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Cool new shopping sites
Old standbys with fun extra features
Shop-safe checklist

Cool new shopping sites

Last reviewed: October 2009

It's tough to keep up with the latest sites and features, so here at ShopSmart we do it for you. These sites are some of the coolest we've seen lately. Some are new, and some are just new to us.

 

Alice

Best for buying basics

Keep your home fully stocked with all the important household staples, like detergent and toilet paper, without having to haul them home from the supermarket. At Alice, which shares its name with the beloved housekeeper on "The Brady Bunch," you can buy directly from manufacturers for less. Discounts can be particularly steep if you use clickable coupons. The site makes it fun to update your shopping list and reminds you when it's time to reorder. Shipping is free when you buy at least six items.

 

CouponWinner.com

Best for loads of coupons

This newly redesigned site has coupons and promotional codes from about 7,000 retailers, including some exclusives, such as $40 off a year of eHarmony. It's well organized, with categories including most-used coupons, exclusive deals, free shipping, about-to-expire offers, and more. Also check out its new sister site, PromotionalCodes.com.

 

Covet

Best for creating a look

Covet acts like a virtual personal shopper, helping you find your style based on your responses to a series of fashion photos. Choose the outfit that's closest to your style, and the virtual stylist will help you find clothes that are in that style, in your size, and on sale.

 

IMshopping

Best for locating obscure stuff

Ask a shopping question and get an answer from a real, live human. Recent example: "Where can I find vintage eyeglass frames?" Works on Twitter, too, at @imshopping. Just be aware that it's not a live chat; the site forwards your question to an expert in that particular shopping category, who does some digging, then gets back to you, usually within a few hours.

 

Like.com

Best for finding exactly what you want

If you're hunting for something specific-whether it's a purple leather jacket or pink shearling boots-this site can help you track it down. Shop by color, style, material, or detail, such as pattern or shape. You can even use your mouse to draw a box around a detail you like-a square buckle on a belt, for instance-and the search engine will bring you more items with the detail.

 

Modista

Best for buying accessories

Zero in on the exact style of shoe, handbag, watch, or other accessory you're looking for within a database of hundreds of items and get to the e-tailer with one click. As with Like.com, you can use color or shape to home in on what you're looking for; you can also sort by price and percentage discount.

 

NetHaggler

Best for bargain shopping

Download a Web tool called a hagglet and you can save in one of three ways: "Tag" an item and wait for a price drop, "Nag" a merchant for a better price,or "Haggle" as a group for bargain deals. The tool pops up when you go to the Web sites of national retailers that participate, including Macy's and Delia's. It takes some time to set up, but once you do, it's easy to use.

 

PicClick

Best for browsing eBay

Choose a category, and this site's search engine captures all of eBay's current offerings in an easy-to-scan visual thumbnail format. Sort by "ending soon," "newly listed," or "lowest price."

 

Polyvore

Best for outfit shopping

Start with a skirt, shirt, or shoes, then drag and drop matching clothing and accessories to make an outfit-just like playing with Colorforms when you were a kid. You can click on merchants' links if you choose to buy any of the items, or you can simply scope out hot trends and get outfit ideas.

 

PricesAndCoupons.com

Best for finding the best prices

PriceGrabber and other price-comparison sites help you find the deals on products you're looking for; this new addition to your shopping arsenal goes a step further and shows you prices after coupon-code discounts when they're available. It also includes shipping charges. Check a few price-comparison sites before you buy.

 

Savings.com

Best for trolling for bargains

At this newly revamped site, fans post coupon codes and vote on them, "bumping" good ones to the top of the list and "burying" the stinkers so that it's easy to find the best deals. A recent score: $5 off Legos at www.lego.com. Check out the deal of the week for big savings.

 

Taaz

Best for makeup

Upload a photo of yourself and you can "try out" all kinds of cosmetic shades from top brands such as MAC and Bobbi Brown.

TIP Take a new head shot of yourself just for use on Taaz.The makeup goes on best when the photo is a straight-on shot that clearly shows your facial features. Warning: This site is addictive.

 

UWantSavings

Best for closeouts

It's like a giant flea market online with new stuff that sells for up to 80 percent off. Recent examples we found: an Italian leather laptop tote in three color choices was originally $200, marked down to $60; a cookware set that had been $200 was marked down to $95.

This article appeared in Consumer Reports Shopsmart Magazine.

Posted: September 2009—Consumer Reports Shopsmart Magazine issue: October 2009