By enabling buyers to check the prices of many sellers with ease and at no extra cost, the internet increases competition and choice for buyers. However, with so much information out there, it is easy to miss the best buys at times. Furthermore, the lack of a physical store can open the door to fraud. For these reasons, anyone who is shopping online needs to know how to find the best deals possible while minimizing potential risks.
To really take advantage of the ease in which the internet allows shoppers to find the lowest prices possible, it is necessary to use the right tools. While a regular search on Google or other search engines might turn up great deals, shoppers should keep in mind that search engines are designed to deliver the best information, and this does not always translate into the lowest prices Before making any purchase, one or more comparison sites such as Shopzilla, Froogle, Yahoo Shopping, PriceGrabber or NexTag, which allow users to search a number of stores, should be checked. Remember that the site with the best prices many differ with the product and the language the search is carried out in.
Keep an eye out for coupon codes
While some might feel embarrassed using coupons in a store, nobody has to know when they are used online. To avoid unpleasant surprises and missing the coupon code box, carefully look over each page when checking out.
Finding coupon codes
If the coupon code box appears during checkout, it is not too late to take advantage of the savings. They can often be found quickly and easily in a quick search using the name of the product or brand and the words “coupon code.” If that fails, sites to include CheapStingyBargains or Currentcodes that specialize in nothing but coupon codes often turn up codes that search engines do not.
Newsletters and social networking
Another way to get coupon codes and other great deals is through store newsletters. Sign up for the newsletters (it might be a good idea to create a dedicated email account for this) of the stores most frequently shopped at and scan their emails for deals. A similar strategy can be used when following merchants on places like Facebook or getting coupon deals on Twitter with services like Coupontweet.
Nothing brings buyers and sellers together better than auction and other sites in which people are buying and selling directly from each other. Never forget to check sites like Craigslist or eBay, especially when used goods will do.
Shipping is one area in which buying online can cost more (although this should be balanced with the cost of driving, etc.), but it does not have to be. By ordering early, shoppers can use slower shipping methods and build up large enough purchases to quality for free shipping. Remember that products cannot only remain in an online shopping cart for a long time, but some retailers will give discounts in this situation so check back a day or two after they were put in the cart.
Online shopping is usually safe, but there are extra precautions that should be taken. Use a credit card for purchases since this gives the purchaser a chance to challenge the charge if something goes wrong. Furthermore, be sure to be clear on the merchants return policy and who pays for shipping for returns. Save verification emails and keep records of purchases (some say to print out, but this is a needless expense if things are saved on the computer and backed up).
Finally, look for established sellers and never buy anything from a site that looks dodgy or from a spam email.