Find Deals Online For Holiday Shopping

The Huffington Post Canada   First Posted: 11/25/2011 7:12 am EST Updated: 10/31/2012 7:07 pm EDT

There was a time when coupon clipping was an activity done in private. Today, we show off our discounts proudly, flashing Groupons and e-mails without shame. And why not? With all the options available, it's only suckers who pay full price anymore. Take advantage during the holiday season with tips on how to get your best deal online.

Store-Specific Apps

With more Canadians using their smartphones and tablets to purchase items (Google's 2011 Holiday Season study puts the number at around 60%), stores are getting on board by creating their own apps.

This year, Sears Canada made its much-loved Wish Book into an iPad app, turning the 60-year-old catalogue into a virtual shopping device. It's indicative of what many companies are aiming for -- a huge range of products, a 'wish list' for potential purchases, sharing tools for every form of social media, and best of all, notations on price points and when their discounts will be changing.

Group Deals

If you have so far avoided getting on any group deal's e-mail distribution lists, well, kudos to you, even if this is the time of year when you won't be compelled to just hit 'delete'. These mass buying discounts can be serious money savers -- though we would suggest buying a gift with them, rather than simply handing over the coupon.

Sign up for a site like Onespout.com, which is currently available in almost 40 different areas in Canada. It amasses the deals from various group sites according to your preferences, including categories and per cent of discount.

"Friend" Discount

In the age of Facebook, those 'family and friends' coupons take on a whole new meaning. 'Liking' a store or company on the social networking site can lead to one-time discounts, coupons or information about special in-store shopping days, among other deals.

Kiehl's Canada is one of the companies that's already taking advantage of their captive audience, having offered free shipping, sample products and taxes off in the past few weeks.

Comparison Shopping

One of the Internet's greatest consumer strengths is its ability to chart the price points of products across different stores. Available as both traditional and mobile apps, it's a great opportunity to put your machinery to work for you.

While there are innumerable American options for such sites, Canadians are a bit more limited. Shoptoit.ca does a good job of representing many potential categories, showing both their online and brick-and-mortar pricing.

Coupon Websites

Sites offering discounts have been around since dial-up connections became commonplace, but around the holidays, they can also provide some much-needed gift inspiration along with budget-friendly options. Look to websites like Smartcanucks.ca and Canadiandailydeals.com for their many posted coupons, all of which you can be confident will work in Canada.

Know When The Deals Are

Thanks to the advent of Cyber Monday -- heck, thanks to the advent of the Internet -- Canadians now have access to those tempting Black Friday deals. Steep discounts on electronics and entertainment items are the hot tickets this November 25, and companies are upping the ante by targeting Canada.

"Canadians were just as interested and enthusiastic about Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals as Americans, but they just didn't have easy access," says Amazon.ca spokesperson Tracy Ogden. "So we put together a great list of Black Friday deals and the response was overwhelming."

Some specific deals Ogden points to for this year, in addition to Amazon's holiday gift guides, include a one-day price on November 25 for a Milwaukee compact drill and impact driver combo kit (66% off) and deals throughout the November 21 to December 3 shopping period for things like tablets as low as $169.

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