Online shopping is so quick, convenient and easy that it’s hard to image a world in which you actually have to go to a store to buy every little item that you want that might be difficult to find. The world of online shopping makes shopping from anywhere in the world for any products at any time a reality.
But there are some difficulties that of course come along with all of this convenience and ease – are you ordering the right size of shoes or clothing? Is the item going to end up being what I imagined it to be? Am I paying more or less for this than I would be at a store?
If the last question is a big concern to you (and who wouldn’t be concerned with it in today’s economic state?), you’ve come to the place that is right. These are some of the secrets to help you save money while you shop online – secrets that not many people know of, of course, so you’ll be one of the first exclusive shoppers to get in on how to find some great deals online.
Know When to Shop
Shopping online is a lot different than shopping in stores for a number of obvious reasons – but did you know that online stores hold sales at different times than the storefront retailers?
According to a recent study, while most storefronts tend to offer some of the biggest sales on Fridays and into the weekends most of the time, online stores shoot for the big sales on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays to compete with their storefront counterparts.
Knowing this little factoid can help you better plan your online shopping excursion. Check your favorite sites regularly, and when you see a sale, take advantage – but know that it is more likely to be toward the end of the week than on the weekends.
Opt in on Flash Sales
Along sort of the same lines as knowing when to shop, keeping track of which stores are planning sales at which times can be a big of a daunting task for the shopper that just wants to log on and quickly order the exact product that they’re looking for.
So, next time you’re on your favorite online shopping site, sign up for the e-newsletter. Many times online retailers will send emails to their list announcing “flash sales,” or major sales that last only for a couple of days that you need an exclusive membership code to get the deal.
Most times, these sales are pretty enormous, and can be something as great as up to 70% off everything in the online store. Getting a notification that these sales are happening can save you some major moolah.
Read Customer Reviews
Reading reviews will especially come in handy when shopping for items like electronics or gadgets of any sort. The worst experience when shopping is online is receiving an item that isn’t what you thought it would be – and having to pay the shipping again to have it sent back to the manufacturer.
If you’re not sure how you might like an item, check out what other people who bought it have to say about it. If they say there are any major defaults and they made a mistake in purchasing it, then your decision should be obvious. The same is true if you see rave reviews for an awesome and hip product.
Avoid the hassle of having to pay the shipping to send back an item you don’t like and learn everything you can about it before you buy it in the first place.
Avoid Paying Taxes
In 1992, Congress passed a law that basically said that out-of-state merchants are not required to collect taxes from out-of-state customers, and if an online business doesn’t have an actual physical location but instead exist purely online, they, too, are not required to collect taxes.
This has been a major price break for tons of online shoppers over the years – because really, all you have to do is find an out-of-state or solely online merchant to buy from and you aren’t required to pay tax.
But hurry if this is your planned route of saving money shopping online – there is new legislation out there that is trying to get all online merchants to start collecting taxes. There are still ways around it (the law will only apply to larger online retailers – like Amazon, for example), but be aware that the “no tax when shopping online” luxury may not be around forever.
Shop for Rebates
Tons of online merchants are now offering mail-in rebates or even instant rebates on many of their products.
The key to this tactic is, again, staying in touch with the retailer. Sign up for a “frequent shopper” membership and/or program, and keep an eye out for sales that offer rebates or cash back on purchases that you already make online.
These rebates sometimes come in the form of an instant cash-back charge on your debit or credit card or the retailer may opt to send you a gift certificate or gift code for future use on their website. Either way, you’re getting money back on a purchase – and what could be better than that when you’re trying to save money shopping online?
Dani is a writer who works closely with many online merchants providing them with a software to accept credit cards online. She knows the ins and outs of online shopping well and is always looking for different ways to save money!
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