(StatePoint) Every procrastinator is familiar with the downsides of last-minute shopping — parking woes, stress-induced headaches and paying premiums for needed items. But these hassles and expenses are avoidable, say experts.
“It’s all about being prepared to shop from your mobile device at any time to jump on amazing time-limited deals,” says Sarah Ward, lead editorial stylist at online retailer, zulily. “In fact, we found that 51 percent of people purchase gifts one to three months in advance.”
Now, with so many shopping options, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. To manage your everyday as well as special gift-giving occasions, get savvy with these shopping tips from Ward.
• Mobilize yourself. Download favorite shopping apps so they’re easily accessible. The next time you have five minutes of downtime, browse for items you’re inspired by and will want to gift down the line.
• Be an in-the-know techie! Most retailers offer channels for staying in-the-know on the next big deal, helping you take advantage of special finds when the price is right. Pop onto your favorite retailers’ Facebook pages and subscribe to their Facebook Live notifications. For instance, online retailer zulily encourages its shoppers to sign up for daily emails, mobile push notifications and Facebook Messenger alerts tailored to their personal shopping desires. The site also allows you to “heart” brands so you get alerted the next time a sale runs featuring the brand you love, and its “notify me” feature lets you know when a desired product is back in-stock.
• Keep a gift closet. When it comes to meaningful gift giving, you can never be too on-the-ball. While shopping, always keep in mind your nearest and dearest, even if their birthdays or special occasions are months away. When you encounter an item that’s particularly unique or especially “her” or “him” — whether it’s llama salt and pepper shakers, a new blender for her famous margaritas, a STEM toy or emoji slippers – it’s always worthwhile to buy the gift while it’s available at a great price, and then stash it until the time is right. This is especially true of personalized gifts that may require advance planning.
“I love purchasing gifts for my nieces and nephews from zulily in advance of Halloween and the holidays, since I can shop great deals before they’re traditionally available,” says Ward.
• Shop aggressively. Leverage special events offering deals on fashion, kitchen and home supplies and fun finds for kids that you want and know you’ll need down the line.
For example, happening July 23-27 is the inaugural zulily Thrill Week, the retailer’s biggest sale of the year. For five days, the site and mobile app will feature extreme daily deals, such as a new wardrobe for the price of a scarf, as well as “Dashes for the Deal” — time-limited savings on products such as designer sunglasses for $29.99 or a luxurious cashmere shawl for $19.99. In culmination of Thrill Week, on July 28, zulily will award a total of 100 shopping sprees worth $150 to randomly selected winners. Since the site launches over 100 sales a day, typically lasting 72 hours, they can offer great products at incredible prices. So, you can prepare ahead and be cool, calm and collected before the next big event while friends and family are last-minute-shopping.
Save time, money and avoid stress. Let new tech tools help you become a year-round savvy shopper.