Faster, more convenient and often cheaper, shopping on the internet has become a habit, even a real reflex for many of us. From high-tech equipment to food shopping and clothing shopping, everything is done on the internet. However, contrary to what we would like to believe, buying on the internet is not always financially interesting. From exaggerated shipping costs to false bargains, buying online actually has many pitfalls to avoid. No need to panic! There is no fatality to be "plucked" while shopping online! We have made for you a small overview tips and advice on how to buy cheaper on the internet and help you to do it real bargains.
1. Compare the different prices
One of the great advantages of shopping online, as opposed to shopping in stores, is that you can compare prices without having to leave your couch. So, why deprive yourself of it! Before making a purchase, don't forget to do a Google search to get an overview of best prices of the moment for this long awaited article. Note the prices of the items themselves, but also the differences in shipping costs. Once this is done, go and have a look at the brand's website. Brands regularly offer additional benefits on their e-shops. Finally, if you feel like it, a little trip to town to compare the "store price" to the online price will confirm your decision and the interest of buying this product or not on the internet.
2. Avoiding the pitfalls of comparators
Beware, price comparison sites are not all as objective as they claim to be... The prices they propose, far from being universal, are calculated according to a good number of parameters concerning you. Your location (the standard of living in your country of residence) and the amount and frequency of your usual online purchases are all personal data that these sites list in order to offer you "tailor-made" prices. So, unless you want to take the time to erase all your traces (browsing history, cookies...), run away!
3. Sign up for loyalty programs
Loyalty cards and newsletter subscriptions are still the most popular ways to save money on the internet. Thus, many discounts will be offered throughout the year thanks to your loyalty. And if you're tired of being bombarded with advertising emails, creating a dedicated email address for newsletters will be a good solution and will give you better visibility of discounts, which you can then take advantage of when you're ready to make a purchase.
4. Hunt for promotional codes and coupons
If you want to multiply the "good deals", you can start by opening different mailboxes in order to receive several times the coupons of the loyalty programs, and to be able to accumulate them. Another trick is to consult specialized sites that have many discount coupons and promotional codes valid at various merchants. Similarly, using social networks will allow you to find out about current discounts on the merchant's and/or brand's page.
5. Use your discounts wisely
Once you have all your coupons and promo codes in hand, you certainly think you can rush into your purchases... Think again! You still need to know how to use them intelligently. So, if you get a percentage off AND a gift certificate for the same purchase, type the discount code first in order to see the percentage applied on the largest part of the amount. Only by using the gift certificate in a second time will you maximize the discounts you receive.
6. Limit shipping costs
Before any purchase, it is good to be concerned about the price of the item itself, but also about the related shipping costs to the purchase in question. Knowing that these are extremely variable from one site to another and that they can significantly modify the final price of your purchase, it is not to be fussy to pay attention to them! Preferring local sites will be a good start to limit shipping costs. In addition, some sites offer free shipping for purchases over a certain amount. But in addition to the shipping costs, it will also be important to find out the amount corresponding to a possible return of the article, which is sometimes offered.
7. Buy at the right time
There is not only a right way to buy online, but also a right time! Indeed, for some items such as high-tech equipment (for some brands) and airline tickets, prices will vary significantly depending on the day of the week. Thus, your plane tickets will turn out to be much cheaper on Sunday. On the contrary, for the rest of your purchases, the days of good deals will be mainly at the beginning of the week. It should be noted that there is also a good time of day to make certain purchases (transportation). However, as this is very difficult to spot by yourself, it may be useful to download a program that analyzes the price fluctuations on different sites and will warn you when the prices are at their lowest.
8. Leave items in your "shopping cart
Often overlooked, this trick can allow you to receive unexpected offers on the items concerned. To take advantage of it, you must first create an account on the merchant site by filling in your email address, so that the site can contact you. Once connected to your account that has just been created, you just have to put the desired items in your "shopping cart", then close your browser, without logging out of your account. This will make you a potential customer and will often encourage the site to offer you a discount by e-mail in order to close the sale with you.
9. Take advantage of the generosity of customer service
Whether you realize at the time of your purchase that your coupon has expired two days earlier or you notice a markdown on the site the day after your purchase, have the reflex to call the customer service of the site. Indeed, a simple request to the customer service will allow you, with a little luck, to obtain a refund equal to the amount of the discount you missed.
10. Have the right credit card
According to the offers of the banks and the particularities of each blue card, choose the right card of credit will give you access to many advantages for your online purchases. Some of them offer reimbursement programs, such as the Gold card for example.