European Stars And Stripes Newspaper Archives Dec 1 1999, Page 33

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European Stars and Stripes (Newspaper) - December 1, 1999, Darmstadt, Hesse Online shopping online shopping the in South a and How to a for Holiday shopping on the internet by Leslie Walker and Stephanie Stoughton the Washington Post internet shoppers Start your mice. The world wide web is decked out and waiting for you to Click through its hyperlinked Holiday Madhouse. What can you expect to find probably less than you want in Price discounts and time savings but More than you might think in product selection gift services and live customer help. If you choose to buy gifts online you will be clicking into an All out a tailing War among the Dot coms whose numbers have multiplied since the last Holiday season. As these companies scramble to build sales fast and establish themselves As category leaders they Are throwing in shipping for free giving away gift certificates and yes holding Down prices. Enough retailers Are Selling at or below Cost that All online merchants Are feeling the heat. The pricing pressure is intensifying As Price comparison tools such As my Simon and r u sure get smarter about zeroing in on bargains. The payoff a in sales volume if not profits a could be huge. Current forecasts for online Holiday spending vary widely but most show a doubling from last year a for instance Jupiter communications predicts $6 billion in spending for this month and the next. Gift suggestion Sites by Maryann Haggerty the Washington Post on my Holiday shopping list Are nine Little kids to whom i am somehow related. Then there Are my Sisters Brothers Sisters in Law Brothers in Law a a dozen in All and Only some covered by a secret Santa pacts. Since it would be wrong to give everyone either a Harry Potter Book or a sweater i could use a few ideas. No Surprise the internet promises to help. For this Holiday season just about every major Portal site has added a gift suggestion feature. So have Many specialized retailers both the net Only ones and the electronic outposts of regular stores. There Are also services set up to do nothing but suggest gifts and sell them of course. All Promise to pick just the right thing but the Quality of the suggestions varies wildly. Sites that specialize in gift suggestions Are the most interactive. At gift finder Narrows Down searches by any mix of interest relationship occasion and Price perfect present picker has even More categories including personality occupation and lifestyle. Mixing the categories can Lead to mysterious results i asked perfect present picker what to get for Christmas for a female age 30-46, with a Small town lifestyle an executive Job an analytical personality and an interest in Angels. At the top of the list of suggestions a Quot secret sauce server Quot a $15.95 White serving piece with the words Quot secret sauce Quot painted on it. I switched her lifestyle to big City and the top suggestion became a $399 digital note pad followed by a $130 Glass paperweight. Not an Angel in the Bunch and i figured that a a Gimme. At , there Arentt nearly As Many choices so i tried asking for suggestions for a sister with an interest in collectibles for whom i was willing to spend Between $50 and $99. Three products matched italian Cameo jewelry $79.95raggedy Ann and Andy Glass ornaments $79.95and something called a a globetrotters porcelain Bielot Box set $99.95. Switch her interests to entertaining and gadgets and the nine suggestions were topped by an $89.95 Candle. Other Sites Arentt nearly As interactive but their picks sometimes seem a lot better a especially when it comes to shopping for the kids. Both . Com and toys sort their recommended lists by either age or interests. Blessedly neither splits toy suggestions by the sex of the child so you re not forced into a Choice Between Barbie and a dump truck. Finally the big do every thing portals have also added gift suggestions but these Are often the least useful of the Bunch. Yahoo a site . Com or for instance divides kids gift lists Only by sex and age categories infant toddler child or teen. For both male and female children the classic Book the velveteen Rabbit topped the list costing anywhere from $1.50 for a used paperback to $14.95. For an adult female family members birthday a Holiday gifts for some reason Are not an option a a gardening Book topped the list. The excite portals gift zone com mini shops gift zone offers lists that sometimes feel As if they were put together by a wealthy but none too sophisticated teenager. For dad a Shower head Humidor cd organizer or Shaver for mom Flowers or jewelry from ivc plus that Shower head. Microsoft a gift finder . Com has some less embarrassing ideas but you can to search by recipient. Instead you pick from various categories of merchandise a a Chic shop for clothing and a Gadget Erial for electronics. A kids centrals promises shopping by age group but i find it under a Whiz kids a though i found a selection of children a software a none by Microsoft but All sold at the still unreachable toys r us site accent editor features editor photo graphics Jodi Bafundo Brian Bowers cherish May Bafundo @ Bowers @ stripes 202 761-0756 202 761-0724 1202 761-0842 advertising from the United states Call t202 761-0910 or fax 202 761-0890 advertising irom Europe Call 06155-601-252 or fax 06155-601-376 advertising irom Pacific Call 03-3404-9447 or fax 03-3423-8257 _ Benson @ , i Damarion @ mail .estripes.osd. Mil Wells @ . Mil

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