Shopping & Sales

Five Tips on Finding the Best Gifts Online

Savvy shoppers know the best ways to find gifts is to shop online. Shopping online gives you the chance to compare prices, avoid the crowds, and purchase exactly what you need.

By: S. Kate Hobbs
Published: Thursday, April 16, 2009 | 12:42 PM


Savvy shoppers know the best ways to find gifts is to shop online. Shopping online gives you the chance to compare prices, avoid the crowds, and purchase exactly what you need from the comfort of your own home. However, the World Wide Web can seem overwhelming to the new online shopper, so here are some tips to help you find the best possible gifts when shopping online.

Think About the Recipient

One benefit of shopping for gifts online is the fact that you can get just about anything online. You are not limited to what is on hand at your favorite store. Before you even begin online shopping, make sure you have thought about your recipient. Even if the intended recipient is someone who “has everything,” think about his or her likes and dislikes. Consider making a list of the hobbies and interests of that person, and then use those to help you search. Does someone you know love golf? You can search for “gifts for golfers” or “golf gifts” to help narrow down the options.

Read Reviews

Before you buy anything online, even if it seems like the perfect gift, take some time to find reviews on the item. Many sites allow users to review items they have purchased, and other sites exist only to allow people to share reviews of various items. Check reviews before buying to make sure the item is a quality item.

If an item does not have any reviews, proceed with caution and do a little more research. If it is a brand new item, that may be the reason it has not been reviewed. If it has been on the market for a while, consider choosing something else, because a lack of reviews could mean that few people have purchased the item for a reason you have missed. Additionally, avoid buying items that have a great number of negative reviews, but do not let a few negative reviews deter you from buying the perfect gift. In the world of online shopping, some people will never be happy with their purchase, no matter how good the quality may be.

Consider Personalization

One way to make an OK gift the perfect gift is to personalize it. Back to the golfer example, you can buy your favorite golfer a towel or some balls to use on the greens. However, this is not a sensational gift. If you have that towel or those golf balls personalized, you create an even more pleasing gift. This is easy to do when with online shopping.

Check Shipping

Remember that shipping is a huge factor in the price and accessibility of online items. For instance, if you live outside of the United States, you may have limited options for shipping. For instance, online shopping Canada style requires that the shopper check shipping before making a purchase. Make sure shipping to your location is available before you get your heart set on a particular purchase.

If shipping is available, make sure it is reasonable. Sometimes an affordable item is priced well below retail to encourage you to buy, but the retailer makes up the difference in the “handling” charges attached to the shipping cost. Be sure to plan for the shipping cost when budgeting for your gift purchase.

Check Return Policy

Of course, you will probably find the perfect gift when shopping online, but you never know when something will arrive damaged or someone else may get the same gift for the recipient. Make sure that you can return the item, and find out whether or not you will have to pay to return the gift. Hopefully you will not need to use this option, but online shopping brings with it different rules about returns than you will have when shopping in a retail store, so be sure to ask. By being a wise online shopper, you will be able to find the best gift without leaving your home.