Here at Australia’s money saving zone, we’re always on the lookout for top tips that can help you save or get better value for your money. Shopping online can save you a stash of cash, but you need to know where to shop and what to look for. To help you find the lowest possible price online, we sought out the help of online shopping guru Kayla Barber, founder of Zangle.com.au, to share with you her top tips for shopping online like a pro.
As I was watching the Winter Olympics the other night I was thinking that there ought to be some sort of online-shopping Olympics–rounds of challenges for pro-online shoppers: people that know when to buy and how to score the lowest prices, every time.
Likely I would win. Maybe that’s why I dreamt it up.
But seriously, we the-online-shopping-public can learn a thing or two from the athletes competing (and shivering) in Sochi right now: if you want to be on top of your game, you need to practise and perfect your technique.
Okay, enough with the sports metaphor, I’m here to share with you my four-step program so that you too can become a pro at getting the things you want and need (and the Christmas present no one bought you) for the lowest prices.
Step 1: Price and compare
Never buy from the first store you find in your Google search. Likely they’re just the store with the most money to shell on advertising dollars. Here’s what the pros do: Check out the product you are looking for at your favourite online store, take note of the cost, and then use Google to compare prices with other stores.
Don’t just stick to Australian stores either, try and find international stores that offer the same product, as they are often up to 50% cheaper than local stores. I know you are probably thinking, “well, of course,” right? But you’d be surprised how many people don’t think to do this.
Step 2: Get the best shipping option
My kids don’t like peanut butter and jam; I don’t like paying for shipping. Just one of those things, I guess. Even if the item is marginally more expensive, I would rather pay the difference just to avoid paying for shipping (yes, I take it that far). Why? you ask. Because if I ever need to return the product, at least I won’t be out of pocket for the original shipping cost.
Free shipping is go-to guy. Next best is flat rate shipping. Then, I can buy multiple products and the cost of shipping drops when spread out over a few items.
Paying for shipping is only worthwhile if you are certain that the item is the one you are after, and the items cost is more than 15% lower then you would generally pay for it.
Step 3: Check for coupons
Now that you have determined which store you will be buying your product from (based on product and shipping cost), let’s try and drop the cost on your purchase. Your best friend now is Google. Your objective: search for coupons. I have found that the most efficient way to find a valid coupon code is to type the current month and/or year along with the name of the store into Google. Poke around, check what’s on offer and see if you get lucky.
Step 4: After-purchase Care
You have followed the steps, scored the best price, and now your dream heels or favourite gadget is on its way. So what’s left to do in step four? This last step is for the pros that mean business. No benchwarmers here. It’s called after-purchase care. Keep checking on the product you purchased, and if the price drops within a short time frame, say a couple of weeks, get back in touch with the store. Most online stores will credit you for the difference in price within their nominated time frame. Clutch, huh.
Remember these four steps the next time you shop online; they will save you your hard earned dollars (so you can buy even more). Talk about winning.