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is it really a deal?

February 17, 2010

My friend Bridgette just checked out a number of kid sites that claim to offer online shoppers a “deal”.  I think we are all getting these in our inbox these days!  Anyways, she sent me what she wrote (below) and I found it interesting- so thanks Bridge for this info!!

Have you ever heard of “one deal at a time” websites? Here’s how they work: sites will offer a new deal every day on a single item. No browsing. Just here it is – one thing – do you want it or not? Because products are sold at deep discounts (starting at 50 percent off retail prices), sales are typically final and you can only buy up to three items (an industry policy designed to discourage resellers). Shipping prices are posted on the page with the item, which is nice for quick decision making. Babysteals.com, Kids.Woot.com and MamaBargains.com, are three good baby/kid gear focused deal sites that I checked out. (Totsy.com is another, but you have to sign up to even view the site and I find that annoying). Here is what I learned:

1. BabySteals.com: This site sells one baby or maternity product every day. The “steal” of the day is posted at 8 am PST until it is sold out. (On the weekends they give you a second chance on steals they still have in stock, so you might get lucky and find more than one.) BabySteals.com has RSS/daily email alerts, the ability to follow on Twitter or Facebook, and a blog onsite to keep you informed on steals. They say: “Our ‘steals’ are designed to save you serious money on products you would normally spend more money on, or things you just wouldn’t normally ‘splurge’ on because of the cost.” When I visited BabySteals.com, the featured item was Petunia Pickle Bottom baby slings, in multiple sizes and colors. Prices started at $34.99, which is 50 percent off the regular price of $71.00 according to the site, and shipping was $6.80. Perfect for moms-to-be and baby shower gift shopping, I really liked the site as it is simple to use and has a very clean look and feel – no outside advertising on the product sales page, a plus.

2. Kids.Woot.com: Here you will find a new “woot” every night at 10 pm PST. If you want the item, you simply click the big orange button that says “I WANT ONE.” When it sells out, or the next deal rolls around, that deal is gone. When I visited Kids.Woot.com, the woot of the day was the Playmobil Knights Take Along Castle, which was selling for $14.99 plus $5 shipping. This site does not post the average retail price or estimated savings – a bummer – so I had to check with Amazon to get a sense for the value. (Amazon’s price was $27.99, with free shipping.) Pretty good! Kids.Woot.com’s sales page is jam packed with information and distractions galore, in addition to the regular product description and photo(s) that you would expect. Kids.Woot.com includes a humorous product narrative, sales statistics relating to the deal of the day, deal specific posts from the community (e.g. 50 shoppers had chimed in with their thoughts on the Playmobil product/deal), outside advertising and advertisements for other Woot sites – all on the sales page. If you like to chat with other bargain hunters or read lots of comments, this site is for you!

3. MamaBargains.com: Unlike the others, this site does offer more than one deal a day – one deal at a time. Their goal is to get you to keep checking their site throughout your day to find the new deals. Once a deal is gone, you will see another new deal immediately after (instead of a disappointing “sold out” or “all gone” message). Most days there is between 2-10 deals per 24 hour period according to the site. To help keep you apprised of new deals, you can follow MamaBargains.com via their newsletter, or on Twitter or Facebook to see updates whenever a new item pops up. (MamaBargains.com also has a discussion forum, the only place where I did find minimal outside advertising FYI.) They say: “We [select] our products for children ages birth to 10 and have such a variety you won’t want to miss a single deal!” When I went to MamaBargains.com, the deal that I was presented with was Riley Roo’s Shoes (love them!). I was impressed that there were many styles, colors and sizes offered for both boys and girls. The Mamabargains.com price was $13, which is 56 percent off the retail price of $30.00 according to the site. Shipping to my house was $5.40 – I typed in my zip code on the sales page to get a specific estimate. On this site, there is an indicator by product/size telling you there are “lots left” or it’s “almost gone,” which I appreciated because it gives you the opportunity to think about a purchase or jump on it. The website design is simple, appealing and for the most part ad-free – check it out!

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