Vol.1, No.5

Tips for shopping for gifts online

Tips and suggestions for gift shopping online

Online gift shopping
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Smith
Shopping for gifts, anywhere at anytime, can be a difficult task. Trying to figure out what the intended gift recipient likes and dislikes is enough to send many of us into a fit. Shopping for gifts online has the added risk of difficult returns and decisions on shipping. One advantage is having the gift shipped directly to the recipient. Many online stores will not only ship directly, they will gift-wrap and include a card for a small add-on fee. There are steps to take to make sure that you purchase a gift the receiver will want to keep, and if a gift must be returned that was purchased online, there are tips to make that task more manageable for the recipient.

Gift Cards

Many online stores offer gift cards. If you are only able to narrow the search to a type of gift, this is a good way to go. If giving a gift card though, make sure the recipient has online access and is at ease shopping online, or has access to a brick and mortar store that will accept it, otherwise the card may be a complete waste of money.

Return Issues

If there is even the slightest chance that a gift may need to be returned or exchanged by the gift recipients themselves, ask if the store offers a gift receipt before purchasing. Also, inquire about any special rules that apply to returns and exchanges, such as restocking fees. Many times, issues such as these may make the purchase not an ideal gift. This is an area where knowledge can really be important. If a return may be needed, you can always make the offer upfront when giving the gift that you will happily handle any returns or exchanges necessary. Include a small note in regards to the issue in the gift card or attached directly to the item.

Where to Shop

If you have a good idea of the type of gift you are interested in, the Internet can be a great way to narrow your search and find the perfect gift. Start by doing a search at Google, Yahoo, or other major search engine for a website related to the type of product you are searching. If you do not have a clear idea of what you are shopping for, do a search for gift shopping or gifts, and you will be directed to websites that will try to help you narrow down a gift choice. Some stores, such as Red Envelope, allow you to shop by occasion. They provide a list of occasions including Father's Day, graduation, wedding, birthday, new baby, get well, and many more, and suggest gifts for these specific occasions, possibly saving you valuable time by providing suitable choices already broke down into the detailed categories.

Finding the Perfect Gift

More then any other shopping experience you will encounter, you should really know the person you are shopping for before making an online gift purchase. Ask yourself why you are purchasing it, how important the occasion is, and if it is wise to purchase a gift for the occasion sight unseen. If you already know what you want and are just shopping online to get a better deal, still make sure you are aware of any return or guarantee issues.