I love to do online shopping. Zalora, Lazada, Hermo, Ebay and a few others, are among my favourite online shopping spots. And as an online shopper, I love to grab deals. Unless I’m in a terrible rush, no matter how much I want the items, I never make impulse purchases – I never buy without checking for the best deals that I could find. And why wouldn’t I – when those deals give me the opportunity to stretch my bucks and have fun at the same time?
How to find the best deals?
Do you know where the average Malaysian money goes to this very minute? Here’s an expenditure infographic created by CupoNation that could give you some idea. It’s pretty astonishing, actually. So, unless you hate getting more bang for your bucks or you’re in an absolute hurry, it is better that you find the best deals possible before making a purchase or you’ll be losing your money unnecessarily.
Here are my 10 tried and tested easy tips for getting the best deals when doing online shopping:
1. Check and compare prices. Everyone has their methods, but mine is the simple old fashioned way of using ‘google’. This usually works for electronic items – just key in the specifics of the items, eg type ‘iPhone 6s Malaysia price 2016’, click on ‘Search Tool’, choose ‘Past Month’, and I will see the results. But for items costing more than RM500, I would also take the time to visit local shops to make comparisons. You never know – prices could drop a lot within 1 month.
2. Sign up or be a member. Register, set up an account and subscribe for the store’s email and newsletters. In my case, I subscribe to Zalora, Hermo, Lazada, and many more. It’s free, anyway. Better still, if you have more than 1 email, register them all to increase the number of coupons/vouchers you receive. 😀 You’d most probably get a special discount for your first purchase. If you only want to look at the newsletters occasionally, then you could open an email address specifically for shopping account.
3. Don’t check out immediately. Whenever I’m interested in an item, I would log into my account, put the items that I like in the shopping cart (or wish list) and log out without making a purchase. Anytime there’s a special deal or discounts on any of the items in my cart, I shall receive an email notification. And sometimes, after the items have been in cart for a few days or so, I would even get special vouchers/discount codes tempting me to seal the deal.
4. Look for promo codes. Yep, keep an eye on those discount codes or vouchers and if the shop allows use of multiple coupons/codes, then apply them in the best order possible because the correct order would give you more savings. Aside from getting codes and vouchers from the stores, you could also find discount codes or vouchers for multiple stores and also other physical local shops from other sites and even from your mobile service providers. But you need to download the apps, of course. I’ve oftentimes used those vouchers to get huge discounts when dining in restaurants.
5. ‘Like’ the store’s FB page. ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ the store’s FB Page because sometime, they do offer special discounts or offers exclusively for their social media followers. I’ve enjoyed a lot of offers from enjoying this ‘insider’ knowledge, and also won gifts!
6. Always clear your browsing history and cookies. To avoid dynamic pricing, where there is a possibility of the price increasing when you re-visit an item, do make a note of the price when you first check it out and before you visit the store again do these steps:
- log out from your email, and social networks like Facebook, Google Plus etc
- clear your browsing history and cookies
- switch to the incognito mode for better privacy.
7. Consider the shipping costs and return policy. For example, Zalora gives free delivery for purchases of RM75 and above and 30 days free return. So, if your purchase is RM70, you’ve got to pay around RM80 (including RM10 postage to Sabah). If it’s RM75, you get free postage. Isn’t that better? Your extra RM5 gets you another thing. So, if you like an item that doesn’t reach the minimum value, add it to the wish list and combine it with your next purchase. I usually avoid international online stores if I could get the items locally, but some international websites do give free international shipping such as StrawberryNet and Book Depository.
8. Lookout for special events. There are so many opportunities to grab deals happening all the time – Cyber Monday, Black Friday, Raya Sale, and so forth. So, if you’re not in a hurry, wait for those festive periods.
9. Consider buying digital instead of physical. This is possible in the case of books, video games and music – you save on shipping costs and physical storage. Believe me, unless the book is something that you would love to re-read again and again, better get the digital copy. I learned a hard lesson when our home got invaded by termites and when we have to give way to our children’s books!
10. Read user reviews. Those user reviews could help you make smarter choices and decisions. I like to read user reviews before buying skincare items to reduce the risk of purchasing products that may not work well in our tropical climate. Hubby goes through reviews before buying most electronic gadgets.
Those 10 tips are my way of stretching my bucks when doing online shopping. What about you? Do you have any tips to share? If you do, feel free to share in the comment box below. Happy smart shopping! 😀
Previously an IR consultant focusing on industrial harmony, she now serves as a Legal Manager. She still loves exchanging ideas and thoughts with others on many subjects. An occasional knitter and an aspiring crooner.