Friday, January 16, 2009

Old Guard or New Guard, It's Still Shopping! Read, Laugh, & Save!

As we head into a long weekend capped by Martin Luther King's birthday celebration and with an upcoming historic Presidential Inauguration, our minds turn to the lofty and exhilarating topic of, you guessed it... online shopping! (Well, hey, at least we're focused.)

ShopWorthy Water Cooler

Blue Light, Red Logo


A Little Shopping Quiz

This is a picture of:
A. An exuberant blue light bulb auditioning for "Dancing With The Stars"
B. An outdated marketing campaign that won't die
C. A piece of manufacturing scrap - a light bulb with legs can't be screwed in
D. Something even more frightening to small children than a clown
E. Kmart's "Mr. Bluelight" (of Blue Light Special fame)
F. B, D & E
G. All of the above


Okay, so seriously now, did anyone know this thing existed? Apparently, Kmart's TV ad campaign featuring Mr. Bluelight kicked off on May 14, 2007 on ABC's Dancing with the Stars (hey, who writes these questions?) and NBC's Deal or No Deal. (Did I mention it was May 2007?)

Now look, we don't get out nearly enough, with all the online shopping we do, but we do own a television. Three of 'em, as a matter of fact. But we've never even seen Mr. Bluelight here. If you have (or haven't), please write your Senator... no wait.... please comment on our blog here and let us know. We're dying of curiosity. (And yes, we've finally realized that we do need to get out more.)

To keep with our shopping theme, however, Kmart.com sells gift cards with Mr. Lightie on them, in full blue regalia. Click on the gift card and check it out. Much like the Pets.com sock puppet I still own, you might want one of these someday, for old times' sake.


On a bright note (bright?... get it?), Kmart and the namesake of its owner, Sears Holding Corporation, still offer layaway programs. Pundits are citing this as a reason for the (somewhat) better results they are experiencing, compared to a few other retailers. Leave another comment and let us know if a layaway program really gets you to shop somewhere. (I can see it now... a DreamWorthyGifts.com Layaway Program... and lest you think we jest, see www.elayaway.com - another topic for another time).

Wow, I think Kmart owes us a fee now for all this free advertising. One more thing before we move on... there are some interesting Kmart facts on the Sears Holding site. You'll rest easier knowing that Kmart Super Centers range in size from 140,000 to 190,000 sq. ft. and the average Kmart Super Center carries between 100,000 and 150,000 SKU’s. With the massive amount of money tied up in inventory in these big box brick and mortar stores, and with all the recent deep discounting to move that inventory, it's not hard to image why it's tough to be profitable in our current economy.

Safe Sects

The Encarta Dictionary defines "sects" in multiple ways, but one definition of sect is "a small close-knit group with strongly held views that are sometimes regarded as extreme by the majority."

Some may even feel that definition applies to the online shopping advice of blogger Tech Paul - but we advise that you "read and heed."





Whether or not you feel that way when you're done reading, you will at least have had the choice to decide. Most of the "be-safe-while-shopping-online" advice we see is about ensuring you're on a secure site with a cute little lock and an "https:" address. Paul mentions those and has a few
other things to say as well.




  • "Download Software Updates — Regularly!
  • Use Complex Passwords (include numerals and @#$%^&*[]) (DWG: Do you kiss your mother with that mouth, Paul? ;-)
  • Use Onetime Credit Cards
  • Verify Secure Connections - See that little padlock symbol at the bottom of your screen, and in the URL address bar?
  • Check Your Credit
  • Enter Your Shopping Site’s Web Address Manually (embedded links=no!)
  • Shop From Your Own computer (not a public ‘hotspot’)
  • Enable your browser’s phishing filter, or install a add-on (such as the super-easy WOT toolbar)
  • Don’t Send Credit Card Information Over E-mail. Even if you think it’s secure. Don’t send it over IM either. If you feel uncomfortable about sending personal information online, call up the business."
It pays to be cautious, so judge wisely and give Paul's advice some solid consideration. For the record, with tongue out-of-cheek for once, we find his advice intelligent and helpful. Be safe out there.

The News Room

Need a Little Pick Me Up?

Keeping with our Sears/Kmart theme from earlier, and according to Sandra M. Jones at the Chicago Tribune (cold enough out there for you, Sandra?), Sears is taking a new swing at online shopping. In her article online, Sandra writes, "Sears Holdings plans to open a warehouse-style concept store in Joliet called MyGofer that will allow shoppers to order online and pick up their purchases in the store or at a drive-through portal."

"The prototype, slated to open by this summer" (after Chicago thaws), "is expected to fill a niche between Wal-Mart and Amazon.com and could provide a model for the giant retail chain to eventually operate with fewer stores and lower overhead."

MyGofer.com? Yup - and actually (and a bit confusingly-it's not summer yet) it's up and running now, and has a drive-through/delivery twist.










On the site, it's says:

MyGofer - It's about time

"Skip the hassle of repeated shopping trips and let MyGofer save you time and money. We'll deliver your order right to the office & or have it ready for you to pickup in-store. MY GOFER – IT´S ABOUT TIME is a concierge/personal assistant service."

Click here, scroll to the bottom and click on "About MyGofer" for more detail.

Shoppers, we're curious about this and will follow and report on it. If this actually works, we'll start delivering our customers' purchases personally via limousine. In Texas. In Flower Mound. In our neighborhood. On our street. And it won't be a limo but it could be a Honda Pilot with DreamWorthy Gifts magnets on it. But we'll do it. At least once, because we said we would. We'll keep you posted.







In the same vein, and despite some challenges of the past with this business model, we found a similar venture in
Netgrocer.com, powered by MyWebGrocer (who powers Buehler's and Piggly Wiggly as well), according to InternetRetailer.com.

In About Us, it reads: "MyWebGrocer provides leading-edge eCommerce and eMarketing solutions to the grocery and consumer packaged goods industries. Our eMarketing services are focused on website design, specialty modules for websites, hosting, sophisticated email solutions and consulting services. These offerings are designed for use on a stand-alone basis or as an integral part of a seamless Internet solution. Our eCommerce offerings include a full online shopping and store fulfillment system, designed to match the retailer’s brand identity. All of our offerings can be individually tailored to meet the diverse needs of our client base." And hey, they blog, so they must be cool.

Back to NetGrocer: So, they have some solid infrastruture in place with MyWebGrocer, they deliver to all 50 states, use FedEx, and list their FAQs here, with a series of links to explore. Interesting that they offer the ability to save shopping lists and create regularly recurring orders. I didn't see explicit instructions about the handling of frozen items, but they sell them, and the total value of frozen items in your order must exceed $35 (excluding shipping) - so they must be specially packed. These guys have been plugging along for awhile... would you buy groceries online? Others obviously are, and this will be another interesting thing to watch and report on, over time

Use Those Circuit City Gift Cards Now

This isn't our standard storyline and the word is out everywhere, so we'll just make a quick comment and provide a link to a reliable source, just in case you haven't heard. If you've got any Circuit City gift cards, use them quickly, before liquidating stores don't have merchandise worth purchasing. Read more at MSNBC
or Consumer Reports.


Savvy Shopper

Remember When "Cheap" Was Bad? Not Anymore!


Well, we threatened to do it and we did it. We got on Twitter as @DreamWorthy. (Hey Twitter, if our user name could have been 1 character longer, we could have been "DreamWorthyGifts." We 're writing to our Senator about that, too.) In a moment of tremendous fortitude, we actually tweeted something. So, we made a few friends (followers) and followed a few others, and then - mostly due to help from friends @AxsysTechGroup and @HolisticMamma and a little cyber-luck - we started connecting with other nice people. As of this writing, we have 54 followers and follow 66, so we aren't experts and won't try to pretend we are. But we have made some cool friends.

One of those connections is @CheapTweet, powered by the smart, fun shopping gurus over at Appozite. Okay, I don't know how many gurus they have, but the one we know and like is Jenn Deering Davis who runs several shopping-oriented businesses and writes a cool blog called Appozitegeist. As a doctoral student, I also think it's fair to call her smart, but we just like that she's nice.







So what exactly is CheapTweet? According to their site in About, "CheapTweet scans Twitter for the best deals, coupons and sales that people are tweeting about." Then, "CheapTweet lets users rate deals by saying It's Cheap (it's a good deal) or It's Lame (it's not a good deal). Deals move to the Cheapest Tweets section if they get enough votes." (I've been in the "cheap seats" a few times in my life, but being in the Cheapest Tweets is a different kind of thrill, let me tell you.)

There's more and I suggest you check them out and follow them on Twitter as @CheapTweet.

Does it work? Well, from our perspective, it does. We've tweeted a few deals - like our special coupon code Twitter20, which Twitter users can use at checkout to get 20% off - and gotten to CheapTweet's home page. (By the way, readers of ShopWorthy enjoy the same benefit - use coupon code ShopWorthy20 at checkout, and save 20% at DreamWorthy Gifts.)

Another site that earns its way into our Savvy Shopper section is dealnews.






About dealnews and FAQ.

dealnews serves up hot deals on gadgets, computers, electronics, cameras, and plenty more. One cool thing about this site is that you can subscribe to an RSS feed for the specific item you’re looking for.

Taken from http://dealnews.com/pages/about.html here are some cool things about their site, in their own words:
  • "We can send you an email alert so you don't miss a deal. In the market for a big-screen LCD TV and want to find out when a deal happens? This would be the option for you.
  • As we understand it, the dealmac forum is the most popular Macintosh forum on the Web. That does make us wonder what the least popular Macintosh forum on the Web is. It's not ours, though we're pretty sure of THAT.
  • Subscribe to our newsletter for a daily reminder in your inbox of our best deals for that day. If you occasionally forget to check dealnews, this will deliver them to your inbox so you won’t miss anything.
  • See if dealcoupon has a web coupon before you buy anything from anywhere. You might only get free shipping or $5 off, but that's still free shipping or $5 off.
  • We've got a good selection of RSS deal feeds. Pick a feed, stick it in your email client, My Yahoo, iGoogle, or even on your own website, and get a steady broadcast of deals."
Lastly, before we close, we need to offer a shout-out to our friends over at WantedCoupons.com.
They publish a blog, too, called - simply and clearly - Wanted Coupons. We follow their blog simply because we like it, and were surprised to see ourselves pop up in their recent Top 10 Useful Shopping Sites post. Thanks guys! Kudos to CheapTweet and the others who earned a mention. And in a move that tells you how decent the owners of WantedCoupons are, they recommend other coupon sites. 'Nuff said - please check them out.

And with that said, and with eagerness to go Tweet a shopping deal, we leave you for today.

Thanks for reading, and as always, happy shopping!

Until next time,

Your friends and Shopping Advisors at DreamWorthy Gifts.

3 comments:

DaveS said...

Very impressed! Not only to you guys have a great shopping and gift site, but a very informative blog as well. I especially liked the posts about grocery sites like netgrocer.com and mygofer.com. We'll be following your blog from now on and thanks again for the kind words.

Dave

WantedCoupons.com

Hary said...

Your blog is very good, please open my blog

Betsy Cozzarin said...

K-Mart used to do something called "Blue Light Specials." They would choose an item (let's say, boys socks as an example), they moved a cart through the store to the selected item (the socks), and the blue light would turn on (ala a police light, the kind that would twirl around), and there would then come the announcement... "Attention K-Mart Shoppers...in the Boy's Department we have boys dress socks on sale for the next 15 minutes. Buy 3 pair, get 2 free, all sizes. See the clerk at the blue light to get this fabulous deal, and as always, thank you for shopping K-Mart." Then the same announcement every 5 minutes until the deal ended. Shoppers from all over the store would go swiftly to the department for the deal, and there would be a couple of clerks there to mark the price tags. Happened several times a day, with no rhyme or reason when they would be announced. So, this is where your blue lightbulb comes from, in the ads. You have to be a "certain age demographic" to get it, which is why, when that ad came out, I thought it was unwise because I didn't really think the "over 40" crowd was their demo. Anyway, that is the history of the Blue Light, and thus ends today's lesson. ;-)

BTW...great blog. Fun to read and very informative.

Betsy