Many of us have been forced to turn to online shopping during the pandemic if we wanted non-essential goods that weren’t available in supermarkets.
Last year 87 per cent of UK households made purchases online.
Then there have been all the so-called ‘boredom buys’ as people browsed websites while stuck indoors on lockdown.
Non-essential shops have reopened again now but internet shopping is still popular – and there are ways of making sure you’re not spending a fortune.
This includes knowing the best time to look for bargains as well as using all the available tools and tricks to get a discount.
Here’s some top tips from Ocean Finance for saving on your online shopping bills.
1. Save your shopping for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
Most people tend to do their online shopping between Sunday and Monday, so many retailers tend to offer discounts on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to lure customers to spend.
2. Abandon your basket and keep an eye on it
If you put something in your basket, start the checkout process, and then abandon it before it’s time to pay. There’s a chance that brands will email you a discount code to encourage you to check out. Whilst this isn’t guaranteed, it’s certainly worth a go. Especially as the higher the value of the item, generally, the bigger the discount.
3. Use a cashback and save up to £300 each year
When using a cashback site, you usually get a small percentage of your purchase back in a couple of weeks or months’ time. Whilst the amount is usually small, if you consistently use them, the pounds can soon add up, with Top Cashback suggesting you can save up to £300 per year.
4. Make sure the delivery fee is refunded if you return an item within 14 days
Did you know that retailers are sitting on £4.6 billion in unreturned delivery fees, due to customers not realising they are entitled to money back? If you return an item within 24 days, you should get a refund for the price of the goods AND the standard postage cost paid for home delivery. If you do not, you have a right to ask for it.
5. Say it’s your birthday
Lots of stores offer freebies or discounts on your birthday, so cash in on them. To be eligible, most retailers require you to be signed up to their loyalty programme and/or newsletter, so get yourself enrolled for lots of extra birthday goodies. For example, H&M members (which is free to sign-up for) get 25 per cent off one item of their choice on their birthday.
6. Speak to live chat to haggle a discount code
Next time that little online chat pop-up appears on your screen, ask the agent if they have promotion codes that they can share. It might not always work but it’s worth trying. The same goes if you have a discount code that no longer works. They might just send the new ones via chat.
7. Use this tool to get free Amazon delivery
If you don’t have Amazon Prime and need to spend over the £20 threshold for free delivery, this Super Saver Delivery Tool tool will find the cheapest item to add to your basket to get you there. Some examples include Dove beauty cream wash at £1.
9. Use your coupons in the right order
If you’ve got more than one coupon at your disposal, make sure you use that wisely. For example, if you have a £10 voucher and a 20% off voucher, you’ll probably save more by using the 20 per cent off first to slash the larger amount. Then use the £10 voucher for extra savings. Work out which option saves you most first before applying it.
10. Sign up for newsletters
More often than not, when you sign up for a retailer’s newsletter, a welcome email will land in your inbox. In that email, there will, typically, be some sort of welcome discount. It doesn’t cost a thing to sign-up – just a second or two of your time, and you can always unsubscribe straight away.
11. Clear your cookies and go incognito
Dynamic pricing is when retailers show different customers different prices depending on their shopping habits. If you’re a regular shopper, they might assume you’re willing to pay anything to get your goods and bump up the price as a result. To avoid being rumbled, clear your cookies and go incognito in your browser.
12. Head to online outlet stores
Did you know that many high-street retailers have online outlet stores? They sell the same quality items as their non-outlet counterparts, but for a fraction of the price. For example:
- Ann Summers has an outlet store on eBay
- AO.com has an outlet store on eBay
- Clarks has an online outlet store
- Lakeland has an outlet store on eBay
- Mango has an online outlet store
- Office Shoes has Off Cuts which sells end of the line and ex-display shoes
Other ideas to try including stocking up on non-perishable goods when they are reduced, and looking for second-hand items on eBay, Vinted, Shpock, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and similar sites – that exercise bike or desk will be a lot cheaper than buying a brand new one.