The truth about Internet shopping is, you’re never convinced that you have the best price, even though you know it’s much less than you’d pay in the retails store! Agreed, given the economies of scale in internet-based selling, you’re never too far from some mind-blowing top bargains on the web. But what if we told you that you could knock a few more dollars off just by spending 5-10 more minutes on product search? Here are some time-tested secrets of online bargain hunting.
Google itself can be an excellent source of deals. There are several coupons which are not part of even leading coupon sites. Such coupons can be accessed via Google. It is always a good idea to enter the name of the website and the word coupon into Google in order to ensure that you are able to access all the coupons which you otherwise would not have been able to. For example, simply by entering the string “Sears Coupons” into the search engine, you can access dozens of coupons.
One of the best sources of bargains is from the number of newsletters that you are able to subscribe to. Be it daily, weekly or monthly, these newsletters are some of the best sources of the best deals. You will get offers and coupons for various products and services on a regular basis. And the most noteworthy aspect of these offers is that they are tailored to your specific needs based on your purchase history.
These offers may not be exclusive to newsletters, however. As per data from the Email Experience Council, less than 15% of all online retailers who offer exclusive deals via their email lists. You can even subscribe to niche newsletters that focus on giving you the best deals in a specific product category, much like this e-book deals newsletters.
Coupon code websites
There are a number of websites which offer a variety of coupon codes without requiring you to go via their newsletter. These also include highly niche coupon databases like 0007.ae, offering coupons for use by a special segment of shoppers.
- These websites allow you to search for coupon codes by entering the store address or associated keywords into a site specific search engine.
- These codes can be processed via a merchant’s online ordering system in order to ensure that the relevant discount codes are processed and accounted properly.
- Free shipping is also a form of discount and discounts start at a minimum of 10% in general.
- Do ensure that you are reading a coupon’s fine print so that you do not suffer any nasty surprises at the time of checkout.
Comparison shopping sites such as NexTag.com, Pricegrabber.com, and BizRate.com automatically combine information on the lowest priced products and services. Typically, such sites are great for big ticket size items, but not so much for specific items.
Given the fact that some price comparison sites are affiliated with major brands, there may sometimes be a conflict of interest that prevents such sites from offering the best deals. Also, do ensure that you compare the total prices including handling and postage.
Clean up cookies
Many retailers base the deals they offer on their shoppers’ buying habits. Each time you make a visit to your website, the site updates some text code in your cookies file. This means that the information in your website’s cookies may be restricting you to higher process than otherwise.
This may lead to a situation where you get deals that are worse than those served to first-time visitors. It is a good practice to clear your website’s cookies regularly. Here’s a strongly suggested read on clearing cookies from any browser.
Check out direct sources
It rarely hurts if you check out a company’s toll-free line to ask if there are additional mail-in discounts or other sorts of discounts available. Many times, you find that these can be applied in addition to other coupon deals. It may also be possible to apply discounts from direct mail and catalogs in addition to online deals.
Try out different routes
There are many ways to get to a website. Directly entering the web address is one way. Other ways are through banner ads and miscellaneous links. Try entering your product page via different methods. Both cases are possible. In one case, you may find a lower price when going directly to the websites, in another, you may find a lower price when going via a link, and in other cases, you may find the same prices.
Read the fine print
It is always good to be wary of the fine print, particularly where the price reduction offered by the deal seems too good to be true. In some cases, the basic price reduction is compensated by shipping and handling charges that are prohibitive. In some cases, location can be a barrier to getting the best possible deals. Some deals are restricted by geography. Also, do take a close look at the return policy if it is fair to the buyer.
Key ‘things to check’ include – whether returns are permitted, whether the outlet pays for shipping returned items and if items can be returned in-store.
Do you have any other online bargain hunting secrets, feel free to share them in comments.