E-commerce is big business in the United States, and in fact, in the whole world, with the industry set to be worth $735 billion by 2023.
Of course, it’s not hard to see why, when you can order pretty much anything in just a few clicks and have it delivered directly to your doorstep in a mere matter of days, or even less.
Whether you are shopping for the latest must-have fashion designs, furniture for your home, or a brand-new iPhone, here are five ways that you can shop smarter online and enjoy even more convenience without breaking the bank.
1. Determine need over want
The easiest way to overspend online is by simply heading to your favorite fashion website and blindly adding items to your shopping cart. Yes, this can be fun, but it is definitely not the most cost-effective way to shop.
Instead, sit down and rationally think about what it is that you want to achieve from your next online shopping experience.
Do you need a new bikini ahead of your upcoming vacation?
Have you just run out of your daily moisturizer?
Make a concrete list of what you actually need and aim to focus on purchasing these items first. If you then want to enjoy a bit of spontaneous shopping and you can afford to, go right ahead, but it is always best to have direction when it comes to shopping online to avoid being sucked in by all the gorgeous garments on offer.
2. Narrow down your sites
Once you know what it is that you need to buy, you now need to decide on a list of retail sites that you can browse before making a purchase. If the item that you want is sold by a number of retailers, it can be a good idea to use a price comparison site to identify where you can buy it cheapest.
However, it is not necessarily always the best choice to pick the cheapest option. There are other factors to take into consideration, such as the retailer’s shipping costs, returns policy, and whether they have good online reviews.
This step may be a bit time-consuming, but it is worth it to know that you are getting the best possible price and quality for your chosen item.
3. Search for discount coupons
When it comes to coupons, shoppers normally fall into two categories: those who can’t get enough of them and those that don’t understand them. If you fall into the latter, then you are seriously missing a trick when it comes to saving money.
For example, let’s say you want to purchase a new summer dress to see you through the warmer months.
Would you rather pay full price for it or 20% off? Would you rather pay for shipping costs or get them for free?
It’s a no-brainer, really. Plus, if you are worried about the whole coupon process, you really needn’t be. It’s very straightforward. If you are looking for clothing, shoes, or home décor, simply search for Kohls coupons and you will automatically be taken to a page showcasing the latest coupons and promotional codes from that particular retailer. Then all you need to do is copy your code and paste it in when you get to the checkout page.
4. Set a budget
Possibly the smartest way to avoid overspending, setting yourself a budget means you know exactly how much money you can spend and once you hit that limit, you have to stop. This tip is particularly important for those who tend to get carried away when shopping online.
Of course, it’s easily done. Shopping online is a completely different experience to shopping in-store. You do not have the physical proof of your intended purchase literally in your arms when you are shopping on the internet and it can be all too easy to keep adding items to your cart without even realizing how much you are buying.
5. Abandon your cart
Abandoning your shopping cart for a day or two may sound like torture when you can’t wait to get your hands on this season’s must-have items, but it has several benefits. Firstly, it allows you a bit of breathing space to decide whether you really need the item in question – plus, whether you can actually afford it.
Secondly, it gives the retailer in question the chance to try and tempt you into returning to your abandoned cart, usually with some sort of offer, such as free shipping or an additional 10% off.
Try and remember that your chosen item isn’t going anywhere. It is not suddenly going to disappear from the site just because you didn’t buy it immediately.
Shopping smart online is no easy feat, but with a little bit of knowledge and a lot of will power, it can be done!