Shop Smart

Now that the holiday season is fully upon us, I have begun my search for the perfect gifts for my family, in-laws and friends. To commence this daunting task, I either request top 5 lists or shop online. Now, I consider myself an avid online shopper. In one day, I can receive up to 40 emails from stores informing me about their deals of the day, new products or diminishing inventories (sure I should unsubscribe, but  I like to be informed). The one main thing I have noticed about my online shopping experiences lately, is that I get overwhelmed when I have too many options. Perhaps it’s a shopper’s case of too long; didn’t read. For the past few weeks, I have been searching for a gift, within a certain budget, for two of my girlfriends (no point in going in the red over gift-giving). I have a general idea of what I’m looking for, but don’t want the gifts to turn out to be lemons. Since I’m shopping online, I won’t be able to test any products first hand. Also, I don’t have a lot of time to spend looking at every single possible option on the market.

To address my concerns, I resort to filters and expert opinion via reviews or curated lists. In my view, any online retailer that doesn’t have some combination of these features risks loosing my business!

Take for example. Having bought a pair of durable rain boots at a discount, I can attest to the value the e-tailer brings for deal conscious fashion-lovers such as myself. Unfortunately, for the past month, every time I try to browse the site, I end up having to sift through too many pages of products (even after choosing my filters).  Usually, after 15 minutes, I select an item or two, add them to my cart and close the tab. Enough for me. is another similar site that has so much potential, but ends up presenting too much stuff.

Recently, I have noticed an increase in fashion start-ups with the concept of a top 10 list at their cores; some retailers have also started having their editors and buyers create curated lists of products. Rank and Style, one site that comes to mind, presents lists of many things women might shop for. The site also explains how products made it to the list and why it ranks items higher than other. The site also offers a “request a list service” which is perfect for people like me who 1. like lists and 2. like efficiency., a site that pulls products from all over the internet, has guests (usually fashion bloggers and editors) create lists for shoppers. I can quickly skim the list, find things I like and get on with the rest of my day. These sites suit me well because, as a young professional, I have many things to think about at once (my career, relationships, socializing, traveling…the list goes on!)

Bottom line: When it comes to gift (and soon perhaps general online) shopping, I may just leave the picking to the pros to save time and energy!


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