Online shopping has taken the world by storm. It has become the easiest and the most convenient way to get both essential and non-essential items fast without having to leave home.
And now that the world is dealing with a Pandemic and most of the people are sheltering in place, online shopping is becoming a way of life.
Suppose you are new in the game and trying to navigate the beauty that is e-commerce, aka online shopping.
In that case, there are two things you need to know upfront: online shopping provides the best deals that you cannot always get from physical stores, and it offers exclusive items that are not in stores either. Sounds good, right?
But how can you make sure you are getting the best value for your money when shopping online?
Have you discovered the beauty of coupons and newsletters yet?
Do you have your online shopping strategy to help you save? Keep on reading this ultimate online shopping guide for some valuable tips and tricks.
Five general tips when shopping online
Here are some of the easiest, basic things you can start with when shopping online.
1. Newsletter sign-up.
Both established online retailers and companies increasing their sales and reach online offer exclusive deals to customers when they sign up for email.
This could be in the form of a discount, an additional $$ off first or next purchases, and exclusive sales access.
If you are online shopping often, this is a must-do step to do for extra savings.
But remember, promotional emails can pile up, and before you know it, your inbox (or spam) is already full, so make sure to create a new and specific email account for your online shopping needs.
2. Join loyalty clubs.
A lot of shops offer free loyalty club membership when you reach a certain amount when purchasing online.
Behind this loyalty, clubs are exclusive member-only private sales, special discounts, and even free shipping as a form of reward.
3. Add to cart or wish list.
Even if you don’t plan on purchasing yet, make it a good habit to add the items you are eyeing to your cart or wish list.
Sometimes, brands offer surprise discounts as low as 5 to 10% off the items you want.
However, when there is an upcoming sale, it will be easier for you to narrow down your choices when the items are already in your cart.
Another trick is that when you add to the cart, there’s a big chance you will get an email with a discount coupon code encouraging you to buy the items in the cart.
4. Check the latest card promos.
Credit card companies or Visa and Mastercard offer exclusive promos to cardholders.
They partner with online merchants or brands most of the time, giving customers additional discounts or private access to sales.
Make it a habit to check the latest card promos or coupon codes before you check out.
5. Choose In-Store Pick-up.
Shopping online gives you more options, and it is a lot more convenient because you literally don’t have to go outside of your home.
But if you often shop online, shipping fees can have an impact on your total expenses too.
One better way to save is to choose In-Store Pick-up upon checkout, especially if there is a branch of the store near you.
Most stores offer same day pickup with no additional cost.
Finding the best deals online.
Online shopping, because of its convenience, can be very addictive.
Here, you can easily purchase an item wherever you are, even hard to find items overseas.
It saves you the time, and it can even save you money too. If you are wondering how you can find the best deals, read these ten tips below.
1. Using coupon code.
A discount as low as 5% is still a discount, and if you are buying a lot, this 5% can make a big difference.
Every day, retail stores online offer coupon code ranging from 5% up to 75% depending on their promotions.
Make it a point to check or scout for an available coupon first before hitting the check out button because you may never know how much you will save.
There will always be a coupon available, and all you need to do is a quick google search.
Some of the most popular coupon websites include coupons.com and retailmenot.com.
These are legitimate sites that can greatly help you bag those savings.
2. Shop back or cashback apps.
There are specific apps that offer discounts and cash backs in the form of digital coupons or rewards for your next purchase.
By using these apps, there is a guarantee that you will receive a portion of your money back after every purchase.
The key when using cashback apps is to turn your notification on your phone, especially if you are a regular shopper.
Some stores offer more cashback on specific days of the week.
Some also provide “specific time” rewards to allow shoppers to access more savings.
3. Free shipping offers.
Sometimes, shipping cost can be too high that even if you spot that perfect deal for your purchase, it is just not worth it if you consider the amount you will pay for shipping.
Another thing is that if you buy most of the items you need online, shipping charges may accumulate.
The key is to look for stores that offer free shipping all year round.
Many online stores give free shipping with no minimum purchase required.
Some stores provide free shipping code. You just need to watch out for it patiently or download apps such as freeshipping.org to help you.
4. Do price comparison.
Comparing prices is easier than you might actually think, especially if you are eyeing items in season.
If you are buying a particular pair of shoes, for example, you might find it more expensive if you buy it from an e-commerce shopping store but much cheaper when you buy directly from the brand’s online shop that offers discount coupons and free shipping.
This can be applied when buying sale items as well, especially during the end of season sale.
Most retailers will put on sale similar items that are about to go offseason.
Make sure to compare prices and quality before clicking the checkout button.
5. Follow on social media.
Most brands will give teaser posts or ads about their upcoming sales.
If you are eyeing particular brands, follow them on their social media pages to get first dibs on sales and exclusive members’ discounts.
6. Keep an eye on specific days in a week for sales.
Of course, you need to keep an eye on holiday sales and special event sales, but did you know that there are sales that drop on specific days of the week even without a major event?
Stores use this as a form of promotion to increase their sales on that particular week.
Make sure to monitor this when shopping online and make sure not to rush your purchase because there will undoubtedly be a price drop. You just have to wait a little bit more.
7. Buy discounted gift cards.
Many stores offer a discounted price of gift cards as a means to thank loyal customers or as promotions.
Some sites sell only discounted gift cards all year long. If you are going to shop big, a gift card discount from about 5% to 20% off is definitely a huge help.
8. Browse in private.
Have you ever heard of dynamic pricing? Sometimes, stores increase their prices a bit based on your zip code or mobile history.
So if you noticed that prices are a bit different, this might be the reason for it. If you want to keep the prices as is, make sure to clear your browsing history and cookies and browse in private.
Most often than not, this can help you save up a bit.
9. Use the chatbox for quick search and queries.
Chatboxes that suddenly pop up when you are online shopping can be annoying sometimes, but did you know they can help you save up in an instant?
You may use those chatboxes to ask upfront about special sales or codes that you may use, and they will answer you right away.
And if you happen to have an expired discount code, customer service may still honor it for you, provided that you will use it when checking out that specific day.
You can only do it if you ask using chatboxes, of course.
10. Download a store-specific app.
When you download a specific brand or store app on your mobile, most of the time, they provide you with better savings.
Some stores offer discounts when buying using their app for the first time.
There are app-exclusive discounts and promos that you can use as well.
The key is to keep your notifications on so it will alert you on the latest promos.
Holidays and end of season sales to watch out for
When you love to shop and save at the same time, you’d probably know that waiting for the best deals online is worth it.
By being patient, you learn to review the items in the cart and save a lot when you know you can’t completely cut shopping out of your life.
Fortunately, there are many good deals in online shopping to help you get the value for your money.
Deals online today are way better than deals and discounts from a physical store.
One of the reasons for this is that more and more people are doing their shopping online, and competitors are increasing as well.
Plus, it is easier to browse and compare items online than in a physical store.
So when are online stores giving the best offers? During holidays and end of season sales.
Knowing when the items you’re eyeing are likely to go on sale will allow you to plan ahead of your online shopping game.
Take note of the major sale holidays below.
The New Year’s Day Online Shopping Deals.
Many retailers throw sales during the first week of the new year.
Here, you can score good deals on winter essentials because they are most likely to launch Spring apparel after January.
Martin Luther King Junior’s Day Online Shopping Deals.
This is an American holiday, and most retail shops in the US go on sale during this holiday.
But some online stores outside the US give deals and reasonable offers during this holiday as well just to compete.
Memorial Day Online Shopping Discounts.
This is another American holiday where most shops go on sale but again, retail stores outside the US offer discounts during this holiday.
Fourth of July. This is the independence day celebration in the United States, and retail stores, especially those that originated from the country, offer huge discounts to shoppers online.
Many states in the US offer a tax waiver on clothing items, electronics, school supplies, and other essentials during August.
If you live overseas and are planning to purchase something in the US, this is one of the best times to shop online.
This holiday happening in the US as well is an excellent time to score and save on clothing items when shopping online. Other things like make-ups and gadgets have sales as well.
Amazon Prime Day.
You can use Amazon wherever you are in the world, and this retail giant offers worldwide shipping services.
The best Amazon sale is Amazon Prime Day, which is often compared to Black Friday but Amazon-specific only.
Here, there are a lot of deals offered by shops that have Amazon listings.
This huge sale used to happen after Thanksgiving, but at present, it became a weekend-long event where retail stores offer huge discounts on their items, even the new ones.
Brands give some of their best deals during Black Friday, so they are even giving up to 75% off total purchases.
This is the Monday right after the Black Friday sale and is mostly focused on online deals.
Most sales on Cyber Monday are duplicates of the Black Friday deals, but some retail stores even offer more.
Apps and tools for additional savings
Some websites and apps are useful when tracking sales and deals.
With apps, you just turn your mobile notification on, and you will be one of the first to know where there is an upcoming sale or deal offerings.
Below are some of the best websites and apps you can bookmark and download to further save your online shopping.
This is the ultimate website for promo codes.
It has thousands of codes from thousands of merchants, and the best thing about it is that you can search for a specific store to check their latest deals.
This website has huge offerings of coupons you can use when shopping every day.
You can use the coupons both online and in a physical store to help you further save.
This one is perfect to use for both online and in-store.
Just download it and browse current offers before you add to the cart and click check out.
You can even earn cash back on eligible products.
This online tool allows you to link your email address to track and monitor receipts and gives you the option to refund is if the product you purchased goes on sale or is offered at a discounted rate.
This is an excellent tool for comparing prices online.
Here, you can simply search for the product you want, and Google will show you various prices from various retailers.
Are you looking for ways to save on other products and services? Read below.
Finding the best travel deal online.
It is easy to book tickets for your dream travel destination.
With the apps available, you can easily compare airline and hotel booking prices to help you save.
According to skyscanner.com, the best time to book flights for domestic trips is 2-3 weeks in advance, and the best time to book for international flights is 5-6 months in advance.
But it is best to follow the social media accounts of airlines to spot ticket sale deals immediately.
You may follow hotels as well for their best rates.
Finding the best car deal online.
At present, you can easily purchase a good vehicle online and have it delivered on your front steps with the many car shipping services available online today.
You can also download apps like Autolist, hailed as the best and legitimate car buying site online.
For a price comparison, reviews, and quotations, you can visit autotempest.com.
Are you familiar with online arbitrage? This seemed to be a new kind of thing, but it is gaining popularity among buyers and sellers who heavily do their business online.
In simple words, online arbitrage is buying or sourcing items online and selling them online as well.
It is a regular buy and sell happening online. You can also purchase items in-store like Target or Walmart and sell it to a different marketplace like Amazon.
But if you are buying products online and selling it online, can you still gain profit from it?
The answer is surprising yes with online arbitrage because you source your product at a discounted rate and sell it with profit.
This also works when you source hard to find items.
Remember that not all buyers can buy directly from the retail store, especially if they are located overseas because of shipping limitations and payment methods. Instead, they search for international sites like Amazon.
Online arbitrage is relatively easy to do if you want to earn extra. It can be done anywhere, and all you need to have is internet access.
You just need to have good sourcing and research skills to start.
Shopping online and finding the best deals can be very addictive.
Aside from the fact that you can shop 24/7 to take your stress away, it is very convenient and easy to do.
With just a bit of research, you can score huge discounts and exclusive deals when shopping online than when shopping in a physical store.
The competition is heavy online; that is why stores have to come up with promotions to keep their visibility, engagement, and of course, sales up.
Many useful tools can give you the best online shopping experience.
From price comparison apps to coupon offerings, you can get everything with just a click of your finger.
Make it a habit to turn on your mobile notifications to monitor deals or follow social media accounts of your favorite store to read firsthand about their current and upcoming deals.
There are also a lot of holiday offerings you can enjoy when shopping online.
No matter where you are in the world, you can easily shop for items because online shopping is global.
You don’t need an expensive ticket to travel and buy things not available in your own country.
Aside from clothing, electronic gadgets, and others, you can also score travel deals and other services offered at a discounted rate online.
Make sure, though, to check and do your research so that you won’t be scammed, for this is common online as well.
When shopping online, make sure to enjoy the experience and remember to shop only when you have the money to pay for it.
With all the deals and discounts available, it is very easy to overdo your shopping.
You might go broke doing this, so extra precaution is necessary.