Online shopping is not only a very convenient way to shop, it can also be great way to save money on products and services. With online retailers getting increasingly creative with discounts, coupons, incentives, promotions and other tactics, it really pays to be a savvy shopper so that you can take advantage of low prices and deals that you can find online and to save tons of money on your favorite products.
Here are our 10 top online shopping tips to help you save money when you are buying over the internet:
1. Outsmart dynamic pricing
One sneaky tactic that some online merchants try to use is dynamic pricing. What this involves is showing different prices to customers depending on current demand for the product, spending and browsing patterns as well as location of the customer.
Maybe you found dirt cheap airline tickets one day only to find that they cost 30% higher the following day. That was most likely dynamic pricing at work. This technique continues to get increasingly sophisticated to the point that many retailers are very well aware of what your price points are and might show higher prices to you versus someone else who has a history of paying less money on their online purchases.
If you want to be offered less biased pricing, do the following:
– Clear you cookies and browsing history.
– Log out of accounts (your email, Facebook, Google+, etc).
– Switch into incognito mode
– When looking for airfare, select a less developed country as your home to receive better prices.
2. Shop at the right times of day
You might be tempted to relax on a Sunday afternoon surfing the web and shopping. However, be aware that a majority of stores roll out their special deals and discounts on Wednesdays through Fridays. Sunday is the best for scoring cheap airline tickets, while Monday is the most expensive. Rather Be Shopping reports that Tuesday tends to be the best day for purchasing desktop and laptop computers since some of the major retailers like Hewlett-Packard and Dell send their special coupons out on Tuesday. For book worms, Saturdays are the best since that is when online book retailers like Barnes & Noble an Amazon launch many books sales.
3. Strategically use multiple coupon codes
When a website will allow you to use multiple promo codes and coupons at checkout, make sure you use them in the correct order. For example, you have a $10 coupon and promo code to get a 20% discount. You should first apply the 20% promo code to subtract 20% off of the entire order’s price. Then you can use the $10 discount coupon to achieve even more savings.
4. Ask for refunds on price drops
Maybe your bought an item yesterday. You notice the next day that that it is on sale now. That can be quite frustrating. However, there are some companies that will refund you the difference in price if you directly contact them within a specific time frame. For example, Amazon will issue a refund to you if you contact them within 7 days from your delivery date. You can monitor Amazon prices changes using Camelcamelcamel.com.
There are some credit cards that offer price protection as well. So no matter where you purchase an item, the credit card company will refund you the difference when the price drops within a specific number of days. This includes credit cards like Citi Double Cash Card and Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.
5. Capitalize on smart rewards programs
There are some apps that offer special bonuses that you can redeem for performing certain actions. With ShopKick you can earn kicks through browsing product catalogs or taking paid online surveys. Your kicks can be exchanged for special discounts or gift cards. Swagbucks TV lets you earn swagbucks through watching videos. You can then redeem your swagbucks for discounts from various online merchants. Amazon has its Amazon Rewards Visa card. It comes with a $50 sign up bonus. In addition, 3 points get added for every dollar you spend at Amazon.
6. Make bargains with customer service
Maybe you just found a really good coupon sitting in your email box and realize it expired only a few days ago. Don’t worry about it! Call the company’s hotline to see if the coupon you have can be extended when you make your order. Sales reps are usually interested in closing out deals, so they will usually either honor the existing one you have or provide you with a current promo code that you can use. It might not always work, particularly on low-priced products, however it never hurts to ask.
Many websites also have live chat that you can use. Ask a couple of questions about whatever product you are interested in buying. Then ask if there are any discounts that are available on the item. Not everyone is aware of this, but chat support often has the ability to provide special promo codes. Many times these are not readily available, so you will just need to ask.
7. Keep your emails organized
You can save a lot of money by signing up to promotion lists, coupon sites and email newsletters. However, do you hesitate about all of the spam you might get? Why not give Unroll.me a try. It is a very useful email add-on that allows you to instantly unsubscribe from whatever junk emails you want to and also helps to de-clutter your inbox through sending you one email digest per day that summarizes your preferred subscriptions. You can even select the time of day that you would like to get the email.
8. Do smart comparison checks
To score the best deals online and avoid overpaying for products, install the browser add-on called PriceBlink (available for Safari, Mozilla and Chrome). It can save you a lot of time by pulling prices automatically for a product from many different merchants and organizing the information into a chart and notifying you whenever there are coupons available for the product. The Pricegrabber app is another one you can try. It basically does the same thing and can also scan bar codes and furnish you with bottom line prices, which include tax, shipping and any other types of add-on expenses.
9. Leave items inside your shopping cart
Add items to your shopping cart and then walk away for a few days. First of all, this helps to prevent you from making impulse purchases. Second of all, retailers hate to have deals left unclosed and will do anything they can to complete the sale. Some of the stores will offer better prices the next day or send you coupons include Office Max, JC Penney, Macy’s and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Keep in mind that this trick will only work if you have an account at the merchant website. When you leave the shopping cart you need to be logged into your account.
10. Use multiple email addresses to obtain more coupons
Some stores love to send big single use coupons to certain selected customers of theirs. Sign up to be on newsletters using multiple email addresses to increase your chances of scoring big savings. Think about how much money you can save if you have three discount codes for 50% off one full-priced product, instead of having just one.
Use one or all of the above online shopping tips to save money. Most of them are very simple to do and don’t take up a lot of your time, so they are definitely well worth doing 🙂