The comfort and convenience of online shopping is irresistible to many of us – we make our purchase and it’s delivered straight to our door. In 2017, Aussies spent a whopping $21.3 billion on online shopping and who can blame us? We avoid the crowds of shopping centres and still score great deals (sometimes even better deals).
Research from finder.com.au has revealed that on average Aussies spend $116 every two weeks on online purchases. But still, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Here are some online shopping hacks to think about the next time you’re searching for that perfect outfit.
Sign up for newsletters
If you have a favourite website that you shop from regularly, you’ll probably benefit from signing up to their newsletter. The retailer will usually notify subscribed shoppers of discounts and promotions before they’re advertised to the rest of the public. This means you can get what you want, on sale, before it’s sold out. Retailers also send through special discount codes during Christmas time and on your birthday.
Leave items in your cart for a few days
We’ve all stayed awake until the eleventh hour, adding and adding to our shopping cart before deciding to delete it all when we see the scary total. Next time this happens, leave your cart full for a couple of days – the retailer will sometimes reach out to you and offer a discount to encourage you to complete the purchase. Make sure you’ve registered an account so that you can receive emails about these special discounts.
Don’t pay for shipping or returns
There’s nothing worse than receiving your order and finding that it doesn’t fit. This happens to even the savviest online shoppers, as sizes can vary greatly between brands. Buy from a website that offers free shipping and returns – that way you can order two different sizes and compare, then return them for free. Some retailers will even allow you to return the item in store if you find postage too much of a hassle.
Make sure you read shipping and returns policies very closely. Some retailers will offer free shipping on everything, while for others shipping is only free when your order is over a certain amount (for example $100) or exclude sale items. If the website requires you to pay for shipping (but you really don’t want to), keep an eye out for promo codes that can eliminate this cost.
Want a discount? Ask for it
On many websites, a chat box will pop up at the bottom of your screen, asking if the retailer can help you. Before you close this, simply ask if there are any promo codes available. The retailer will often send one back, giving you access to discounts that others don’t know about. Before you decide to purchase from a website, you can send them an email to ask if they can send you a code for a discount. If they respond straight away (and offer you a promotional offer) then you will save money and have the confidence of knowing you’ll get a fast response if anything goes wrong with your order.
Don’t fall for a scam
To purchase something online, we have to disclose our banking details. If this information falls into the hands of crooks, you could be ripped off and left out of pocket, with little redress as it’s often difficult to track down the identity of scammers.
If you come across a deal online that just seems too good to be true, it probably is. To stay safe online try to only shop on websites starting with https:// (the “s” stands for secure) and those with browsers displaying a padlock icon. If the retailer provides a street address and contact details, it’s more likely they are legitimate and you will have an easier time contacting them if something does go wrong.
Make sure you keep all receipts and email confirmation of your purchases in case you don’t receive your delivery. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your bank account to make sure you’ve been charged correctly and haven’t incurred hidden charges that the retailer didn’t clearly disclose.
Making some little changes to your online shopping habits can make a big difference to how much you pay at the check-out. Stay savvy and stay safe!
Bessie Hassan is the money expert at finder.com.au, the site that compares virtually everything!