Posts Tagged ‘Amazon.com’

3 surefire ways to save money when shopping online

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

I realize that the online holiday shopping season is drawing to a close, but I thought I would share these three money-saving tips that I discovered this year when shopping online. I hope that they will save you some cash. Oh, and if you have any other online shopping, money-saving tips, please leave them in the comments below. Thanks!

1. Group a lot of items into one order to take advantage of the free shipping deal. I hate paying shipping costs. Paying for shipping is actually the only reason that I do ANY of my shopping at the malls these days – I just can’t bear to pay $20 in shipping for my $20 item. A lot of sites offer free shipping for orders over a certain amount. Amazon.com (my favorite online retailer) offers free shipping for orders over $25. Crate and Barrel has free shipping on orders over $100. If you group a lot of items together and buy them all from one place, the shipping charges are erased.

Crate and Barrel free shipping

2. Comparison shop using awesome online tools. There are a number of shopping sites that will allow you to comparison shop if you know what you want, but not necessarily where you want to buy it. For example, I bought Chris (my husband) a Ray Allen Celtics t-shirt for Christmas. To find the best price, I used a number of sites to compare prices. I looked up Ray Allen t-shirt on Amazon, I checked out prices on Google Product Search (which used to be called Froogle), and BizRate, which is an online shopping comparison tool. This not only let me get a quick look at all the various styles of shirts, but it also let me find the price that fit my budget. (Don’t worry, I can write this with no fear of Chris seeing it because he doesn’t read my blog. If you know him, please feel free to give him a hard time about this fact when you see him next, as long as it’s after Christmas!)

Ray Allen Comparison shopping

3. Make sure you do a search to find coupons. I’m not a big coupon clipper. Don’t get me wrong, I love when I have a coupon. But it’s rare that I take the time to pour through ads to find a coupon for something I might be buying at some possible time in the future. I am, however, a huge user of online coupons.

I was turned onto the online coupon tactic through buying domain names. I always register my domain names through GoDaddy.com, and it has a perpetual coupon (code: OYH3) that lets me buy .com domain names for $2.50 off. Since my company owns almost 400 domain names, you can see why this cost-savings is appealing.

UPDATE: The “perpetual” GoDaddy.com coupon is no longer working! So try this one: OYH7. Although if this doesn’t work, make sure that you search Google for “GoDaddy coupons” before buying. (Hat tip: @longest)

This year, I tried out this tactic with online shopping. Online coupon hunting doesn’t have a 100% success rate – sometimes I could find a coupon, and sometimes I couldn’t. But if you do find a coupon that works, it will be worth the time you spent looking. There are many sites that are dedicated to online coupons (Coupons.com, CouponCabin and CoolSavings are just some of them). But I prefer to use Google and type in my search, such as “Coldwater Creek Coupon.” In that real-life example, I found a coupon that saved me 40% off my entire order, which was as good as $20 in my pocket.

Coldwater Creek Coupon code

Happy shopping!

An argument against The Long Tail

Monday, July 7th, 2008

The Long Tail is a concept that was set forth in 2004 by Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired, which was then turned into a 2006 book. In short, the idea is that because of the Internet and it’s infinitely wide and Long tail monkeyincredibly low-cost distribution capabilities, the big “hits” of popular culture (be they movies, music, books, etc.) are no longer the only things that will make money. Now, the “misses” will also be money-makers.

But a new article by Anita Elberse just published in the Harvard Business Review called “Should you Invest in The Long Tail” is taking a closer look at the theory and suggesting that businesses really shouldn’t shift their promotional dollars to the long tail – and instead should stick to promoting the winners. She comes to this conclusion after determining that the tail, although long, is very flat and accounting for very few sales, and typically less satisfied consumers.

Anderson replies here.

Elberse responds to Anderson here.

This is a very interesting debate, and one that should be followed by anyone who is involved in marketing or advertising online. Anderson and Elberse have taken a great deal of time looking at data and doing analysis on this concept, but here are some thoughts based on reading the articles.

– Anderson seems to be focusing on the fact that online retailers like Amazon.com will begin selling a lot of items in the long tail. Whether or not it’s true is practically irrelevant for the vast number of online businesses. Most businesses don’t have the reach of Amazon.com and are targeted at a much smaller audience. The people who run those businesses know that 80% of their business comes from the top 20% of their clients and customers – so they will continue to focus their attention – both time and money – on reaching those clients/customers. Now they have Elberse’s data to back them up.

– People buy stuff that other people like. This is why user recommendations (such as those on Yelp or TripAdvisor) are so popular, and why the head of the tail keeps growing in popularity. People like to have a choice, but when their time is limited, they typically will go with the easier choice. And it’s easy to choose something that has been recommended by someone they trust – or an online audience of their peers.

– The long tail does exist and consumers are benefiting from more choice – but the tail isn’t a place that any musician or artist or blog or business wants to be. And may not be a place where money can be made. According to the data collected by Elberse and cited by Anderson, “In music, of the 2.4 million digital tracks sold in 2007 in the US (most of them through iTunes) 24% sold only one copy and 91% sold fewer than 100 copies.” 100 copies sold through iTunes (at $.99 each) isn’t even enough money to buy a new guitar.

Photo by loufi

Cara Austin debut is amazing

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Cara Austin Send MeI have written about my friend Cara a number of times in the past, and today I am proud to annouce the launch of her new CD and Website. The CD – Send Me – is available for download or purchase at all the standard musical locations – Amazon.com, iTunes, Rhapsody, and CDBaby – but it SOLD OUT in the first day from Amazon, so they are waiting to get some more copies in and are temporarily out of stock.

I highly recommend that you check out these tunes – you’ll hear interesting lyrics, a great message that gets into your head and your soul, and I am constantly impressed with her songwriting skills.

Cara is one of the people who I admire most in the world – this is someone who everyone will want to get to know, check it out.