Years of overeager shop salespeople have made many customers hesitant to even admit they're shopping in the first place, especially when it comes to big-ticket items. The rise of online shopping has given these shoppers new confidence: the ability to shop for what they want, when they want, all without feeling "crowded." In the process, exciting new insider tips have taken shape, giving online shoppers the same thrill of deal-hunting as stalking physical clearance sale racks once did.
Here are three insider tips that cost-conscious online shoppers should keep in mind the next time they head towards their favorite checkout page:
Online Shopping Secret #1: Always Comparison Shop
Even if you're feeling very confident that you're seeing the best price in your cart, remember that you're not facing deadlines for the store's daily closing time. Take your time and make sure you've checked a price comparison website before you hit the big, bold order button.
Even if you're determined to buy at a specific store for their loyalty program points or perks like free shipping, chances are they would price match rather than give up a sale when push comes to shove. It costs nothing to double-check you're getting the best price, but it could potentially cost a lot more to blindly buy at the first checkout page you see. As a bonus, product research becomes a lot more streamlined when you're able to check multiple sites' customer reviews as well.
Online Shopping Secret #2: Use a Second Email Address to Avoid Spam
If you're a frequent online shopper, chances are you've gotten a virtual tide of promotional texts and emails on your smartphone from your favorite stores. If you love buying but hate these nuisance notifications, make a virtual shopping identity for yourself. Create a free email address and VOIP (virtual phone number) for your "shopping self" and give these out whenever you're pressured to do so at checkout. This will not only give you a place to easily track down coupon codes when you need them, it will also keep your main email box and phone notifications clear for important, non-shopping-related messages.
(As a bonus, this secondary identity is a great way to buy holiday and birthday presents for loved ones on the sly!)
Online Shopping Secret #3: Work with 3PLs For Convenient Delivery
3PLs, or third party logistics companies, are more commonly known to the modern shopper as shipping services like FedEx and UPS. Online stores' warehouses work with these companies to deliver your packages to you, and that means you have additional control and notification options when it comes to your packages. UPS offers "My Choice" delivery options that let you control when and where your package is sent, even after it leaves the store's warehouse. Fedex offers "Delivery Manager" for similar controls, accessible from your phone and home computer.
If you suddenly find yourself away from home on an emergency errand, you can direct these carriers to deliver to another address, or to hold your package an additional day and deliver tomorrow. This cuts down on package theft as well as that sinking feeling your inner shopoholic gets when you spy one of those dreaded "We tried to deliver your package" sticky notes on your front door.
While shopping in person and shopping online share a number of similarities, it's the differences between the two that smart digital shoppers cash in on. When you control every aspect of your online shopping experience, from the choice of merchant right down to your package delivery, you'll effectively customize each and every trip to the checkout page. No matter what you may be shopping for, that's the easiest way to get the biggest bang for your online buck.