Social Shopping: How to and Where to

By now, you’ve surely heard the term “social shopping”, or perhaps “flash sale”.  If you’re not quite sure what these types of deals are, let me tell you what I’ve learned.

Social Shopping sites offer a product or service, locally and nationally, at a decent savings (50-80% typically) for a short period of time. The timing is critical, most sites have a countdown clock providing you with the urge to buy now!  Take it from my experience, if you think it’s a good deal (and if you’re a money saver, you know exactly what’s a good deal and what’s not), and if it’s something you will use or you would gift it to someone who would use it, go ahead and buy it because before you know it the countdown has expired or the limited quantity has sold out.  I get in such a hurry to share a deal with everyone and I kick myself for not buying the deal first, then sharing it. Many a time I’ve forgotten until it was too late.

While most social shopping / deal-of-the-day sites I have come across have catered to women, many such as Groupon have a very wide appeal, offering deals on everything from indoor rock climbing to cooking classes and vacation getaways.

Here is a list of the sites I’ve come across, with links to sign up and what you need to know. As I hear about more I’ll continue to add to the list.

  • Bitsy Bug:  This site is geared to your “little bug”. Children’s room decor, personalized gifts, boutique shoppes and more. They even featured a Nordstrom deal a couple weeks ago!
  • Daily Lunch Deal:  I think the title speaks for itself!
  • DealChicken:  Brought to you by Gannett Media, the folks behind newspapers and television stations across the country. Deals are available in 50 local markets as well as national.
  • Eversave:  Earn $5 to start you off just for signing up.
  • Fab.com: This new daily deal site is all about style & design, at 70% off retail prices.
  • Groupon: Most likely the pioneer of the social shopping era. Whereas in the beginning there was only one general deal page, now there are multiple subcategories such as Getaway and Goods. Check the top menu and side banner for other deals in your area.
  • HauteLook: High fashion, trendy clothes, shoes and accessories. Simply fab!
  • Get My Perks:  These are offered by Entercom media company, locally in the Indy area these are radio stations WZPL, 107.9 The Mix and 1430AM.
  • Living Social: Be sure to also check out Living Social Family edition, and Living Social Escapes for travel deals.
  • Mamasource Sweet Deals: When you purchase from Mamasource, you can specify your favorite school to which they’ll donate 5% of every purchase you make.
  • Moolala:  A unique twist on their referral program is the PayMatrix, you earn 2% cash on your purchases, on your friends’ purchases, their friends’ purchases, and so on. Plus with their “Buy and Share” program, you can earn more cash back on your deal purchases.
  • Open Sky: Sign up for favorite product deals from reknowned chefs, designers and more!
  • Plum District:  Growing fast in numerous markets, with local consultants bringing great discounts for moms and families.
  • Saveology:  In addition to great 1-day only deals, they also offer exclusive deals for first-time users.
  • Sneakpeeq: Hottest trends and celebrity styles. You’ll earn $10 to use on your first purchase just for signing up!
  • SweetJack: Owned by Clear Channel Radio, they have a good deal of local deals for markets such as Indianapolis, and nationwide. Earn $10 for each friend that purchases deals you share!
  • Totsy:  Boutique-style children’s clothes, housewares and more. Socially conscious efforts; they plant a tree in your name for every purchase.
  • Zulily:  Cute, trendy children’s clothes up to 70% off, plus deals for women and around your home.

The Pro’s:

  1. Most of the time you’re getting a sweet deal at a ridiculous savings.
  2. Expiration dates vary, but most extend 6 months or more. So if a deal is really good, I try to think of birthday/Christmas gift shopping. Your purchased deals will stay on your account page until you’re ready to print and use in-store, or just pull up the code and use online.
  3. Almost all that I’ve seen offer bonus credit when you refer new friends to their site, in terms of dollars off future deals, or refer 3 friends and earn the current deal for free.

The Con’s:

  1. When the deal is from an online-only website, your frame of reference for “good deal” is jilted, unlike walking into a store and seeing the “normal” price tag and knowing what a “good deal” is.
  2. Shipping/handling is often excluded (although I have purchased deals where it’s included), and sometimes  you could find a better deal by using discount codes on your own.

One final note:

  • Read the fine print. Some offers may only be valid on full-priced merchandise, so you can’t swoop in and buy up all their clearance items for next to nothing. Be sure you know when your offer expires, and for Pete’s sake, use it before then! If the offer is for a restaurant, be sure you understand any restrictions like time of day, days of week, limit 1 voucher per party, etc.

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