Since the advent of the internet, companies have been trying to attract customers by offering special deals, discounts and loyalty bonuses to keep them coming back for more. With the introduction of smartphones and tablets, the competition between retailers has become more intense than ever.
The big question now is how to ensure you get the best deal possible without spending hours searching through hundreds of sites all claiming to offer the best deal on the net. Here are just a few tips to get you started:
Consolidating your purchases
Start off by putting together a list of everything you want to buy, and then use a shopping robot to find a site that offers the lowest price. There are even automated search robots to find the best shopping robots. Consolidating is a great way of cutting down on shipping costs.
Search for websites that offer money back on future purchases. Sign up is usually free, and discounts range from two percent to four percent.
Some of these sites are a little misleading and are actually only a collection of ads. However, others are reputable and will often provide coupon codes for the supplier site you wish to purchase from.
Frequent flyer programs
If you are a member of a frequent flyer program, check out the airline’s website; it will usually display a list of companies that offer miles every time you make a purchase.
Price comparison websites
There are lots of price comparison websites out there, which is great if you want to save time when looking for almost any product. It is important to be aware that these sites do not always cover every supplier’s website and do not usually include shipping costs, so a little extra work may be required to find the best price.
There are sites that list hundreds of merchants offering free shipping. They often feature a 30 day free trial, after which a monthly membership of a few dollars is charged for continued membership. As an alternative, if the retailer has a store close by, arrange to collect your purchase. It may cost a little in gas, but you could save on excessive shipping charges.
Check out sites that charge either a one-time joining fee or an annual membership fee. In return, you receive various discounts or cashbacks from merchants who have signed up to the scheme. Most major retailers, airlines, café and restaurant chains tend to offer some level of saving.
EBay and Amazon
EBay and Amazon are always well worth checking out for really cheap deals on brand new or pre-used items. The best eBay bargains are often on collect only items, so think about how far it is worth traveling to get a great deal.
A whole range of prescription and non-prescription drugs can be purchased from pharmacies located outside of the US. It is easy to access online pharmacies in Canada, where regulatory requirements are the equal of those in the US, and buy generic or trade name drugs at significantly reduced prices. For example, many Americans go online to buy Ezetimibe, a drug that reduces cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.
As with many other products, there are pharmacy price comparison sites that will save you time when searching for the best prices.
Though the interest rates they charge may be high, by being careful it is possible to get some great deals just for signing up and rewards for spending a minimal amount of money. The trick is to use the card specifically for the one purchase, pay the bill off in full, and don’t allow a balance to run over into the following month. If you make a purchase from a store you don’t normally use, cancel the card immediately after making your purchase and paying it off.
Register on retailer websites
The first time you make an online purchase from a merchant, you are likely to be asked to register your email address. By doing so, you will be signing up to accept ads from the company, but you will also receive details of special discounts or secret sales events open only to online shoppers.
Discounts for special groups
Many merchants offer discounts to groups such as healthcare workers, students, senior citizens and members of the military; so be sure to check if you are eligible.
What to be aware of
Never buy anything from a website that looks remotely shady. If you are suspicious, carry out a search for customer feedback on a reputable site, and if you are still doubtful, make your purchase elsewhere. Remember, if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Reputable sites will always provide a bricks and mortar address and a genuine telephone number.
In the majority of cases it is not possible to combine discounts or other offers. Select the one that works best for you and go with that.