Advice for holiday shopping

With Christmas quickly approaching, people are looking for the best and fastest ways to find a bargain. And what better way to shop for your loved ones than online? There is more variety, sometimes cheaper options and purchases can be shipped directly to your loved ones wherever they may be.

The Calgary Journal caught up with Michelle Madhok, an online shopping expert out of New York and the founder of SHEfinds media (a chain of shopping advice websites for women; Shefinds.com and momfinds.com) to find out some more advantages of online shopping this season.

Madhok is no stranger to the media as she has been seen in
numerous magazines, TV shows, radio shows and newspapers; including the Tyra banks show and a weekly style column for New York’s Metro newspaper. Some of her experience before SHEfinds includes working with CBS Broadcasting and AOL. Madhok also works as an independent writer and released her newest book this summer.

CEO of SHEfinds media, Michelle Madhok considers herself a shopping expert and swears by online buys.

Photo courtesy of Michelle MadhokCJ: Tell us a little bit about what you do.

MM: I run a website that helps busy women shop online;
SHEfinds.com and MOMfinds.com and we consider ourselves shopping experts; we tell you everyday what’s on sale and what you should buy. It’s all about
helping you get the best deals.

CJ: Do you like shopping online more than conventional shopping?

MM: Definitely. You can compare prices much easier, you can
set up price alerts and you know when prices drop. I think it’s just much more efficient and there are much better deals and many more things that you can’t find in stores that are all accessible online.

CJ: What do you think of shopping for the holidays?

MM: I think it’s great! Especially because you can have
things shipped directly to whomever you are sending it to. You just need to be careful you double check the shipping date and that the item is in stock.

CJ: So in general can you get most items for cheaper when shopping online?

MM: Yes.

CJ: How can people know when they have spotted a good deal online?

MM: Well you should always compare prices, which is really
quick, all you have to do is go to a search engine like a pricegrabber.com and see if there is anything less expensive, because sometimes even when sites say they have a huge sale you can find it for less expensive somewhere else. So it’s good to do a good check before you hit buy.

When shopping online, be sure to stick to sites that have contact information.This ensures that a site is the real deal.

Photo courtesy of SHEfinds.comCJ: For those of us who are afraid of online shopping, how can you spot a phony sale online?

MM: If it’s a site you have never heard of, what you should
do is Google the name of the site with a word beside it like ‘scam’ or ‘fraud’ and see what comes up. Also, you can go to Ripoff Report and search the name of the site.

Now you should also go click around on the site and see if there is anything fishy, like no contact information, based out of a foreign country, those kinds of thing. But no matter what, if you use your credit card than then you can always report fraud and get your money back. Never use a debit card. Debit hooks directly into your account so once you move the money that’s it. If you use your credit card the credit company takes care of it for you.

CJ: Is there something that online shoppers should be especially cautious of during the Christmas season?

MM: Just make sure that you know the return policies and
that you know how much the shipping costs. Sometimes the shipping is so
expensive it eats into the good deal you have.

swatt@cjournal.ca

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