Being that we’re in the middle of a pandemic (and possibly on the heels of a civil war) you might not want to leave the house to do your holiday shopping. And if you feel this way, you’re not alone.
“According to a recent survey conducted by RetailMeNot, 75% of shoppers prefer online shopping for the holidays this year and 18% of people are planning to complete their holiday shopping online-only,” said Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot.
Fortunately, you can likely do all of your shopping completely online this year — as long as you know where to shop. GOBankingRates spoke to shopping experts to find out their go-to online retailers to buy everything from gifts to decor, plus all of the holiday perks these retailers offer. Here’s where to shop (online) to check off everything on your holiday to-buy list.
You can find pretty much anything you need for the holidays on Amazon, from unique gifts to full-sized artificial Christmas trees — and you can get it fast.
“If you find yourself shopping closer to the holidays, keep in mind that Amazon offers free two-day shipping for Prime members,” said Rebecca Gramuglia, retail expert at TopCashback.com.
American Eagle Outfitters/Aerie
Consumer analyst Julie Ramhold with DealNews.com said that AE and Aerie are some of the best sites to shop online for gifts for others — and yourself.
“Prices tend to be pretty reasonable, so I feel like I can treat myself and a friend without breaking the bank,” she said.
Her go-to items to buy from these sites are underwear, loungewear, sweaters and accessories. And both retailers are extra accommodating for last-minute shoppers, as they offer in-store and curbside pickup at select locations.
“This isn’t strictly a holiday perk, but it’s definitely something that could make your holiday shopping easier this year, especially if you’re worried about items not being delivered on time,” she said. “Check with your local store to see if they offer these pickup options.”
American Eagle and Aerie also offer e-gift cards.
“I realize a lot of stores will offer these, especially this year, but this is such a nice gifting option to have, especially if you don’t know what to buy someone,” Ramhold said. “You don’t have to worry about it being delayed in the mail and not arriving on time, and you can pick from different festive designs.”
Unfortunately, when you shop online, you often have to wrap gifts yourself as many retailers don’t offer gift wrap. This can add additional expenses — not to mention it’s inconvenient.
“Between wrapping paper and boxes and shipping expenses, the cost of a gift doesn’t end when you buy it,” Gramuglia said. “To save money and time this year, ship gifts directly to recipients from the retailer. And if you’re worried about the gift not being wrapped or not seeming personal, don’t. Many stores allow you to include a personal message for free and some stores, like Bloomingdale’s, also offer gift wrapping during the holiday season for an additional price.”
If you’re planning to wrap gifts yourself, Costco.com has you covered.
“If you have a lot of gifts to wrap, Costco is the place to buy your gift wrap,” Ramhold said. “Yes, you will have yards of it, but it’ll be at a great price and you won’t have to buy any more wrapping paper for the season. Pro tip: look for a roll that’s reversible — typically these have a holiday pattern on one side and a neutral one on the other so you can use it all year long.”
Ramhold said Costco is also the best place to shop for edible gifts.
“Especially around the holidays, you can find things like four boxes of European chocolates for $30, which sounds like a lot until you realize that it breaks down to five cents per chocolate. And the boxes are pretty, so they’re easy to just slap a bow on and gift that way,” she said.
And whether you like to shop way in advance or at the last minute, Costco has options for you.
“You can shop holiday items super early at Costco, which means you’ll be way ahead of the game,” Ramhmold said. “And some of those items, like the European chocolates, will even ship to you within a couple of days, so you can almost order them at the last minute.”
Buying certified refurbished items on eBay can help you save big on holiday gifts, said money-saving expert Andrea Woroch.
“You can save anywhere from 30 to 60% on average on popular tech items, kitchen appliances and even power tools,” she said. “The benefit of buying through sites like eBay is that their certified refurbished products come with a two-year warranty, a money-back guarantee and easy returns within 30 days for a full refund. This gives shoppers peace of mind that their purchase is protected while helping them save money on popular gifts.”
“This is the 14th straight year that gift cards are the most requested holiday gift, according to the National Retail Federation, and GiftCards.com is my one-stop-shop for every gift card on my list,” Woroch said. “My favorite gift card this year is the Giving Good multi-store card because a portion of every card sale benefits a great organization like Feeding America, Make-A-Wish, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Wounded Warrior Project or Habitat for Humanity. So that means you can give back while giving a great gift to your loved ones.”
And when you opt for digital gift cards, you don’t have to worry about delivery delays, she added.
“Another bonus is that you can get your shopping done early — buy your gift cards now and schedule them to arrive on Christmas Day,” Woroch said.
Gramuglia recommends Kohls.com for anyone who wants to get a head start on holiday gift shopping.
“Major retailers like Kohl’s are prepping for the holiday season earlier than ever this year,” she said. “This means you can snag major appliances, electronics and popular toys well before Black Friday deals drop. Take advantage of these pre-holiday sales early this month to avoid shipping delays and out-of-stock items.”
When you shop online at Nordstrom, you don’t have to worry about shipping fees — the retailer offers free standard shipping and returns year-round. Or, if you need your gift ASAP, you can take advantage of Nordstrom’s free curbside or in-store pickup. Gramuglia recommends doing your holiday shopping at Nordstrom.com thanks to this “quick and convenient option.”
Ramhold uses the Target app to do much of her holiday shopping.
“I love Target for many reasons — good prices on beauty items, their Good & Gather brand has some great picks and shopping via the app is so amazingly easy,” she said. “Using their app means I can do contactless payment even in-store, but most of the time I just order via the app and then pick it up via drive-up or have it delivered. That’s a kind of convenience I can’t beat, and the prices are just as good if not better than other retailers. On top of that, I love the Target Circle loyalty program because it gives me offers tailor-made to what I shop for.”
Target is especially convenient for last-minute shoppers.
“While Target uses the service Shipt and you’ll have to pay, you can have your items delivered same-day in many cases without having to leave the house,” Ramhold said. “If you’d rather not pay for another service, you can utilize same-day pickup in many cases for absolutely no charge. Go in-store to pick up or, if it’s available at your store, opt for drive-up. I’ve only just tried it recently and it’s such an awesome convenience.”
“Walmart has a large selection of home goods, decorations, kid toys and electronics, so you can’t go wrong shopping online to save,” Woroch said. “Choose curbside pickup to avoid going in-store, which is a nice feature offered if your local store has the item in stock — then you can get it quickly. Otherwise, sign up for a free trial of Walmart Plus to get fast two-day shipping. They will be hosting several Black Friday sales through November ahead of Thanksgiving, so you can shop early knowing you’re getting a great deal.”
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