With the advent and the immense popularity of online shopping sites comes a simple question. How to find the best among the best? So it sounds simple, right? But actually, it isn’t really all that simple. In the ever evolving and developing world of online shopping sites, the consumer preferences and demands are also constantly changing, since being spoilt for choice, it is truly and inarguably a buyer’s market out there. A simple click of the mouse or a tap on the screen is often enough to inundate you with a plethora of great sounding, some impossible sounding ‘deals’ that beg to be pounced upon by even the most discretionary shopper. Let us try and find out if there is a method to the madness and enumerate what are the procedures which if applied correctly, can save you a load of money and heartburn. With careful research and checks, we have found out that there really are ways, which are better than others that can help you in cracking the best deals out there in the virtual market. The following are a few of those:
Ask for the Peer pressure, this one time:
So who is the best person to guide you about a particular product? It’s merits and demerits and how it was shopped at a discount? The seller of the product? No…The buyer of the product? Yes! Take a moment to go through the various reviews available of the product on the product page and at other places online. Chances are, along with the product description and usage experience, many reviewers actually write about their experience of how they got a great deal on that product, and well, you can read and learn. It is never advisable to ignore advice, certainly not of ones who have successfully done what you want to do.
Mail yourself!! Well that sounds like a bit weired, but it isn’t really, not as long as you are looking at ways to get the bang out of your buck at online shopping sites. It is well known that most shopping websites offer great referral points and offers, and allocate the cost to their all important ‘customer acquisition costs’. You must have seen many offers saying: “Refer a friend and avail 1000 Rs. Off”, well who is a better friend of yours than you? Just open another mail account, refer yourself to yourself, accept your own offer and most of the time, both emails get benefits. Easy Sqeezy. These days however, many websites have started tracking the ip addresses to authenticate the users and use mobile phone numbers for dual verification but hey, you know that can be gone around by using different computers and phones, and for a couple of thousand of free Rupees, it all makes sense.
Sort yourself out, first! : Shoppers these days are smart. The sellers these days are smarter. Shoppers want the best deals, buy stuff at cheapest price and sellers want to sell stuff, some at a deal, and make up the money lost on the deal with other sales. One of the many ways they do it is by displaying products that look like a random listing, but in reality is a way to peddle products that are not on sale or are more expensive than ones listed below. The sort options on these pages offer the customer a chance to sort the product listing from say prices low to high, and sale high to low etc. These sort options must be used wherever possible, along with the normal filtering options such as the size, colour, fit etc. On most big websites there is a significant difference in the cost of the same product serviced by different vendors. Using the sort option can simplify the listings and display the cheaper product first and that’s a great hack, isn’t it now?
Follow them around: Many shopping sites and ecommerce vendors announce lucrative offers on their social media platforms. It is a good idea to follow their social media pages and subscribe to the email communications or sms alerts. Although it can be a bit distracting, but remember, you can always turn these off whenever you want. During the sale season, this can be one of the quickest ways to know about upcoming offers, many of which last only for a very short period of time such as flash sales etc. If you don’t want to miss out on those great limited time offers, getting social with them is the way to go.
Cart Them Up. Do that Fast! : In very popular sales, the really popular products sell out very fast. One mobile phone company reported selling 50,000 unit of their flagship product in less than 5 seconds online! Whereas you have to be extremely lucky to really get hold of that one, it is true that once you put a particular product in your cart, you still have between 15 minutes to 2 hours of time to decide whether to really go ahead and buy it. If you do not put it in your shopping cart quickly, you can only regret if you could. Also sometimes, for products that are not on a flash sale, the website can send you notifications if the price of the chosen product drops, and that can be a win win situation for you.
Be Appy, Be Happy : Many web based ecommerce portals these days, understanding the huge benefit of a mobile platform and the quickly rising usage and popularity of mobile devices for shopping, come up regularly with “app only” offers, to encourage shoppers to download their shopping apps. On most occasions, a first time use discount is also offered, in addition to referral discounts, if you have been referred by somebody. These all can add up to a rather good amount. In any case, due to the push notification functionality and the always on interface, the apps can be a great medium to quickly log on and try and score those popular sales.
Use the No Questions Asked Return functionality: Well this is cheeky and a little naughty, but it has been well known for a while that many customers use a certain product and then return it back, careful not to remove the tags and original packaging, specially for products with a unique short term use, such as a bunch of Christmas lights or a wedding tuxedo. Whereas this can be a little under the belt, but you wanted to know, and we wanted to tell. To each, their own.
Catch it on the Drop: There are many websites that allow for a customer to be alerted for price drops or availability. If you like a product that is priced more than what will make you comfortable buying it, take your chances by putting a price drop alert on the same. If you get lucky, well the price of the product will drop and you can gobble it up like nobody’s business. And if the price doesn’t drop, well, you were not going to buy it at that price anyway. So no sweat!
Although cracking the best online deals is becoming more of a science than a nimble shopping art, what with the multitude of web users coming up with newer and newer tricks, starting from refreshing the sale page continuously to continuously clicking the buy button, and every other trick in between, It is none the less true that with the above hacks, you certainly can increase your chances of scoring that elusive deal, perhaps brag about your online shopping skills to all who care.