Oh, the glory of technology! How it has changed our culture, lifestyle, and, in particular, shopping habits. Now we can consume more goods with just a click of a button. It’s quick, convenient, and allows us to do price comparisons like never before.
But there is actually an art to shopping online to ensure you acquire the best items at the best prices for your ultimate satisfaction.
Ecommerce sites such as Amazon have become a new way of life, and there is a reason Amazon rakes in more than $280 BILLION (yes billion) per year.
Not only has Amazon dominated the online shopping market, but it has also become the gold standard for other online shopping sites with its many easy-to-purchase features (and if you don’t have a Prime account, it’s well worth the investment!).
But keep in mind, there are a lot of nifty strategies to get the best bang for your buck and will also make online shopping a sheer delight! We’ve collected some of our favorite tips and tricks, which we are happy to share with you!
Research, Research, Research
Did we mention the part about researching? It’s an important, if not the most important thing you can do when making virtual purchases. It’s a fast, effective way to compare many retailers at once. You can search by item, price, color, reviews, and more.
This helps you get a good idea of what’s out there, what you should be paying, and a fairly good idea about the quality of the item. And there are tons of free plug-ins that can speed up your searching like PriceGrabber, and Google Shopping that can show you the same exact product on multiple sites and what each costs.
Coupon codes from Capital One Shopping, Honey, Ibotta, and Rakuten (among many others) will have you saving your hard-earned pennies across the world wide web. Many offer rewards programs and more to aid you in your quest. Don’t just settle on the first item you see and like – spend the time!
Set Up an Email for Shopping Email Lists
One of the best ways to find deals is to subscribe to sales lists from your favorite brands and stores. You can stay informed on the best prices and receive real-time notifications without clogging up your regular email account (believe us, once these emails start coming, the velocity is hard to control, and scrolling just to delete can be a real pain!
Seek Out Sale Sections First
Whichever item you are in the market for, it may be discounted somewhere online. Gone are the anxiety-inducing days of fighting over clearance items in traditional, physical stores. And likely, many of these online sale items are overstock or last season, so it’s not always something that has been defected in some way – thus “red-tagged” with a no-return policy. If you’ve ever bought something on sale only to get home and realize there is a huge stain, rip or scratch – you know the feeling.
Read the Reviews
We previously touched on this, but it can be one of the most successful strategies to ensure you’re happy with the product on arrival and not have to deal with the muss and fuss of sending it back.
Thankfully most retail sites have a five-star rating spectrum and plenty of verified reviews from real purchasers who either love or hate their items (and why). Many times, there are photos of the item(s) after delivery so you can visualize what the actual product will look like and not have to rely on the fancy photography of the brand’s website. Look for details like “true to size,” “quality,” “on-time delivery,” etc.
But don’t bank all your hard decision making on reviewers, what’s good for the goose may not always be good for the gander. We all have our personal preferences and value some aspects over others.
Be Cautious Yet Adventurous
Certain items like bathing suits, athletic shoes, and accessories can be a gamble. But you just may get lucky and realize some of these items are surprisingly great to shop for online. If you’re purchasing clothing, take an extra interest in the sizing chart and spend time taking your most recent measurements. This way you can avoid a significant amount of disappointment when your retail item arrives.
Think it Through
Depending on your personality, online purchases may induce your anxiety and therefore increase your impulse buying, or you could be on the other side of the spectrum and overthink making what could be a simple purchase.
A lot of online shoppers prefer to load up a website’s cart, then review all the items before purchasing. “Do I really need or want this?” or “I can’t find this anywhere, it’s a necessity!” are two common reactions to reviewing your shopping cart prior to hitting purchase.
You can also examine if you put too many of the same type of item in your cart and thoroughly examine and whittle it down to find the best option, without overindulging your budget.
Set a Budget!
The world of online shopping can be a slippery slope. There are just so.many.options. It’s easy to get a little carried away and spend more than you intended because you are finding so many great deals.
Don’t let your excitement destroy your bank account and put you into an unmanageable financial situation later. There ARE a lot of options, and they are always changing! Keep your out for larger dollar purchase items to narrow down how much you are willing to and can afford to spend.
Investigate Return Policies
It can be difficult to really comprehend the quality, fit, color, or dimensions of an item when you are shopping online. And, with the unbridled excitement of seeing the delivery man at your door, you may discover the item wasn’t what you thought at all.
Most reputable online retailers have great return policies (after all, they want you to keep coming back!). But some items, like undergarments and clearance products, may have a no money-back guarantee. Stay on the safe side and be aware of the return policies to avoid being stuck with something you are unhappy with.
These are just a few of our recommendations to help you shop online like a pro! When you take a few extra steps, you can increase the potential for a successful online purchase.