No lines, no fighting over parking spaces, and no sold out in-store inventories.
It’s the reason almost 80% of people shop online. It offers the ease of browsing and buying right from the comfort of your own home.
Yet, it’s not always simple for digital shoppers to find the best prices. As online retailers keep a few tricks up their sleeves.
Follow this online shopping guide for tips on how to score the best deals.
Be Smarter About How You Browse
Online retailers are smart. Especially when it comes to targeting their customers and getting information on them.
Collecting this customer data is one of the reasons most companies expand e-commerce efforts. This important data gets used as fuel for their marketing tactics.
So, expect to see different prices depending on where you live and how loyal you are to the brand. They can pull your zip code using your IP address. Then use it show you a higher price if you live in a more urban or affluent location.
Repeat customers may also see higher price points. Viewing the company’s website many times shows interest. Which means you’re more likely to buy, so companies will be less likely to offer you deals.
The type of computer or browser you’re using can also lead to price targeting. Those who use a Mac to make online buys often find themselves subject to a slight price increase.
Shop in Secret
It pays to shop in private, using a special browsing window. This way retailers can’t have access to your browsing history and personal information.
Do this by using incognito or private browsing mode. A VPN can also protect you from these marketing schemes.
It also helps to always clear your browsing history and cookies. Or use a different browser for all the sites you plan to shop on.
Leave Items in Your Shopping Cart
One of the best online shopping tricks is to abandon your cart. Do this by adding items to your online cart without completing the full buying process.
Stores keep track of those who leave items in their cart. They use automated marketing techniques to reach out to try and boost sales.
With items in your cart, a company will likely send you an offer. Expect a promo code, with specials like 20% off or free shipping. This gets done to entice you to go back and buy those waiting items.
Get High Tech with Price Tracking Tools
Amazon may be the easiest place to get all your online shopping done. Yet, it’s not always the cheapest. It pays to compare the pricing of different sites for an item you want to buy.
You can do this by visiting price comparisons websites that offer these services. Or installing a browser add-on tool to compare online prices while you shop. This allows you to select the best possible price from a variety of retailers.
Other services help track shipping costs, coupons, and money back guarantees. You can also sign up for price drop email alert services.
Here is a list of sources that offer the best price tracking tools and services:
- Invisible Hand
- Slick Deals
The best price tracker will take both the cost of the item and the shipping rate into consideration. Sometimes free shipping gets used as a technique to get you to buy. Yet, a website may offer the product at an increased price to help cover these shipping costs.
Some stores will also offer to price match for you, including Nordstrom and WalMart. With low price guarantees, always be sure to save your email receipts.
Turn to Social Media for Special Sales
Brands use Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to help promote last minute deals. This is an effort to boost followers and increase engagement. These social media campaigns may offer details on special discounts or flash sales.
It helps to follow your favorite brands to stay in the know on sales updates. You may also want to follow shopping sites like LivingSocial and Groupon.
Don’t forget to pay attention to key shopping dates, like Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day. Black Friday online sales increased over 23% from last year, due to great deals. Social media is a great tool to keep track of specials during these times.
Sign up for the Newsletter
Brands love capturing email addresses for their client database. Signing up for them will often score you some discounts. New customers will also likely get a coupon towards their first online purchase.
It helps to create an email account so your personal account doesn’t get flooded with spam. This way you can sign up for every brand you buy from. It makes it easy to keep track of deals and special offers.
72% of people belong to a loyalty rewards program. Since signing up for rewards programs can provide you access to exclusive savings.
Membership is often free to join and full of perks. You’ll often get free shipping and special discounts on your birthday.
Email marketing is a great strategy for online clothing brands. They tempt customers to shop now and get insider access to sales. Here are more online shopping guide tips with things to look for when buying clothes online.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for It
Some companies can be a bit more discreet in offering discounts. You may have to do a little digging or read the fine print. As they won’t always list discounts on their homepage.
So, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount that’s within reason. Many brands will give away 10% to 20% discounts to boost brand loyalty.
Have an expired coupon or missed out on a recent sale? Or you noticed a lower price online after buying? Shoot the company’s customer service an email to ask.
You can also start a chat on their website to ask about current promotions. As well as times they may offer free shipping or other discounts.
If they don’t offer free shipping, ask if you can buy the item online. Then plan to pick it up at a local store. This way you can still score those online-only discounts.
An Online Shopping Guide for Saving Big and Outsmarting Retailers
In a world where you can buy almost anything online, be sure you’re getting a quality product at the best possible price. Follow this online shopping guide to outsmart those digital marketing experts.
It pays to be smart with your money, scoring deals and discounts when you can. You can also check out this list of the best things to spend your money on. Chances are, you can find them all online.