Here are some ways to make the most of your money when shopping online.

Samantha Seah  |  Singapore
Published 2015-09-23 15:00:01

If the title of Southeast Asia’s #1 online shoppers is anything to go by, online shopping is something us Singaporeans hold close to our hearts. And if you love shopping online, you’re likely to be familiar with the unique satisfaction that comes with snagging a great discount.

Online retailers are coming up with more creative marketing strategies these days to score big with shoppers: you receive email notifications whenever there’s a sale, and Facebook updates when there are exclusive offers. But these notifications can get overwhelming at times, so to help you out, here are some ways to shop online like a pro — without signing up for a ton of email alerts.

Erase your browser history

Image Credit: omgchrome.com
Image Credit: omgchrome.com

The Internet can do amazing things…including backstabbing us by analysing our shopping habits to gain an intimate knowledge of how we shop online. This is called dynamic pricing trap, and is a strategy online brands use to offer different prices to consumers based on their browsing and spending patterns. If you’ve spent days going back to the same website to check if those plane tickets you need have gotten cheaper, for example, you might have noticed that prices have risen rather than dipped. This might be because the airline knows you’re desperate for tickets, and have raised their prices accordingly.

To avoid falling into this trap, erase your browser’s history and cookies, and log out of all your social media networks, including email. You can also go ‘incognito’ (private browsing) so that you don’t accumulate cookies that will capture your habits while you shop.

Yup, there are coupons for online shopping too

Image Credit: moneycrashers.com
Image Credit: moneycrashers.com

We’re all familiar with those physical fast food coupons we receive occasionally in the mail. But they can be applicable to online shopping too. One website that offers online shopping coupons is CupoNation, which offers a range of coupon codes that you can apply when you cart out online. The best part is that some of these coupons give you discounts even on sale items. The available coupons also cover a wide range of categories, like beauty, games, travel, electronics, and etc.

Leave items in your cart

Image Credit: Shutterstock
Image Credit: Shutterstock

If it’s not the sale season and you don’t want to purchase your items at their original prices, simply place them in the cart and let them sit there for a few days. You might begin to receive emails or notifications from the brand, offering you coupon codes for a better price to complete your purchase.

This is because retailers want to close the deal, and they will try to find ways to draw you back. The notifications also work as reminders to try to persuade you to make the purchase ASAP. This won’t work for every website, but there’s no harm in trying.

Sign up for multiple email addresses

Image Credit: 25.media.tumblr.com
Image Credit: 25.media.tumblr.com

This is an admittedly tricky method, but one that has no doubt earned us Singaporeans the kiasu moniker: accumulating more coupons with multiple email addresses. Whether you consider this unethical or not, the move could save you a huge amount of money — if you do your research.

Many brands offer online deals and coupon codes to their customers. However, they generally won’t allow you to use more than one coupon at a time. By creating multiple email addresses to receive the codes, you can split your purchases up and apply those coupons onto each individual item, maximising the amount of savings you make.

Call customer service

Image Credit: Shutterstock
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Typically, a coupon or discount code will last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. But what if you’re about to buy something, and realise that the coupon has expired? Don’t wait for another code to be sent to you; your item might have gone out of stock by then. Instead, ring up customer service and ask for an extension on the validity of your coupon since you’re already about to make the purchase.

The chances of success are high for this one, since sales representatives are always eager to close the deal. They’re likely to either give you a new promo code or extend the validity of your existing one. Take note, though, that this may not work on low-priced items.

Note: Some websites have live chat support, and will issue you special promo codes if you ask. So don’t blindly close the chat support tab the next time you’re shopping!

Make use of third-party add-ons

Image Credit: teravore.files.wordpress.com
Image Credit: teravore.com

There are a number of browser add-ons you can install to help you on your online shopping experience. One such add-on is PriceBlink, which automatically pulls the lowest prices for the same product from numerous merchants, organising them in a chart and even notifying you if there are coupons available. It’s available on Chrome, Safari and Mozilla. Now this is something all online shoppers can work with.

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