It goes without saying that we all want to save money when we’re buying online.
Actually, it goes without saying that we all want to save money when buying anywhere. No one is striding into a physical store and demanding that all applicable discounts be removed, are they? We’re hoarders by nature, and even if we had unlimited funds at our disposal, we’d still want to know we were getting the biggest bang for our buck. It’s natural.
The feeling is particularly heightened when we shop online though. It’s largely because of the options in front of us. If you’re in need of something and have to go and shop in a store, then you’re limited in your choice – especially if there’s a time pressure. You’re limited to the stock they have available, the time you have to spend in the store, and whether or not you’re willing to trail between shopping malls trying to find something that you want specifically. All of this combines to make you a less-than-discerning shopper.
But It’s Different Online…
Online, you have a plethora of options. If you’re willing to wait awhile for shipping, you literally have the entire world as your new shopping mall. You’ve got your most savvy, financially experienced hat on. There’s not a chance you’re going to complete a purchase without checking to see if you can get cashback from one of the sites featured on MakeUseOf.com, without seeing if there’s a discount code on DontPayFull.com or if one of your friends has a referral code. You’re a money saving maven and you’re going to wring everything you can out of every dollar that you spend.
Of course, even the most savvy online shopper needs the occasional tune up. After all, a Porsche still needs to go into a garage for a service every once in awhile. We’re all capable of falling into bad habits, so for the wary first-time online bargain hunter right through to a super-shopper with years under your belt, there’s a few things you should be remembering.
Don’t Take Risks In Pursuit Of A Bargain
If you saw a man on the street offering you a miracle drink (no ingredients mentioned of course) for a low price, then would you take it? Chances are, you wouldn’t – yet we scan over a bit of advertising blurb for the latest fad – such as “vitamin water” and other nonsense claims – and think: well, why not? It seems like a good deal and what have you got to lose?
Every time you buy online or feel yourself being fooled by well-targeted, scripted advertising copy, pause and think: would I buy this offline, if it was just being sold outside a mall?
Also add a healthy dollop of doubt to anything that offers a “one time only” price. Why such a hard sell if they’ve got such a good product?
Don’t Trust Reviews Without Skepticism
We have all seen the one-star review that goes something like this: “I thought I would try this product given the great reviews I have seen for it, but I was disappointed…”
Is this really an outlier for an otherwise great product, the one dissatisfied customer? Or is it someone who has been swindled by fake reviews?
We all know we should check reviews prior to purchasing an item – and most of the time, it’s a practice well worth doing. But we now live in a world where people are paid to leave fake, positive reviews and ruin the entire shopping process for the rest of us.
So rather than just seeing reviews existing as the only stop point, keep the warning signs of fake reviews in mind:
- All reviews are one star or five stars. The one-star reviews are probably genuine, while all the five stars are fake. A proper review system will produce reviews across the board.
- Nothing but positive reviews.
- Similar styles of review with the same “key points” mentioned over and over again.
Keep Your Account Information
No, not your financial accounts – your account details for every store you have ever purchased for. If you’re ever tempted to ‘checkout as a guest’, then don’t.
It’s worth having an account as many offer store cashback you can accrue in the form of points, to be redeemed against a future purchase. Being on their mailing list (which holding an account tends to automatically put you, or by downloading their app) can also give you the heads up for any future discounts that you might otherwise have missed. If you can’t deal with that volume of email, then try setting up a separate email just for online shopping.