OK, so you’re now buried beneath piles of gifts, some of which you will cherish forever and some of which you can’t wait to dump. Your umpteenth Starbucks gift card? Come on! You’re already terminally over-caffeinated. And that blouse with the weird pattern? It doesn’t even fit.
What to do? More than a third of American consumers will return at least one holiday gift this year, according to the National Retail Federation — a deluge of returns with a value of $60 billion to $70 billion, by some estimates.
Here, then are some tips, using apps and readily accessible online tools, to help you in your quest to return, sell, swap or donate your unwanted presents.
The apps, sites and services listed here are better than Tylenol; they will help dispel your post-holiday headaches and hassles.
“So many people have to jump through so many hoops to actually make a return,” says Courtney Jesperson, retail expert for NerdWallet, the personal finance website. “Maybe you didn’t hold onto the receipt. Maybe you’re outside the return period. Maybe you’re just feeling confused or overwhelmed and stuck with a gift. But now, increasingly, there’s all this technology to help you get un-stuck.”
ShopSavvy is an app and website that helps manage your shopping online and at brick-and-mortar stores, including Macy’s, Target, Nordstrom, Costco and Kmart. But in the weeks after Christmas, it has a very particular function: It scans bar codes. That means it can help you figure out which local store stocks your unwanted gift — because you don’t have the receipt, right? At the very least, you can now bring it back and plead your case.
Likewise, Slice, an app and web service that tracks purchases, discounts and deliveries by combing through your inbox, can also find receipts. “Instead of digging back through your email and trying to find the order confirmation from 30 days ago, you pull it up from your app,” Jesperson says. “Kind of handy.”
And if you’re heading to the mall to make a return, but fear the crowds — fear no more. Google Maps now charts in-store traffic in real time, allowing you to make your return when you won’t have to wait on long lines. Check the live updates feature in Google’s Search and Maps in order to get those real-time crowd estimates.
SELL AND SWAP
The National Retail Federation estimates that two-thirds of shoppers purchase at least one gift card each year. No wonder gift card exchanges are proliferating online. Among the popular ones are Gift Card Granny and Cardpool, which is based in Pleasanton and pays up to 92 percent of the face value of a card. (It may come from a retail chain, restaurant, gas station or the like.) Cardpool also has a program allowing gift card owners to visit Target stores and exchange unwanted gift cards for Target cards. “We describe ourselves as trying to get the right brands in the right hands,” says Patrick Ramsey, Cardpool’s general manager.
Selling on eBay gets complicated — all those decisions to be made about auction strategies, optimum selling hours, shipping. But the online auction house’s eBay Valet service simplifies matters. With exceptions, a valet will sell your electronics, collectibles, designer clothing, shoes, handbags and musical instruments. Box them, fill out the prepaid shipping labels (shipping is free) and send them off to the valet — who will take a cut of the transaction, somewhere between 20 and 75 percent. (The more costly the item, the bigger your payment.) Or drop your items off at participating FedEx offices where they will be boxed and shipped.
You can always unload items on Craigslist. If that’s become old hat, try using 5miles. Billing itself as a mobile marketplace, it’s a smartphone app and web service that allows you to sell, buy and exchange items with interested parties who live close by. During the 2015 holiday, the average 5miles “re-gifter” made $115 on unwanted items, according to a spokesperson. The most popular items this year include household goods and tools, toys, iPads, iPhones and Apple Watches.
And here are a few more apps and websites for selling what you don’t need.
For books: Portland-based Powell’s Books’ web store or We Buy Books (an app from Revival Books Ltd which also pays for CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and video games).
Exclusively for swapping, there is Swappi, an app that uses a view-and-swipe interface to match one trader with another. Start by posting a photo and a value on Swappi. It will show you photos of items that other users are offering to trade. Swipe to the right if you’re not interested, swipe to the left if you are. When users make a match, they open a chat window to close the deal.
The Goodwill Locator app makes it easy to be charitable. Download it to find a Goodwill drop-off location near you and calculate the tax-deductible value of your donation.
PickUpMyDonation.com arranges pickups for donated items to the charity of your choice. Go to the website. Enter your ZIP code. Choose the organization you want to support, and then indicate a few possible times for your pickup. After you have entered your donation into the system, your organization will call you to confirm.
Finally, once you’ve made some cash or arranged a tax deduction with any of these online tools, think about simply giving:
ShareTheMeal is a program of the United Nations World Food Programme for fighting hunger. Download the app and tap your phone to make a donation: 50 cents is what it takes to feed a child for a day. A current goal is to provide school meals for one year to 58,000 children in Zomba, an area devastated by the El Niño drought in the African nation of Malawi. The children, aged 6 to 13 years, will receive a nutritious, daily meal at school.
Here’s a list of smartphone apps, websites and other services for getting rid of unwanted holiday gifts. All apps may be downloaded for free and are available for iOS and Android.
ShopSavvy, app and web service
Slice, app and web service
Google Maps’ live updates, app and web service
SELL AND SWAP:
Gift Card Granny, web service
Cardpool, web service
5miles, app and web service
Poshmark, app and website
thredUp, app and website
Powell’s Books, website
Decluttr, app and website
Goodwill Locator, app
Published at Wed, 21 Dec 2016 15:00:08 +0000