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Release Date: 09/13/2010

Hidden Discounts! Finding Great Online Deals on Practically Everything with ShopSmart

00SSCover102K10YONKERS, NY—Checking out at a shopping site with your goodies can be a thrill, but were there special deals or discounts you missed? A new guide in the October 2010 issue of ShopSmart, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, eliminates these nagging doubts for its readers by sharing the latest tips and tools to find the best deals on the Web. These new strategies offer convenient and interactive ways to bargain-hunt online.

“Between price-comparison search engines, the power of social networking, and specialty sites catering to every need, there are more ways than ever to save on purchases made online,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “If you know where to look, it’s easy to cut costs on virtually anything, and ShopSmart will point you in the right direction.”

ShopSmart’s “6 New Ways to Save” features tips on bagging bargains for almost any product, cool new tools to locate special deals (including apps that run in the background of your computer while you shop to alert you to better prices before you buy), strategies to outsmart Internet thieves bent on nabbing your personal info, and a step-by-step guide to zeroing in on the best deals on the Web. Below is a sampling of some of ShopSmart’s advice.

Money-Saving Strategies for Shopping on the Web:

START YOUR ENGINES: Price-comparison search engines are a great savings shortcut.

  • PriceGrabber.com:  ShopSmart found the lowest prices on six of the eight items on its shopping list here. Also, the site calculates tax and shipping when you enter your zip code. The results are easy to read and include seller ratings. 
  • Bing.com: Click on “shopping,” choose a product category, then a specific product. Pages of photos and specs will pop up: click on “compare prices” to see what deals are out there—those with a “free shipping” tag offer just that.  

PINPOINT LOCAL SALES: Local search engines find the best price in your area.

  • Milo.com: This site is great for checking local inventory at national retailers such as Target and Barnes & Noble, and at mom-and-pop stores, too. You can sort by products on sale, and price- and in-stock alerts are nice.
  • TheFind.com: This site has deep listings for a huge range of items, and the clothing and home categories are a good place to start. The clean interface lets you sort results by location, store, brand, color, price range—even items with coupons or special promotions are attached.

TRY A SPECIALTY SITE: From books to electronics, there’s one for every kind of product.

  • Alibris.com: Scours independent booksellers to deliver top bargains in new and used books, DVDs, and rare first editions. Check out the 99-cent book section and subscribe to the site’s e-newsletter to get money-saving coupons.
  • Retrevo.com: Not only does Retrevo pull up the best buys on computers, TVs, cell phones, and more; it also gives you user reviews, detailed specs, and downloadable manuals. And it’s easy to search.

GET IN ON GROUP DEALS: “Group buying” sites offer hefty discounts. 

  • Groupon.com: Posts limited-time deals for local services and merchandise. Available for 65 cities across the U.S., a recent deal slashed $20 worth of food and drinks at a restaurant by half.
  • LivingSocial.com: As with Groupon, a minimum number of people must click the “buy” button, or the deal is off. Available in 56 cities, a recent deal offered half off a salon haircut.

DIAL UP SAVINGS: Both smart and regular phones offer several (free!) shopping apps.

  • Yowza.com: Follow a few simple steps to tag your favorite retailers, and you’ll get a notification every time they post a coupon. Available on the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Palm Pre.
  • Point Inside: This mall navigation app tells you exactly where your favorite stores (and the bathroom and the up escalator) are in hundreds of shopping malls nationwide. Available on the iPhone, Android, iPod Touch and iPad.

MAKE FRIENDS: Get feedback on your shopping decisions through social networking.    

  • Blippy.com: A mashup of Twitter, Facebook, and your credit-card statement. Every time you make a purchase, you can post what you spent and where you spent it. Friends can “like” or comment on your purchase.
  • FriendShopper.com: Shop with a friend in real time. Say an online sample sale is starting in 10 minutes. Add the “bookmarklet” to your browser and sign in to the IM chat with your friend, share images of the dresses you’re considering adding to your cart, and get an immediate response on whether she thinks it’s for you.

About ShopSmart magazine:
Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon Consumer Reports’ celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. The magazine features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. ShopSmart is ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at www.ShopSmartmag.org.

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