Personally, I am a fan of physically going down to the mall and trying on my clothes. I have a knack for choosing items that will go home with me after a quick fitting. Although I am decisive and fairly quick during my shopping trips, a “quick” trip to the mall is easily an hour. If I factor in the round-trip drive time and parking, it easily takes up to an hour and a half to two hours of my afternoon.
In an effort to save time, I started to shop online. It took a while to become an effectiveonline shopper; It can cost you more time and money if you are not informed. On the flip side, shopping on the web has the potential to save time and money. Once you’ve mastered this process, you will feel completely liberated! Obtaining needed or wanted items without leaving home is a victory in my book! Here is a list of action items that you can take in order to ensure a smooth online shopping experience.
Sign up for newsletters and rewards programs.Do this first! Sign up for newsletters and rewards clubs to the retail stores that you enjoy. This gives you nothing but perks. For example, I would not get a $50 t-shirt from Bebe or Guess in the past. By signing up for their newsletters, I started to receive 15% to 20% off coupons via email frequently. That $50 t-shirt is reduced to $40. Now, I will considershopping at those stores. I signed up for the Sephora’s Beauty Insider Club and received a Philosophy birthday cake scented body wash for my birthday! It was almost full size! Bed, Bath and Beyond always emails 20% off coupons or ones for $15 off every $100 spent. You will also be pre-notified of sales alerts and receive offers for free shipping from practically all of these stores. The list of benefits keeps going! It is easy to unsubscribe to these lists if you feel inundated by the emails. Just scroll to the bottom of the email and you should see an unsubscribe link.
Purchase off season. Purchasing off-season items is a phenomenal way to save! I bought anti-gravity chairs from Kohl’s for $25 each! They are normally $125 each. However, I purchased them during the fall. It is a risk, because you do not know if your items will be there or not. Always check the clearance section of the website. If you have the room to keep some items until the season is right, do it. Patience is a virtue.
Shop with brands that you know. In addition, check out the return policy. After failing to purchase great fitting jeans from a popular store several times, I finally learned my lesson. Each time I returned a pair of pants, it cost me $6 in return shipping. Big ticket items will charge a restocking fee. By purchasing brands that you are familiar with, you will save yourself the trouble of losing money on shipping and the time that it takes to go the the post office.
Read the reviews. While purchasing clothes or shoes, it is crucial to read the reviews. I ordered my wedding heels online. The comments helped me tremendously. I saw several reviews that said the shoes run a half size too small. I took this advice and my shoes fit like a dream. Comments and reviews tend to make or break my decision to purchase a product. Use the feedback section to your advantage.
Before you check out, observe the shipping costs. Shipping costs depends on method of delivery, weight, and turn-around time. I find that shipping costs can kill any possible savings that I hoped to retain. Keep an eye on these costs before you make your purchase. Otherwise, you may be surprised at the final cost. I’ve ditched transactions as a result of the shipping costs several times.
Use coupon codes. Before you check out, be sure to search for coupon codes. For example, before you complete your order for Victoria’s Secret (or any retail store for that matter), it will give you the option to type in a promotional code. You may not have one. However, you can find sites that are dedicated to sharing these promo and coupon codes with everyone. So far, I received free shipping, 15% off, 30% off, and a $25 credit by doing this. It does not matter if you are buying clothes, purchasing a flight, or buying office supplies. You will find codes for everything! Try these links:
Protect your information. If given the option to pay with Paypal, you should do so. It is the most secure way to carry out a transaction online. Do not let the database retain your account information. Look for a check box that says “keep my account information”. Uncheck it and your account information will not be stored.
Now you are an expert online shopper! What are you going to do with your new found free time? =) I hope this helps! Please share your online stories and shopping tips in the comments section!