Shopping online has always been a more convenient way to make many of our purchases but the rise in eCommerce during the Covid-19 pandemic was beyond what anyone could have imagined. In fact, just one year into the pandemic it was said that online sales jumped to $26.7 trillion globally while in-store sales suffered significantly. Many stores were, in fact, driven out of business by the loss in revenue but this opened up a literal can of worms for online shoppers.
Consumers soon found that they didn’t always get what they paid for and the time element from purchase to delivery was a pain point as well. Now that things have ‘almost’ returned to a semblance of normalcy, people are still finding it convenient to shop online. If you are among those who have taken to the convenience, make sure to check out a few tips for smarter online shopping.
1. Start by Reading the Reviews!
The first thing a smart online shopper will do is read the reviews. After all, we all know that most companies spend mega bucks on marketing and advertising every year so some of their hype may be hard to believe. Sometimes it’s true and other times it’s just that, hype. However, this presents a problem in and of itself. Where do you find authentic reviews that are not paid for by the manufacturers or service providers? You can do a Google search, but it may take days to find enough reviews to read. What you might want to do is bookmark sites like Upgraded Reviews that list multiple review sites in one location and even have pages of online deals to browse through.
2. Look for Deals
That brings us to the second thing a smart shopper should do. Check for deals when shopping. You can often find online coupons and voucher codes to take advantage of and these can offer a significant amount of savings if you know where to find them. Sometimes you have favorite online merchants you deal with and other times it’s a brand that you are loyal to. You can always sign up for email updates so that you will be informed of upcoming deals before they go live. There are various ways to look for deals but, again, you just might find them on the same site where you find authentic reviews.
3. Avoid Impulse Shopping
As mentioned above, most brands and merchants spend a great deal of money on marketing their products and services. They know the psychological triggers to hit in people who tend to be impulse buyers. Yes, it is a thing and yes, marketing strategies are built around capturing and converting impulse buyers. Unless it’s something you have taken the time to actually think about and shop around for, don’t grab the first ‘sale’ that you encounter. There will still be deals out there and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Didn’t your parents pound that into your head as you were growing up? Again, if it’s not something you really need, then don’t buy just because it sounds good. Learn to separate the wants from the needs. Impulse buying can cost you more than you know!
4. Calculate the Cost of Shipping
Here’s another thing that can get you in the end if you don’t take the time to calculate the cost of shipping into your bottom line. While the same product can be ‘on sale’ at Merchant A, Merchant B offers free shipping for the very same product. If you calculate the cost of shipping and perhaps shipping insurance into the total cost, you may find that Merchant B offers the better deal. That’s another ‘trick of the trade’ that can get buyers every time.
5. Leave Items in the Cart for a Couple Days
This is something that works on various levels. Sometimes if you leave items in the shopping cart, you will get an email telling you that the price was just dropped on an item in your cart. Isn’t it miraculous that the computer you left in your cart just saw a price drop of 15%? This is another marketing strategy used today, so the smart shopper knows that it might save them a bit of money if they are patient. Imagine a gaming computer listed at $1,500 (on the low end) being offered at a 15% discount. That’s a savings of $225 which is enough to make that wait worth your while. Also, you just may change your mind by leaving something in the cart because it’s not something you really wanted or needed. It just sounded good at the time. So, by leaving items in the cart for a couple days you are avoiding impulse buying and/or maybe getting a better deal.
These are all things a smart online shopper does in order to get the best buys on products they really want or need. They’ve learned to tell the difference between things they need and things they can do without. Are you a smart shopper?