Excited Woman with Many Shopping Bags

I hate shopping. I hate the lines, I hate trying on clothes, I hate the sheer number of options, but most of all I hate the crushing indecision facing you as you’re overwhelmed by warehouse-sized spaces taunting you with too many products to sift through and not knowing what to buy — whether for yourself or for others. Even worse than that is the feeling that you’re wasting so much time and energy, with little return.

Online shopping, of course, has offered a happy alternative to having to physically be out there, but the challenge of organizing what you need to buy, what you should buy, for whom and when, is still there, which paralyzes shoppers like myself into wasting even more time. This is why the Personal Shopper website, an online personal shopping service, caught my eye immediately. Someone else to keep track of when I need to buy a birthday present, and tell me what to get? It’s just what I always wanted. But does it deliver? I signed up to investigate.

Brief Overview

Personal Shopper is a free website service that literally acts as a personal shopper. Users input information on preferred styles, stores, brands, and upcoming events, listing gift recipients and their individual interests and tastes. The site then suggests products that may be of interest to yourself based on your personal preferences, as well as reminding you of upcoming gift-giving occasions and suggestions for what to buy others using the information given. The site includes millions of products, spanning all price ranges, from most major brands. Users can tailor the site to their own needs by choosing higher or lower budget preferences.

Personal Shopper Screensot

Personal Shopper Screensot

The site has been copyrighted since 2000 and has gained positive attention since: it’s been featured on CNN Headline News and Oxygen TV networks, and received reviews in Cosmopolitan, USA Today, Fitness, Parents, and Shape magazines. Even celebrities Dr. Phil and Joan Lunden have touted the service, and Laura Silsby, founder and CEO of the site, has been honored with the “2006 International Businesswoman of the Year” award by eWomenNetwork.

Shopping Benefits

  • Users can enter their budget preferences to narrow down choices to high or low prices.
  • A “Deal Finder” function allows users enter a product, price range, and sale function (20% off, 50% off, etc.) to find bargains fast.
  • “TrendWatch Collections” feature acts as a personal stylist: it spots the latest trends in fashion, beauty, and home décor online and in the top magazines, including Glamour, People and People Stylewatch, and sends users instant updates.
  • New members receive 20% off their first purchase upon becoming a member.
  • Personal shopper rewards, member promotions, and offers are given to users.

Useful Shopping Features

Users sign up for free with the site, enter a membership agreement, and can then enter all their preferences to get started.

  • “My Style” allows users to input their shopping habits, preferred styles and favorite brands. The “fashion finder” presents selections you may like, or you can search within your preferred styles and brands for particular items. Once your preferred trends and styles are entered, the site continually updates your profile with matching suggestions.
  • “My Profile” offers choice of style to enter (trendy, classic, professional, etc.) as well as favorite brands, colors, styles, and sizes. The site goes well beyond fashion by including a section for home décor preferences, as well as other interests and hobbies to find the most products of use to the client.
  • “My Family” presents itself as a source for “all shopping needs” for home and house as well as children’s and men’s items. The age and sex for filling out the profile is preset at females age 33 to 44, presumably the target demographic here, but because the site includes all types of products, anyone could make use of it. Office, home and electronic items are all included, and the site provides a newsletter on home and fashion trends, again saving time and energy by providing you with information and suggestions.
  • The “My Calendar” and “My Gift Planner” are the best features on the site. Users can store the names and preferences of people they’ll need to buy gifts for, entering information about the recipient (book lover, fashionist, etc.) to then be presented with a list of suggested options. You can enter birthdays and upcoming events ahead of time. When the occasion nears, the site then reminds you to buy and automatically matches you with specific personalized suggestions. It even manages your gift budget.

Bottom Line

If you’re willing to completely remove yourself from physically feeling the texture on your sofa pillows before you buy, this service is well worth it for saving loads of time and making your shopping more organized and efficient.

Image credit: berekin / iStockphoto