NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Most experts agree that the daily deal industry is consolidating: The number of daily deal sites is shrinking as the smaller players give way to the big kahunas, either getting bought out or just shutting down entirely.
Even so, there remain dozens upon dozens of deal sites out there, and it can be hard to visit all of them every morning. While you can certainly subscribe and get the daily deal emailed to you every morning, you’re faced with an avalanche of deal emails when you wake up. And with so many retailers offering coupon codes and discounts on a daily basis, it’s hard to cut through the noise to see which deals are really worth their salt.
So how can you lessen the strain of deal overload?
Unsubscribe. Erin Huffstetler, who edits the Frugal Living Guide for About.com, says that people shouldn’t be afraid to click the unsubscribe button – chances are, there are a couple of services that consistently offer quality deals, and the rest can go.
“I would open my inbox and find 30-40 daily deals,” she says. “I think it’s worth unsubscribing from a lot of them if you can find one or two deal sites that have a lot of the stuff you’re looking for.”
Use Google. Brent Shelton, a spokesman for deal site FatWallet.com, says that many of the site’s deals come directly from merchants with whom the site has relationships. But there’s a good degree of deal hunting that goes on as well, and he says that the deal hunters often make use of Google’s Shopping tool to make price comparisons and see whether an advertised deal really beats out all the other retailers.
Huffstetler adds that she also uses Google Alerts if she’s in the hunt for a deal from a particular retailer – that way you can get an email anytime there’s a hit on a term like “Banana Republic 40% off.” She says it’s even possible to set up an alert for a particular item you want so you’ll know if it goes on sale.
Deal sites and aggregators. If you’d rather not do the deal hunting yourself, there are certainly sites that will do the work for you, including Slickdeals, which has a community of deal enthusiasts posting deals, and Hip2Save, which emphasizes coupons. Huffstetler also points to a feature offered by Savings.com (with which she’s affiliated) that allows you to create a profile of your interests to get a personalized collection of daily deals and coupon codes. And we’re fans of DODTracker.com, which provides a single list of all the daily deals offered by the major sites, along with a thumbnail photo of the product and a timer indicating when it will expire.
Facebook. Have several favorite retailers and don’t want to visit their sites every day to see what’s on sale? Most of the sites will post their coupon codes and sales on their Facebook and Twitter feeds, so following them on either service will get all the deals in one convenient feed. But, as with signing up for the mailing lists of deal services and retailers, this strategy likewise carries a risk of deal overload. While a few retailers offer Twitter or Facebook feeds that only post one deal a day, others use their social media channels to blast out all sorts of company news and promotions that will clog up your social media feeds. You’ll need to take steps to weed out the feeds with the biggest noise-to-signal ratio.
Matt Brownell is a staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach him by email at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @Brownellorama.