Online shopping has become the order of the day. The Internet woos the everyday consumer with convenience and offers the world right at their fingertips – a perfect scenario for today’s shopper who’s always pressed for time. In fact, global research and advisory firm Forrester reports that while eCommerce sales topped $200 billion in 2011, it is expected to grow from 7 percent of overall retail sales to close to 9 percent by 2016. As we slowly get entangled in the Web-o-sphere, is it possible to save money when online shopping? I have constantly used the following tips to get the best bang for my buck.
#1: Connect with your favorite retailer
Retailers are making the most of the social media by having a Facebook page, a Twitter handle and even a Pinterest board. It’s an interactive way to communicate with their fans on a daily basis.
For consumers, it is imperative that they subscribe to their mailing list, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Email subscriptions help you keep abreast with free shipping days and other special deals.Make the most of their Facebook-fan-only event and announcements on Twitter.
For instance, the Nicole Richie Impulse collection for Macy’s debuted September12, however, Facebook fans got exclusive access to the limited-edition collection one day early.
#2: Check for coupon codes
Prior to submitting your order, check for coupon codes that you can combine with your order. Use sites like Retailmenot.com and Couponchief.com to locate codes. You may also use Google blogsearch tool to find codes that blogs have passed along. Type “(store name) coupon code (month)” and perform a search. At FreeShipping.org, you can find thousands of coupons codes for free shipping.
#3: Deals-for-the-day websites
Websites like Groupon, Living Social, Restaurant.com, Saveology, Deal Chicken and Woot, among several others offer some great daily deals. Check often to see what these discounted sites are offering to snag some awesome deals. Combine these deals with tip #4 to make it even sweeter!
#4: Credit card rewards
Credit cards lure their users with cash back rewards and point system. For instance, Shopdiscover.com offers their users to earn 5 percent to 20 percent cash back bonus on every purchase they make at over 200 top online retailers, which also includes some above mentioned deals-for-the-day websites.
#5: Check eBay
Whether you’re looking for Halloween costumes or a top notch-computer or even a car, eBay is a treasure house of bargains. Brand-conscious consumers should check their Fashion Vault that offers unique collaborations with designers at hard-to-beat prices. You get access to flash sales, exclusive coupons, promotions and member-only secret sale.
#6: Shop with Fat Wallet
Fat Wallet is a favorite destination for bargain hunters. They offer more than 1,000 popular stores online and help you locate exceptional values on new clearance items, free shipping offers and special product bundles. In addition, you earn Cash Back at hundreds of stores on thousands of store offers, which typically ranges from 1 to 40 percent. One of the best times to shop is during their Cash Back Sales when stores often increase their cash back percentage.
#7: Use ShopStyle
ShopStyle.com is a search engine devoted exclusively to fashion. ShopStyle brings together the best brands and stores allowing users to cross-shop thousands of apparel, home decorating and kids product. ShopStyle lets users search the most stylish stores at once – by designer, brand, store, sale items, price point, and color. The best part of the website is that if you set an alert, they’ll notify you if the price drops.
#8: Use ShopItToMe
ShopItTome.com is like your online personal shopper that monitors websites, categorize information and match people with items they’ll love. Create a free account and let them know the brands and sizes you’re looking for. Working as your personal shopper, Shopitome.com scours websites, sales and deals and sends you e-mail alerts that feature the latest markdowns, secret promotion codes and VIP sale events. What’s perfect is that the website allows you to set a price preference.
#9: Compare prices online
With Internet slowly becoming a monster and new websites cropping up every day, it’s hard to locate the best possible deals online. Use tools like PriceGrabber.com to compare prices and narrow down your choices.
#10: Time it Right – According to the article, “The Secrets To Online Shopping” the experts share their tips about timing your purchases right.
RetailMeNot.com says that most coupons are posted by retailers at the beginning (around the 2nd) and end (around the 27th or 28th) of each month. Logging on at those times will ensure that you nab the best coupons.
Charlie Graham, founder of ShopItToMe.com, an online personal shopper site reports that Wednesday, Thursday and Friday tend to be the most popular days for online retailers to put items on sale.
Thursdays are the best day for handbag discounts (the average discount is 36 percent off).
Sundays are the prime time to score swimwear deals (ShopItToMe found that bathing suits were 52 percent off then, compared with 40 percent off during the rest of the week)
The best day to find shoe sales is on Wednesday.