With the popularity of sites like Amazon and eBay, there is no doubt that the way consumers buy goods has changed over the years. Instead of only visiting brick-and-mortar shops to buy the items that they need, shoppers simply need to go online, pick then pay for the items they want, then wait for the package to be delivered straight to their doorsteps.
If online shopping is your main means of buying presents for loved ones or even everyday items for the house, how can you save money while doing so? And what are the advantages of shopping on the Internet as compared to buying from actual shops? Read on to find out.
Why It Pays to Shop Online
First, why does it pay to shop online? Take a look at the following list:
When buying Christmas or birthday presents, or when looking for gifts for special occasions, the traditional thing to do is go to the mall or superstore and get what you need from there. You’d have to drive to the store, look through the actual product displays and maybe suffer through long lines at the cashier if you are shopping during particularly busy days.
When shopping online, you simply need to visit one or two websites, choose from the wide array of product options that the store has, then add items to your shopping cart. After paying for your purchases, all you have to do is wait for the items to be shipped straight to your doorstep. If you are giving the item as a gift, you can even enjoy the convenience of having it gift-wrapped then directly sent to the recipient.
Why do you think online retailers like Amazon has soared in popularity over the past few years? Aside from the convenience brought about by online shopping, buyers enjoy the added benefit of lower prices. Why? Because majority of online retailers do not have a physical store to maintain. They just need a warehouse to store all the goods which they in turn ship out to customers.
Those who own brick-and-mortar shops need to pay for rental of the commercial store space, the sales staff who will assist customers and the cashiers who will conduct the financial transaction. Online store owners do not have to pay for such overhead costs so all the money that they saved can be passed off as discounts to customers. This is the reason why you are most likely to pay less when buying an item online as compared to purchasing the exact same item from a store.
Another reason why it pays to shop online is the number of options that you have. When you’re walking through a mall, it might be too tiring to go from one store to another just to compare prices, then go back to the store which you found out has the lowest price then make your purchase.
When shopping on the Internet, you can easily compare prices, check out online reviews and get user feedback so that you would know how a specific brand and model of a product performs.
There are even price comparison websites which let you do just that: compare prices in just one click, so that you would know which site to visit to get the lowest rates.
Ways to Save Money When Shopping on the Internet
Next, what are the actual ways that you can save money when shopping on the Internet? Here they are:
Get first dibs on sales, price slash offs and other promos by signing up for newsletters.
Unless you’re an impulse buyer, it is highly recommended that you sign up for newsletters to get first dibs on sales, price slash offs and other promotional events held by online retailers. These sites have a mailing list and the recipients of the e-mail are the ones who first get alerts whenever there are promotional events going on.
Let’s take Amazon.com as an example. They offer online users the privilege of being an Amazon Prime member where there is an annual fee of just $79. For this amount, you can get a free two-day shipping on a wide variety of items and there is no need for you to buy a minimal amount. This means that if you found a $15 gift item which you’d like to send to your favorite niece whose birthday you forgot, you can use the site to purchase and send the item – with no shipping fee. Other sites send out sale alerts, discount codes, vouchers and similar deals to those who will sign up for their newsletter.
Before adding items to your shopping cart, look for deals and coupons on specialty websites.
Let’s say that you are in the process of buying Christmas presents for your loved ones and you are doing it purely online. Prior to paying for your purchasing, you should check out websites which offer online coupon codes. Once applied on your online purchases, these codes will entitle you to a certain percentage off the price as discount, free shipping, one free item or other perks as a buyer. Some of the websites that you can rely on for this are DontPayFull.com, RetailMeNot.com, CouponChief.com and many others.
Always go comparison shopping.
As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest perks that you will enjoy as a shopper when buying online is the ease by which you can go comparison shopping. If you are buying items for the house, for example, you can check out sites like Amazon, Walmart, BestBuy and a few others. Which among these websites offer the lowest price for the item that you are planning to buy? What about the shipping costs? With just a few clicks, you can easily compare prices and get the best bang for your buck by going comparison shopping.
Use the Internet as a cheaper way of consuming premium TV content, or use it as your main means of communication.
Aside from shopping online, another way that you can save money through your Internet connection is to use it for communication and TV-watching purposes. If you still have a landline phone that you are paying a certain amount of money for per month, how about ditching it completely? These days, you can easily use Viber, Skype or other web-based software to place calls to virtually any place around the world.
The landline phone is just another extra bill that you might not necessarily need to pay for. If you have pricey cable or satellite TV connection, its costs will be significant as well. A more pocket-friendly option is to subscribe to streaming services where you can consume premium TV content at a fraction of the price. Another advantage is that you get to watch what you want when you are free, not according to the schedule of the cable company of the show you’re watching.
Harness the power of social media.
If you have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts, you can harness the power of social media to save money when shopping online. Retailers usually come up with gimmicks and promotional events which they announce through social media, where you can win prizes, get discounts or earn points on purchases.
On the website of your favorite online retailer, check on their Facebook or Twitter link so that you can follow them. On your newsfeed or Twitter feed, you should see posts related to their social media promos – something that you would otherwise not be privy to, even if you sign up for their newsletter.
Visit websites which offer “Deals of the Day”.
For working moms, there are websites like BabySteals and MiniSocial where they can find heavily discounted baby items. These are “Deals of the Day” sites which means that you have to click fast, otherwise the promotional event will soon end. It may be a bit tedious to visit the sites daily but when you do find items that you like, the discounts are well worth the effort. There are other websites which offer daily, weekly or monthly deals where you can get anywhere from half to 90% discount on products and services.
Sell your own unused or slightly used items online.
Lastly, the Internet can be used for more than just shopping – it can also be used to earn money. Use sites like Craigslist or eBay to sell the unused or slightly used items that you have. Do a thorough cleaning and inventory of the items in your bedroom and the rest of the house which you are not using anymore.
If a garment which still has a label on it is simply gathering dust in your closet, you are most likely not to wear it ever again – so just sell it. The same thing holds true for exercise or kitchen equipment. Selling them online at a discounted price will give you significant earnings, not to mention the fact that doing so will help clear the clutter from your home.
What about you, what are the things that you usually do in order to save money when shopping on the Internet?