6 Steps to Staying on Top of the Best Deals
Tons of retailers offer great shopping deals online and off. But staying on top of these deals, especially if they are time-sensitive or you are looking for deals on a specific product, can be a challenge.
Here are six ways I recommend to stay on top of the action, while reducing some of the noise.
1. Subscribe to RSS Feeds
Yes, good old fashioned RSS feeds are a great way to automate gathering deal information. Many retailers, such as Walmart.com, have feeds broken down by category—books, electronics, baby—and even type of deal—clearance, special buys, rollbacks. Each time the site posts a new deal, it is published to their RSS feed automatically.
While setting up RSS feeds sounds really techie, it's actually very easy. You can either set up a standalone application, such as Microsoft Outlook, or use a "cloud-based" system, like Google Reader. The great thing about Google Reader is that your RSS feeds are available regardless of the device you are using.
To subscribe to the feed, just click on "Subscribe to this feed" from within the feed or paste the URL into Google Reader.
2. Configure Google Alerts
Google Alerts enables you to receive customized email or text alerts any time a website publishes a deal related to what you are searching for. Queries may be broad, such as “Home Depot coupon codes” or focused, such as "Samsung C8000 50" LCD sale". And you can fine-tune your search strings by including and excluding terms until your search results are relevant to your interests. Avoid a flood of emails by selecting “Once a Day” alerts, which sends a digest message each evening.
3. Use a Deal-a-Day Tracker
Several dozen websites track deals around the Internet, essentially “doing the dirty work” on your behalf. Some websites post a daily blog post, while others use an automated system that lists the deals each morning.
It's hard to recommend specific sites because there are so many. Search for "deals" and your area of interest, and you'll find plenty of choices. Some interesting ones to check out are zerodaydeals.com and techbargains.com.
4. Receive Deals by Email
Several websites enable users to subscribe to their deal newsletter, which sends an email daily or weekly with the latest deals. For weekly offers, take a look at offers.com.
Getting all those deal emails can clutter your mailbox, so I recommend creating an email “filter” or “rule" that moves all your messages from deal websites into a separate folder.
5. Check Your Favorite Websites
Retailers post time sensitive deals on a routine basis, so determine when your favorite stores post their daily deals. Identify posting patterns by looking at the date and time stamp of their website, and then habitually checking the website around that time. Typically, the most time sensitive deals sell out within a few hours. In addition to the obvious big sellers, such as Walmart and Amazon, sites like woot.com specialize entirely on running daily deal promotions.
Many major retailers use Twitter to post deals and special promotions. And, if you use a product like TweetDeck to manage your Twitter access, it's easy to set up a search that will notify you when it find a Tweet with the words "Sony PS3" AND "deal".
Selena Narayanasamy loves everything that has to do with technology, social media, blogging and writing. You can find her rambling on Twitter or writing on her blog.