Kids goods

RetailMeNot’s Holiday Shopping Tips: Buy Early, Buy Used

Shop early if you want to save money on holiday gifts this year, according to RetailMeNot shopping expert Kristin McGrath — in case you haven’t noticed, Black Friday sales have slipped from Thanksgiving until October.

RetailMeNot, which calls itself a savings destination, is popular with bargain hunters. It provides coupons and promo codes to shoppers and earns commission through retail and branded affiliate programs.

We asked McGrath, who is editor of RetailMeNot’s The Real Deal publication, what shoppers are looking for because now, more than ever, consumers are looking to save money. Savings tips not only come in handy when doing your own holiday shopping this year, but can give salespeople insight into what customers are looking for when shopping for gifts this year.

How can online shoppers get their money’s worth this holiday shopping season?

Kristin McGrath: Give yourself as much time as possible to shop. Retailers are already kicking off holiday early sales now, and we’re expecting plenty more Black Friday early sales throughout October and November leading up to Thanksgiving weekend.

Black Friday deals tend to sell out quickly and are often the last chance to get the absolute lowest price of the season. So buying those early sales can help you get a bargain, take the pressure off the Black Friday weekend, and leave you with Black Friday as your last chance to grab anything you haven’t gotten yet.

Shoppers can use a browser extension like RetailMeNot’s Deal Finder and subscribe to RetailMeNot’s cashback program. This way you don’t leave any savings on the table. (RetailMeNot is hosting its fourth annual Cash Back Day event on November 3-4.)

When giving gifts, some people hate buying second-hand items. Is that more acceptable these days?

Kristin McGrath: This is quite acceptable. Some people may actually prefer second-hand gifts for ethical reasons, especially when it comes to children’s and baby items. Kids won’t notice if an item is an open box or like-new vs. new item, and Amazon’s Renewed section has plenty of options.

Additionally, you can buy new items with tags on platforms like Marketplace and Poshmark.

Are there ways online sellers can attract environmentally conscious people when selling refurbished or used goods?

Kristin McGrath: Retailers can certainly look into the environmental factor, but ultimately shoppers want to know they’re getting good quality and a good deal. So these are things that sellers selling refurbished products can focus on.

Offer a solid return policy or limited warranty, so the buyer knows they’re out of luck if the item is defective, and can buy with the same confidence as buying new.

Emphasize the savings they get and clearly state the quality of the item. A buyer will want to know, for example, if the item is new with tags or in its original packaging, if they are giving it as a gift. Additionally, more and more retailers are becoming more packaging conscious, offering biodegradable or compostable options. Online shoppers can also request minimal packaging options.

Let us know what trends you see in the comments below and how you’re saving money on your purchases this year.

Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is the co-founder and editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on e-commerce since 1999. She is a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is the author of “Turn eBay Data Into Dollars” ( McGraw-Hill 2006). His blog was featured in the book “Blogging Heroes” (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (September 2005 – present) and Investigative Journalists and Editors (March 2006 – present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send topical tips to [email protected] See disclosure at