or for an annual fee of $79. I got a membership for free during a promotion they were running for Amazon Prime members, and it’s been very convenient. The two retailers I used the most are no longer members of the program, and the lineup does change often so I don’t recommend signing up if you’re intending to use it the most with a specific retailer.
Those are all my online shopping secrets! Did I leave out one of your faves? Please tell me in the comments below so I can give it a try!