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Shopping online has steadily been climbing in popularity, in 2017, online sales were around $2.3 trillion in 2017 and are expected to hit $4.5 trillion in 2021.
In 2016, 209.6 million Americans were online shoppers and had browsed products, compared prices or bought merchandise online at least once. It’s growing so fast that 68% of businesses plan to stop printing catalogs within 5 years.
But how can you save more money shopping online than in-store? Here are 11 different ways.
1. Shopping Apps
You probably know you can save a lot of money with cash-back offers with various shopping apps, but did you know that sometimes you’ll get a better deal with an online purchase than an in-store purchase?
Some of my favorite shopping apps are:
Many shopping apps also offer bonuses for signing up, as much as $10, others offer a browser extension to notify you of any cash-back deals available whenever you visit a website.
Some retailers offer more initiatives for shoppers online than they do at their retail locations.
Some initiatives are:
- Waive sales tax charges
- Waive shipping charges
- Online promotions
- Receive email coupons if you sign up for their newsletter
- Online retailers pass their savings of lower overhead costs onto their customers with lower product prices
One online example is at The Gap, going through InboxDollars get’s you 2.5% cash-back plus The Gap has several online promotions – get 40% off all your purchases, get an extra 10% off your purchases, or sign up for their emails you get 25% off.
3. Save your Email Receipts
After you’ve shopped online, don’t delete your online receipts sent by email. Sign up for a Paribus account and the app will track your receipts for any credits you may be owed.
Most stores have a price difference refund offer, this means if the price of your item drops, or you find the same product at a different retailer for a lower price, all within 30 days of your purchase – they will refund the difference. Paribus does all this work for you and notifies you, they only request 25% of any refunds you receive. Which is relatively low for the app doing all the work for you.
4. Shop Amazon
Not only does Amazon usually offer the lowest prices online, but they also have many different ways to save money.
One of the best ways to save money by doing nothing else except shop on Amazon is through Shoptracker. All you need to do is download the app, connect your Amazon account, and let it run. You get $3 a month for free. That adds up to $36 of free money in a year.
5. Less Tempting
Shopping online, especially grocery shopping offers a lot fewer temptations than in-store.
For example you’re:
- Not tempted by in-store displays
- Buy fewer impulse purchases
- Shopping less at other stores (when at a shopping mall)
- Seeing a running total of your balance while you shop
A shopping bonus is if your grocery store doesn’t have the product brand or size you requested, they often give you a better brand or larger size at no extra charge.
6. Save Time
You save a lot of time shopping online. Not just from not having to drive to the store’s site and back, but also from not requiring a lot of time in your schedule. Shopping in person requires you to make time in your busy schedule to go.
Another great bonus is that you can shop after hours. You’re not limited by the 9 – 5 business hours at some standalone stores, or the 10 – 9 shopping hours of a crowded mall. You can shop online in the wee hours of the morning, in a waiting room, or any free moment you have in your schedule.
Also, if you’re a parent, you’ll know how long it takes to get your child or children ready to go, fumbling with car seats, herding them in the store, dealing with temper tantrums, hauling them and the grocery cart back out. Yeah, stay home and shop online. Bonus: Grocery shop at stores that offer Pickup service, order all your groceries online and just go pick up the order (or have someone grab them for you).
The only drawback time-wise is the delivery schedule. But if you’re not in immediate need of what you were shopping for, this isn’t even a concern.
7. Leave it in the Cart
How often have you shopped online, added to your “shopping cart” and check out only to find that taxes or shipping was too much? As many as 56% of online shoppers abandoned their online shopping cart because of this.
But you can use this to your advantage, leave items in the cart, some retailers will notify you when the prices have dropped on these items. All you need to do is have an account with that retailer and stay logged in with your cart to get alerts.
Amazon is well known for this. Their prices fluctuate a lot, sometimes as much as 3 times a day. So, you’ll be offered the lowest listed price on items in your shopping cart. Another plus with shopping on Amazon is that even after you’ve purchased something, and the price drops within 30 days, you can request a refund on the difference.
8. Check the “Refurbished” Listings
Many online retailers have a refurbished or “as is” section in their online store. You can find great discounts on items, many still under warranty too. These products were returned to the store for minor complaints, repaired and re-offered at a lower price.
How much difference can you save? Let’s look at a laptop from Best Buy. A brand-new MacBook Pro, with a 13″ display, an i5 Intel Core, an 8 GB memory, and 128GB of storage costs $1,250. A “pre-owned” MacBook Pro with a 13.3” display, an i5 Intel Core, an 8GB memory, and 320GB of storage costs only $550. You’re actually getting more laptop for $700 less.
9. Ship to Store
Shop the retailer’s online store and have them ship it to the store nearest you.
How can this save you money? Here’s several:
- Find the perfect product with the color, size, and specifics you want – those that aren’t usually available on site
- Save on shipping fees. – many stores don’t charge shipping fees if it’s to their store
- Get it faster – some stores offer 1 – 2 days shipping with this method
- Some stores may even have it in stock and you can pick it up the same day
10. Combining Coupons
Some online retailers allow you to enter more than one coupon or promo code. I already mentioned a few from The Gap earlier, using those 3 promotional codes could save you 75% off your purchases.
There’s a trick though, you’ll need to know which order to enter them. For example, you have a promo code for 20% off and a coupon for $10 off – use the 20% promo code first and that subtracts 20% from your total, then you can apply the $10 discount coupon. Let’s say your cart totaled $100 – 20% = $80 – $10 = $70 total. If you did it the other way around, $100 – $10 = $90 – 20% = $72. A $2 difference.
11. Price Comparison
One great money saving hack you get from shopping online is the ability to compare prices before deciding what store to use. This is real time consuming doing this in person and going from store to store to compare.
You can compare prices in several ways:
- Use a price comparison app such as PriceGrabber
- Use a price comparison browser add on such as PriceBlink
- Shop on Google and they will display products side by side for you to scroll through
- Enter the product in several of your shopping apps to find the higher cash-back offer
- When in store, check that retailer’s online price, sometimes it’s lower, request the lower price at the cashier.
- If two retailers offer the same price on an item, check the shipping costs between the two and pick the lower one.
It may be time-consuming to do, but the advantages can be huge.
Online shopping simply saves you time and money all around. Some opportunities save you a few dollars and others save you several hundred dollars, some give you cash back right away, others some time later.
The best part though, being able to relax at home while doing it!
Want other many saving ideas while shopping? Check these out:
- 15 Walmart Shopping Secrets That Will Help You Save Money
- The Ultimate Comparison Shopping Guide (Plus Top 8 Sites)
- 19 Tips And Tricks That Will Save You Hundreds When Shopping Online
- How to Save 5% – 20% When Shopping Online Every Time
Have fun shopping!