Monthly Archives: August 2016

Tips for Buying Concert Tickets Online

For an online transaction to purchase concert tickets, you need to go to the website that is selling the tickets, select a specific event date, and click on “Tickets” in order to reach the order form. You select the number of tickets to buy, choose the price range, and search for the tickets. If you’re lucky, the site will show you the ticket availability. But more often than not, this is where it all goes downhill. The seats you’re looking for are too far apart or the venue is sold out in a matter of minutes. Now what? You submit to the fact that you’re not going to be able to attend the concert. And what if you followed a few simple techniques and found a loophole to get the tickets? Is that even possible? Well, only your efforts and dedication can answer this question.

Tips to Get in On the Action

Camping overnight, outside the box office, or waiting in long lines to buy tickets for a concert feels like something we would do decades ago. With the help of technology, we are promised the convenient opportunity to purchase concert tickets online. Let’s take a look at some tried and tested methods to score the hottest seats to any concert you wish to attend.

Online presales: your new best friend.
Instead of trying to beat the system, join it. Way, way before the tickets are made available for the general public, you can get your hungry claws on them. How, you may ask? Join the club―fan club, that is. Once you have subscribed to the artist or band’s official fan page, you will be notified about the concert dates, venues, and tickets before everyone else. However, please know that there are literally thousands of fans trying this tactic as well.

Apart from the fan clubs, a few credit card companies also sponsor concerts and provide limited seats via presales to holders of particular cards. It may seem an easy technique to get your hands on the tickets before others, but it’s not very easy to get a hold of these cards. So, contact your nearest bank, and learn about the terms and conditions.

Tickets do sell out quickly; like in a matter of minutes.
For any concert, hundreds of thousands of fans all across the country (forget city or state) are fighting to buy the tickets. So, you can imagine that the odds aren’t quite in your favor. But there is something you can do to go through the transaction quicker. If there is a particular ticket sales website you like to buy tickets from (e.g. Ticketmaster and Live Nation), register your billing information with them. Set up a personal account on the site and avoid having to type in your billing address and other information required to buy tickets. This will save you precious time when you are in the middle of a transaction.

Avoid purchasing tickets late at night.
Even if a website assures you that you can purchase tickets securely during the night, many sites undergo maintenance for a brief moment. Your transactions won’t be processed and you would’ve wasted valuable time on the site.

Opening more than one browser window is not a smart move.
If you’re using only one computer or laptop for a transaction, DO NOT open more than one browsing window. It’s a common error many people make, thinking they can hold more tickets this way. In fact, what happens is that the tickets you hold in the previous browser will get released and be available to other customers. There is a reason why these sites provide only a select number of tickets per customer or transaction; it’s so that more people can get the opportunity to buy tickets. But, if you have to get more tickets, don’t use the same laptop for multiple transactions; use more than one device.

Listen to the radio and get sponsored.
Depending on where you live, local radio stations offer presales for various concerts. Most times, you have to call the station in order to get the tickets. However, there are times when they provide free presale codes and passwords. You will either have to go to the station’s website or a sponsoring ticket site, and enter the code to avail tickets.

Keep professional ticket brokers and scalpers at bay.
What scalpers do is purchase tickets via multiple credit cards and resell them on various sites at a higher price. Truth be told, there are a few artists and bands who scalp their own tickets, and sell them off to the highest bidders on sites like eBay and Craigslist. You may be able to afford these tickets, but be absolutely sure that you don’t get involved in a scam.

Note:
Always carry a valid photo ID and the card used to purchase the tickets with you. Many times, certain venues don’t issue a physical ticket for the show. This is to ensure that no one can transfer the tickets to someone else.

Let’s say, you beat the odds and happen to score some awesome seats, then beware of the service fees. Purchasing these tickets online is tough, and can be possible if you’re determined enough to see the fight all the way through. If you really feel that all this work is worth it, then I say “go for it.” Follow the tips mentioned in this article, and all the best for your future endeavors.

Tips for Buying Kids’ Toys Online

If you have ever been to a toy store with a child, especially during the holiday season, you would know the hassles of choosing the perfect toy for the kid. The crowds, your screaming kid, searching a particular toy from the millions available, and the long lines at the counter are sure to drive any parent crazy. Moreover, at the end of it all, you probably realize that you ended up buying a toy that you did not want. Instead of facing all these hassles in a brick and mortar toy store, a good alternative is to sit at home and order the toys online.

With a few mouse clicks, you can find the best toys for your child at really good prices. You can research the different types of toys based on the child’s age group, know about their popularity, check for safety and recalls, and compare prices to get the best deal. The best part is that you can do all this from the convenience of your own home. While buying kids’ toys online is quite easy, there are certain tips that can help you make a better choice. So, whether you are looking for a hot new holiday toy or looking for the perfect birthday present, here are some things that you need to consider when buying online.

What to Consider When Buying Toys Online

What and For Whom Do You Want To Buy

Since there are thousands of toys for children, the first thing that you need to do is decide for whom are you buying the toy for, and what you want to get. This eliminates the possibility of picking up a random item that the child may not even like. You need to pick a toy that is age appropriate. Toy references and gender of the child can also help you narrow down the choices and makes it easier for you to search the toy online. You also need to establish a budget before you start shopping online.

Browse Good Online Toy Stores

Look for a good online toy store that has a good selection of toys and is easy to use. Some popular online toy stores such as Fat Brain Toys have facilities such as ‘The Gift Bot’ which allows you to choose gender, price, age, and even where the toy is manufactured. A good online toy store should have:

▣ A wide selection of toys
▣ Extensive features and easy to use
▣ Search features that let you select a toy based on age, gender, price, brands, category, interests, and theme
▣ Related products such as party items, décor items, and toy storage
▣ Safety and recall information of the toys
▣ Wide variety of payment options such as online payment, gift cards, credit cards, or cash on delivery
▣ User reviews and ratings
▣ Help and support features such as live chat, email, online help, local phone number, and customer loyalty programs

Check Toy Safety and Recalls

When buying a toy, do check the product safety and watch out for recalled items. Most of the popular online toy stores have toy safety warnings and recall information. For example: A toy with small parts will have a ‘Choking Hazard’ warning. Some stores also accept returns on recalled items as long as you have the proof of purchase. Check the recall/return policy while shopping for toys online. You can also check websites such as recalls.gov, nhtsa.gov, and cpsc.gov for product safety and toy recalls.

Compare the Prices and Deals

Check different toy store websites as some sites may have discounts on the product. Some toy sellers also keep a lower profit margin, and hence, offer the same product at a huge price difference. While checking the prices you will also want to keep an eye on discount coupons. Most of these coupons are highlighted on the seller’s website itself.

Check the Shipping and Payment Options

When shopping online, you need to consider the shipping charges as well. Some sites have lower shipping charges or shipping discounts on the purchase of multiple items. Other factors that influence the shipping cost are the distance and weight of the product. While some online stores offer a flat shipping rate, others can charge variable shipping fees based on the product weight and the distance. You also need to consider the payment options such as credit cards, online payment, and Paypal.

How to Buy Toys Online

Add to Wish List or Cart

Browse the site to select the toy you want to buy. Once you have zeroed in on the toy you want, click the ‘Add to Cart’ option. If you are planning to buy the toy later, then save it to your wish list by clicking the ‘Add to Wish List’ tab.

Create an Account

If you do not have an account with the online store, you will need to create an account. To do so, you need to provide your email address, phone number, and the address for billing and delivery. Once you have registered, you can log in using your password.

Payment

Choose your preferred payment option. Most sites offer credit card or PayPal payment. If you have a gift coupon or a discount coupon, then the details need to be entered as well. Most sites also accept gift cards. When processing the payment, the shipping costs would be added to the price of the product.

Order Confirmation

Once the payment is done, the order is confirmed, and you get a payment summary and confirmation code. In many cases, a copy of this information is sent to your mailbox as well.

Track and Cancel Orders

You can track your order by providing the order number and your details. The order details are stored in your account section of the website. In case you need to cancel the order, do check the site’s policy about cancellation and refunds. Call the customer service representative and keep the order confirmation code handy when canceling the order.

Return and Refund Policies

Check the stores refund and return policy. This is extremely important if you are buying the toy as a gift. Most stores will accept refund as long as the item is in its original packing, and you have the confirmation slip.

Popular Online Toy Stores

★ Toys “R” Us
★ Fat Brain Toys
★ Disney Store
★ All Aboard Toys
★ Ty’s Toy Box

Of course, you can always shop at Amazon, or find some great deals online on Walmart and Target websites. With online shopping becoming so easy and convenient, it is apparent why people, across all income scales and age groups, prefer buying toys online. Since web toy retailers are jostling to gain popularity, prices are pushed down. This certainly is good news for all the bargain hunters out there who want to buy the best toys at attractive prices.

Online Clothing Stores Like Hot Topic

Why do we love Hot Topic so much? The answer strikes in a heartbeat― Hot Topic was one of the first stores to offer us apparel and accessories that were different from what we were used to. Music-inspired clothing, and clothes that reflected our love for comics, movies, retro culture, grunge, and other awesome stuff were exactly what Hot Topic gave us, and it is no wonder that Hot Topic has such a loyal fan base today.

The story of Hot Topic goes back to 1988, when the founders knew something different was exactly what was needed to revolutionize the world of teenage apparel. They were right! Hot Topic clothes are popular among people of all ages today, all over the world, as these clothes are perfect for those who love standing out from the crowd. However, this brings us back to our original question, what happens if we have a lot of friends who own the same Hot Topic apparel as us? Sometimes it may feel a little strange if we run into people wearing the same clothes as us. The answer is, like we said, alternatives to Hot Topic. These stores are similar, and yet different, and some are more affordable than Hot Topic. Read on for a list of alternative online clothing stores, in no particular order.

Spencer’s
What originally began as a mail-order catalog in Easton, PA, is now a major retailer brand that has over 500 stores across the US and Canada. Spencer’s offers amazing and quirky apparel and accessories for boys and girls hovering in the 18-24 age group. From hilariously captioned t-shirts to superhero pajamas, this store has it all.

Start shopping @ Spencer’s

Plasticland
If Hot Topic is for teenagers, Plasticland is for quirky adults who prefer being different wherever they are, be it at a party, or even at work. Plasticland prides on its amazingly stylish apparel and accessories with a hint of the rock, pop, and retro cultures. Started in San Diego, California, more than a decade ago, Plasticland is for women who don’t like to stay limited. Check out their awesome jewelry collection!

Start shopping @ Plasticland

Romwe
Looking for a store that offers both classy as well as edgy clothing? If yes, then look no further. Romwe offers some seriously cute apparel for girls who aren’t afraid to explore the different styles of fashion. If you’re not interested in buying clothes at the moment, this store has phone cases, bags, sunglasses, swim-wear, and jewelry too! Based in China, Romwe offers free shipping all over the world. No minimum purchase required. OMG!

Start shopping @ Romwe

Too Fast
“Wanna fit in? Shop elsewhere.” Wow! With a motto like this, everything here is sure to be different and edgy, and to totally make you stand out. Punk clothing, tattoo t-shirts, and apparel for both boys and girls that’s inspired from vintage, rock-n-roll, and army styles is what this cool brand specializes in. Too Fast is also involved in resale of stuff that is really hard to find now, and they have a wholesale site as well!

Start shopping @ Too Fast

Glamour Kills
If you feel put off by the name, feel un-put off immediately. Set up by a fresh high school graduate 9 years ago in a modest New York basement, Glamour Kills today is a successful brand offering cool apparel for both boys and girls. This brand is definitely your source for vibrant, edgy, and yet subtle clothing. As they say themselves, their work reflects a rock-n-roll edge with chic modernism. With a catchy name and catchier designs, you’re sure to enjoy shopping here.

Start shopping @ Glamour Kills

Merchnow
This store is for those music lovers who are only looking for music-inspired clothing and accessories, and nothing else. Merchnow is a popular online store specializing in everything that is inspired by different music genres such as punk, rock, metal, and indie, from apparel, to CDs, to posters. This store has something to offer for both boys and girls.

Start shopping @ Merchnow

ToastyCo.
Witty captions, funny prints, quirky designs, and chic styles for men and women― that’s what this store is all about. Another very remarkable and catchy thing about ToastyCo. is that they give their customers a free packet of Skittles with orders of t-shirts and sweatshirts! Yes, you read right! How’s that for a sweet deal?

Start shopping @ ToastyCo.

Blue Banana
Since 1997, Blue Banana has tried and succeeded at providing clothing and accessories that are seriously un-mainstream. (Yeah okay, I just made the word up!) This store calls itself the home of alternative fashion and specializes in clothing that is inspired by punk, rock, goth, and street styles. Blue Banana also has countless music-inspired apparel choices for music lovers.

Start shopping @ Blue Banana

Rock Rebel
Like the name suggests, Rock Rebel offers rock-inspired clothing for both men and women. Based in CA, this company has been popular for its alternative, rock-inspired fashion for over 10 years. Rock Rebel now encompasses several different brands, all of which are popular for their cutting-edge styles and totally cool image.

Start shopping @ Rock Rebel

Infectious Threads
Infectious Threads prides itself upon having limited collections which ensure that its customers don’t all end up owning the same things. Based in Nevada, Infectious Threads has been creating alternative fashion apparel and accessories for men and women since quite some time now. This store also prides itself upon its low prices and an amazing selection of alternative styles to choose from.

Start shopping @ Infectious Threads

Fashion is really an individual style, and if alternative is your thing, these stores are the way to go. The best part is that you can browse through all these and more from right where you are, and you’ll get them delivered at your doorstep as soon as possible! Plus, all these stores are very helpful and accommodating if and when you need to return or exchange a product. We hope our list of clothing stores like Hot Topic could help you. If we’ve missed out on any amazing store, you can of course let us know through the comments section below! Happy shopping!

Online Shopping Trends

Online Shopping: From a Luxury to a Trend to a Necessity

The 90s proved to be historical for Internet shopping when the world was introduced to the ‘World Wide Web’. The pioneering online shopping sites such as Amazon and eBay were launched in 1995, and they still continue to reign the kingdom of online retail market. Among the initial steps in Internet selling was the selling of books. What started as a trial-and-error strategy―with many people wondering the feasibility of the success of web shopping―today, has become a revolutionary industry worth billions!

With the consumer population becoming more and more tech-savvy, and with the technological excellence that has led to safe, secure, reliable, and satisfactory online transactions in the recent past, most people prefer to avoid the chaotic crowd of shopping malls, and opt for shopping from the comfort of their homes.

The Internet was once an option, and is now a necessity. Likewise, the virtual market has become more than a facility; it is now, in fact, a necessity. With irresistible advantages such as 24X7 access to shopping, free shipment, and home delivery, the online retailers have managed to acquire some loyal customers. Forrester Research state that the United States online retail industry is likely to be worth USD 279 billion in 2015.

Factors That Have Made Online Shopping a Trend

From the 90s till now, gradually people have accepted virtual shopping to be an easy and affordable way to get hold of things ranging from luxury items such as smartphones and laptops, to everyday items such as grocery and stationery. More and more stores are opening their own websites to enable consumers to shop online. There are various external factors that have contributed to the rising inclination towards virtual shopping.

The Social Media: While browsing through social network sites such as Facebook, have you noticed the ads that are displayed on the right hand corner of the webpage … attracting you towards the trendy branded clothes, jewelry, scents, and footwear? With sellers joining the social networking sites and creating their own pages, a study shows that almost 60% of online buyers used social media to discover, like, and follow retail sites in the past year. This strategy definitely helps increase the pace of product exposure with features such as like, share, recommend a friend, reviews, and more.

Smartphones and Tablets: With the increasing user base of smartphones and tablets, online shopping is not just confined to sitting in front of a PC. If you know what you want, shopping can be done while eating your lunch, while traveling to your work … while on the move! Another survey depicts that almost 10-15% of Internet traffic comes through mobile devices. A trend known as “show rooming” has been on the up lately. The buyers visit the physical retail stores to check out the products, browse the products online, compare prices, check the reviews on the websites, and buy the same product from an online retailer offering the best deal. Mobile apps of these retail stores also help the consumers know about the latest stock and sale going on, subsequently increasing the customer database and sales.

Crowded Shopping Destinations: While researching on shopping trends during Black Fridays, I came across various consumers who preferred shopping online rather than going out in the crowd with no parking spaces! This just shows that customers not only find it more comfortable, but also less chaotic to shop online rather than traveling all the way to the rushed shopping destinations, especially during sales. This drift has encouraged physical stores to focus more towards their service and hospitality to make customers’ shopping experience more comfortable and satisfactory.

Tech-savvy Users: Another contributing factor towards the hype in online shopping, is the majority of population becoming increasingly tech savvy. A fair amount of credit goes to the effort of sellers making online shopping not only a comfortable, but an overall safe and fun experience with alluring features such as cash on delivery, free home delivery, replacement plans, low price guarantee, gift cards, customer reviews, and more. In fact, many online retailers also give consumers an option to try their selected clothes, apparels, and footwear at home, and offer to do the necessary changes. There are also customer service numbers which enable the consumers to contact these retailers to clarify their queries. With all these features, online shopping has made the experience less complicated and tiresome for the users.

No Geographical Limitations: The one factor that has worked the most in favor of virtual shopping is the fact that users have multiple options that are not confined to any geographical boundaries, as is the case with physical stores. For example, if a book you need is not available in your city, you have no other option but to wait. In case of online shopping, if one website doesn’t have that book in stock, you will definitely get it on other websites. Also, online retail stores give you an option to set an e-mail alert when the product is in stock, so that you may complete your purchase.

What Lies Ahead …

By analyzing the aforementioned factors, it is evident that the virtual trend of shopping would only flourish in the near future. Unless the bricks-and-mortar stores don’t adapt to recent trends in e-commerce, and prepare themselves for the competitive strategies to attract online buyers, the future of traditional shopping seems to be under a potential threat. It is inevitable that online stores will have to become a compulsory feature of each and every traditional store that wants to be in the competition. In fact, a business website―which was an “added feature” till the recent past―has now become a prerequisite. Each and every business, other than retail stores is launching user-friendly and attractive websites to enable their customers to ask queries, make appointments, sales, cancellations, and the like, all through the website. With these strategic changes, buying and selling online is transforming from a luxury to a necessity.

Considering online shopping to be a solution for all shopping-related hassles would not be right. Like any other area, virtual market has its own cons, the most important one being the lack of a “physical presence”. At the end of the day, we humans are social beings, and shopping is considered by many, a means to socialize. It is normal for us to want the presence of someone who would approve with our choices, or help us make the right choice among the many options before us. Virtual shopping makes us “physically” more isolated.

Who would’ve thought, a few years ago, that the Internet would evolve from being something physically non-existent, to something that has now become an integral part of all the dominating aspects of our physical lives? The unlimited access that the Internet has provided to its users has made them more aware about the market. When it comes to online shopping, the most powerful marketing tool―the word of mouth―is what works the best. With social media, mobile apps, review sites, and sharing features, online buyers have become significant contributors in the total sales revenue. The target of the market is to find buyers and follow them where they are. Promotional ads and coupons are sent to consumers online; while offline, mobile messages are steadily delivered to their inbox, keeping them aware about what is “in store” for them. The world is functioning the quick and smart way, and e-commerce is a perfect example for reaching out to consumers even while they are busy and on the move.