Shopping online is easy, convenient and can yield great savings for consumers. It can also waste your time if you don’t hit the Internet with a plan. Just like meandering around the mall in search of a great bargain, if you do not plan your online shopping excursions with care, you can spend more money than intended and leave yourself frustrated.
Fortunately, finding online shopping deals is easy as a few clicks of the mouse. Read on and we will look at ways that you can save smartly on all your retail purchases.
1. Just Search — Go to your favorite search engine and begin your search. Enter in your keywords and read the results. Use variations of your top words to get more targeted and different results. Bookmark your favorite pages and plan to keep up with these sites. Google is a natural place to start, but use Bing and other search engines to turn up other results.
2. Sign Up — Once you find websites that are your ideal, you’ll want to sign up for sales alerts. Oftentimes, retailers give special discounts and coupon codes to registered members. Registration is typically free and opens consumers to a world of savings that the average web surfer might miss. Check your email regularly too — some specials are for a limited time, therefore time is of the essence!
3. Top Destinations — You can also head directly to the top retailers in your field. For instance, if you shop for aftermarket auto parts, then visit those retailer sites directly. You may find it beneficial to sign up as an affiliate too if you operate a related website. Get discounts and make money off of other people’s purchases!
4. Your Costs — Your retail cost after coupons and related codes may be quite attractive. However, there are a few things you must keep in mind: sales tax and shipping. An increased number of retailers are collecting state and local sales taxes, effectively driving up your purchase costs. In addition, you may be required to pay for shipping unless a certain spend threshold has been reached. Keep these expenses in mind before you hit the “submit” button and always use coupon codes to enjoy the best savings possible.
5. Customer Evaluations — What are other people saying about the sites that you shop? Unless your website shares that information openly, you may need to do some digging by visiting Yelp and similar sites to read these evaluations. Savvy consumers will carefully evaluate retailers and post their findings online. Most reviews are honest, but be careful that some may be gamed or skewed toward the irate customers with an axe to grind. If there is a problem, such as with a return, people will speak up. Add your voice to the mix following your shopping experience.
6. Trusted Retailers — You can check with the Better Business Bureau to learn if there have been complaints about a particular retailer. You should also take precautions when shopping online by only using those sites that are secure. For instance, when making a purchase, the web address should begin with an “https” with the “s” representing secure. A website with a closed padlock in the corner or at the top of the bottom of the page is another sign that you are dealing with a secure site. This means that your personal information, such as your credit card details are safe.
7. Return Policies — What good is an online deal if you’re stuck with an unwanted item? Returns happen or at least they should. You may need to pay for shipping an item back, but your retailer should offer a way for you to return anything that you do not want. Learn what return policies are in place and whether you will receive a credit or a refund for your order. Always check your credit card statements to ensure that proper credit has been made.
Shopping online is highly convenient and can yield savings that are better than what you can find at retail stores. Still, you want to ensure that your shopping experience is a good one, therefore visit only the trusted and proven sites to find deals that are right for you. Stay at it too — deals come and go, and alert shoppers are smart consumers.