December 02, 2019
Let the holiday shopping begin!
Millions of shoppers are expected to use their high-speed internet connections to spend billions of dollars at their favorite online retailers. But the annual event is just one of 365 days to shop smart. Online shopping can be overwhelming — especially if you want to find the best deals. Here's seven tips on how to shop smart any day of the year.
1. Compare Prices
The easiest way to get the best deal is to comparison shop. Using an online tool like Google's Shopping tab helps you search for prices online, as well as at nearby stores. Another technology shortcut is to use an app like Slice, which keeps track of online purchases from merchants like Amazon, eBay and Apple as well as to daily deal sites such as Groupon. Keep track of whether other retailers are offering the same purchase at a lower price. Many stores offer competitive exchange policies if you can show that another store offered the same item at a cheaper price. Knowledge is power when buying online.
2. Watch Black Friday Prices
Cyber Monday follows Black Friday, traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Keep an eye out for Black Friday deals — many which are shared online or on social media by retailers — to see what prices are being advertised. Of course, online prices round-the-year may vary, but you get a good ballpark figure to plan your shopping strategy.
3. Clear Your Cookies
If you don't already know, online cookies track your browser data. Retailers can use this information to see how often you've come to a website to search for an item (or similar searches). Items viewed are often priced based on that data; changing even minute-by-minute. By deleting your cookies, the retailer will not be able to see your history and you can take advantage of so-called dynamic pricing.
4. Plan Wisely
Certain categories of items always seem to go on sale during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, like electronics, home goods and gaming systems. According to Rather Be Shopping, this time of year is excellent for apparel deals but not-so-great for Christmas and holiday gifts. For expensive or special items, plan your shopping calendar in advance so as to take advantage of seasonal price changes.
5. Use Those Coupon Codes!
Coupons aren't just for clipping out of the newspaper circular. Online coupon and discount codes are plentiful — if you know where to look. Sites like Retail Me Not and Brad's Deals have an extensive list of coupon codes.
Consider joining sites like EBates that offer percentage discounts and cash back at a variety of popular stores. Signing up is easy and members can take advantage of double cash back and deal offers. Plus, there's usually a sign-up bonus for new members.
6. Sign Up for the E-Newsletter
Some stores don't have readily available coupon codes but nearly every online retailer has an e-newsletter. Sign up and check your inbox for a new subscriber code. Many retailers offer special deals (some as much as 20% off!) just for their newsletter subscribers. Feel free to unsubscribe directly after using the code or keep reading for deals and sneak peek offers year-round.
7. Abandon Your Cart
Sometimes the best shopping advice is to abandon your shopping cart. Some retailers will email you with special offers only after you've left a cart prior to check-out to entice you to come back. This strategy take a bit of patience — as the coupon may be emailed days after — but it's well worth the wait.
Shopping online has its benefits, from avoiding crowds and lines to saving time. Use these tips to shop smart and save money all year long.