The Best Ways to Save While Shopping Online

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India remains one of the most price conscious markets in the world. According to a survey by India Today, 80% of the Males in India are either highly or moderately price conscious, with only 5% showing extremely low price consciousness. Although this data is only for males, the overall data would also be similar owing to the high incidences of males being the decision makers for most household shopping requirements.

The moot point is that India, as a market is naturally drawn to bargains and shopping deals and the recent slew of online discounts has taken the price sensitivity aspect of The Indian consumer into account by offering great discounts and offers to make new customers and to retain old ones in an extremely competitive market.

Having said that, it is also true that with a little effort, understanding and patience and a smart shopping strategy, consumers can save quite a handsome amount of money while shopping online. The following are some of the most important factors that should be considered to score better discounts on deals on the online portals:

1) Compare Apples to Apples: There are many price comparison websites that automatically compare the price of a product across all competing websites and display the results instantly. These price comparison sites can be effectively used to do a virtual comparison and choose wisely. Even though these sites do not update on any ongoing flash offers, these still are a great tool to make the right decision.

Price Compare

2) Invest time in Research: There is no substitute to great research for a product whether in terms of features or price, whether online or offline. A little research on the availability, upcoming sales or flash offers can save a huge amount of money. There is a recent trend of consumer websites offering short term discounts and offers that offer great value but are not announced too much in advance to retain customer visit to the site. Keeping a track on these trends can save a lot of money.

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3) Go Coupon Mongering: Many websites offer use of third party coupons that provide back links to the site. These days there are many coupons sites that offer great discounts or cash backs on being redirected from that site. Although the amount of the savings is not really huge but can be quite substantial for people who are regular shoppers. Sometimes these coupons sites have a minimum withdrawable balance requirement which calls for a customer to come back to the site again and again. And once the customer accumulates a minimum requisite amount, using those is fairly simple and beneficial across multiple sites.

4) Make use of that Plastic: It is well recognised that Credit Card companies offer great usage benefits to its customers, since the commission on usage is their only way of revenue. Many people argue that Credit Cards aid and encourage non discretionary spending and impulse buying but for a prudent customer who is financially disciplined, Indian Credit Card companies offer great value besides money saving, specially on online purchases. First, all credit cards offer a credit cycle which if used well in terms of shopping on dates farther to payment due dates, can get as much as 50 days of free credit, which in itself results into a substantial amount of savings. Secondly, many online stores offer zero interest EMI schemes which stagger your payment over several months and bring down the overall cost of purchase.

master credit card

5) Use rewards and get rewarded twice over: Many Credit Card and Debit Card companies, even banks offer reward points to e-shoppers these days. These reward points keep accumulating over a period of time and can later be used to shop online. A point worth noting here is that a number of such reward schemes have an expiration date, so one must try and use them before they are gone. All in all, it remains a great way to save quite a chunk of money while shopping online.

6) Ask Friends to Join. Refer & Earn: With more and more ecommerce companies joining the fray, one of their main ways of customer acquisition is through existing customer referrals, for which they often provide great incentives. Many websites including the big ones such as Amazon and Snapdeal provide handsome referral benefits to all sales made through customer referrals. If you have really liked something on a website and think that somebody else, who is not an existing customer of the portal, will like it too, it makes sense to make a referral and to earn the resultant referral benefit, which mostly is by way of either cash back or through coupon codes encashable on the next purchase. This is among the simplest way to save money while shopping online.

7) Ditch the ‘Do Not Disturb’: Although this can turn to be counterproductive with lots of emails and SMS landing in your inboxes, but it is true that these emails or messages at times can prove to be a big saving opportunity. As an ardent online shopper, you’ll have to keep your eyes and ears open, and keep regular check on your inbox (including spam) to grab an upcoming sale that is not aggressively advertised.

If a little discretion is used in selecting the more well known websites, where you normally shop, emails and sms can actually help you grab a big saving opportunity. Some e-retailers draw up lists of more frequent customers and some sales are advertised only to them.

8) Dodge the Dynamic Pricing: Although the jury is still out on whether e commerce portals track the past purchase history, location data, browser history and other factors and try and upsell based on conducted search, specially by airline and e ticketing companies, it is true that dynamic pricing is employed for many frequent shoppers based on site algorithms. It is noted in India, especially on travel websites that the ticket prices sway a lot during consecutive searches, dynamic pricing may be at play. To clear browsing history, cookies and logging out of accounts is considered an effective way to get over these practices by e commerce sites. Using incognito browsers or anonymous login can also trick the website into confusing the user data and preferences.

With an ever increasing number of e-commerce portals, there’s a cut throat competition to retain and add customers, and it is true that with a little bit of diligence, one can save quite a lot while shopping online. Amidst all this, it is also important that one should be able to differentiate between spurious websites and the genuine ones.

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