With the holiday season rapidly approaching (yet again!), there’s a good chance you’ll be doing some, if not all, of your gift shopping online. Shopping online provides ease and convenience that’s nearly impossible to find at the mall. Plus, if you know where to look, you can save money on your purchases. Discover the different ways you can save money when shopping online—both during the holiday season and all throughout the year.
BEAT DYNAMIC PRICING
If you’re not familiar with dynamic pricing, it’s a (somewhat sneaky) pricing strategy used by online merchants. Basically, different prices are shown to different customers based on various factors, such as their location, spending patterns, browsing history, and more.
But two can play this online retail pricing game. Get fairer prices when shopping online by doing the following:
- Log out of all your accounts (email, social media, etc.)
- Clear your browsing history (especially all cookies)
- Select localized website versions (as opposed to being redirected to the U.S. version)
PINPOINT THE RIGHT DAY TO SHOP
Depending on what you’re purchasing, certain days are better than others to shop online. For example, many stores offer discounts and deals on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. But Tuesdays are usually the best day for computer purchases. Saturdays are typically when book lovers can find special savings online with book retailers.
REQUEST PRICE-DROP REFUNDS
We’ve all been frustrated when purchasing an item at a certain price, only to discover it went on sale the next day. However, some companies will honor the sale price and refund the difference. But you need to contact them directly and the price must have decreased within a certain number of days from your purchase. It never hurts to ask.
COMPARE PURCHASE PRICES
You can save time and money when you install the PriceBlink browser add-on (available for Chrome, Safari, and Mozilla). PriceBlink pulls the prices for a product from various merchants and organizes them into a comparison chart, enabling you to find the best price without a time-consuming search. It will also let you know if any coupons are available.
Google Shopping is another option, helping you compare prices from different retailers without having to check multiple websites. As a bonus, since Google Shopping is performing the searches, merchant websites can’t identify you and use dynamic pricing against you (mentioned above).
LET ITEMS SIT IN YOUR CART
Another way to save is to let the items in your online shopping cart sit for a few days. But, why in the world would you do that? Online merchants want to avoid customers abandoning their carts as much as possible. To encourage customers to complete the sale they started, many merchants will send a discount code or offer a better price to potential buyers who have left their online shopping carts in limbo. It's important to note that getting an email with a discount offer might require that you have an account with the merchant and are logged in to their shopping site.
NEGOTIATE WITH CUSTOMER SUPPORT
Did you miss out on a coupon or other special promotion? No need to stress. Often, all you need to do is reach out to customer service via phone, email, or online chat and ask if they can apply the discount to your purchase. Many times, they’ll extend the code toward your purchase even if the promotion has ended or in some cases, will apply a new coupon code. While this may not work for all purchases or with all retailers, there’s certainly no harm in checking first.
USE SMART REWARD PROGRAMS
Try looking into shopping rewards sites and apps that provide special bonuses for doing certain activities. For example, you’ll be able to earn rewards with Shopkick for browsing product catalogs or taking paid online surveys. You can then exchange the rewards for gift cards or special discounts.
Swagbucks is another popular shopping rewards site. It offers various ways to earn Swagbucks rewards or SB points, such as watching videos and playing games. In addition, you can redeem your rewards or points for merchant gift cards, cash back from PayPal, and prizes.
APPLY SEVERAL COUPON CODES
Some retailers allow you to apply more than one promo code to your purchase. If so, be sure to use the coupons in the order that will provide the greatest total discount. For example, if you have a 25% discount and a $5 coupon, use the 25% discount first so you’ll get that discount applied to the full price. Then apply the $5 coupon to the remaining balance.
BROWSE USING AN INCOGNITO TAB
To avoid being presented with customized information on products (and prices, discounts, and messaging) based on your browsing and purchase history, use incognito browsing (a.k.a. private browsing). Using incognito browsing will prevent websites from identifying you and tailoring prices, allowing you to snag better deals on your purchases.