8 Tips To Save Online When You Buy British

There’s a new rave in the retail business as technology is changing the way shoppers purchase items. Today, over 50 per cent of all shopping is done online, spelling doom for most brick and mortar retails stores.

"Internet shopping is clearly extremely popular with consumers because of its convenience, though it does take a toll on the high street,” said Laith Khalaf, a senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown in a report.

"Even if more traditional stores are switching to the online channel, that means they need less physical space to sell stuff from. That spells more store closures, which clearly does nothing to attract people to the high street and is likely to contribute to declining footfall."

However, due to the relative ease and comfort of buying an item online, there is the tendency for shoppers to overspend. While this is a welcome development for online retail store owners, learning how to effectively shop online would put an end to waste—plus, it would be a great way for shoppers to save money in the long run.

According to reports, the UK is one of the leading online retail markets in Europe, with online sales skyrocketing to 16 percent in comparison to 2015—reaching a massive £133 billion in 2016. With the splash of cash being thrown into the ecommerce industry, how then can you be a smart online shopper?

A lot of online retail outlets take advantage of shoppers ‘loose purse’ and go to the extent of not only selling overpriced goods, but poor-quality items. Nonetheless, here are some expert tips to help you shop wisely online.

1.  Take full advantage of voucher codes

To get the best deals and offers on any item, using voucher coders can make your purchases incredibly cheaper. By merely signing up for a website, shoppers can get as high as 50 per cent off all their purchases.

“Online shopping is hugely convenient and usually less expensive. However, there are many tips and tricks that can be utilised to make it more enjoyable and even cheaper,” says Mike Meade, founder of a voucher code website.

“With retailers desperately competing for your custom, you can often take full advantage of cashback sites, voucher codes and price comparisons.”

Thus, online shoppers are advised to gather a whole lot of codes and discounts in a central location that they can use anytime they need to.

2.  Don’t be in a haste to click the buy button.

According to consumer affairs editor for TopCashback, Natasha Rachel Smith, delaying a purchase can save you money as retailers are bound to drop an incentive to nudge you to complete purchases.

“Find the item you want, add it to your shopping basket and sit on your hands for a couple of days. Retailers see shoppers’ activity, so many will nudge you with an email, including a discount code, typically of between five and 50 per cent, to motivate you to commit to the purchases. It makes the wait well worth it,” she said.

3.  Be conscious of your security

While Britain has been equipped with over five million secure and convenient Wi-Fi hotspots all round the country, it is important to be guarded while shopping via a non-trusted connection or website.

Hackers are on the prowl and a little slip up could mean you losing all your money.

4.  Try second-hand marketplaces

Visiting a second-hand marketplace could save you cost off some items while shopping online and according to Sarah Parsons—founder of Bamboo Global, a website dedicated to promoting an eco-friendly lifestyle—there also exists online second-hand stores.

“The simplest way to introduce eco-shopping is to search online second-hand bookstores such as Waterstones marketplace, or charity shops before thinking about buying new. It’s easy and you’ll find plenty of bargains – Oxfam even sells wedding dresses,” she said in a report.

5.  Look around multiple stores

Another great way to save money while shopping online is comparing multiple store prices. After finding an item you want, you should shop around other stores for the best price.

“Buy cheap: buy twice. Don’t be led by price alone. Do your research and add a few items in a few shopping baskets on different sites. You don’t need to buy everything you need from the same shop; don’t be led by convenience. You are in charge of what you want to buy,” said Keith White, head of PR at Dobell Menswear.

6.  Research properly

One of the ills of online shopping is the inability to see try on the item beforehand, leading to many people ending up with unflattering clothes. Therefore, it is advisable to do a bit of research on the item—reading customer reviews would be useful.

“Look through the company’s Instagram feed, especially if they have shoppable Instagram on their site, and try and find a similar-shaped customer wearing the item you want,” said White.

7.  Search for cashbacks

Just like voucher codes, cashbacks are another type of incentives offered by retailers to encourage shoppers.

“Some sites even offer cashback, which is a great way of topping up the funds. For purchases made through these sites, you can earn a percentage back, which quickly adds up. Don’t forget to use those points too – many retailers now offer points redemption when you spend money with them, meaning you can quickly get something back for all that shopping,” noted Tom Goode, head of marketing at M and M Direct.

8.  Utilize social media

Social media has been a great tool for both retailers and shoppers. Following a brand via their social media pages can give more insights into discounts, new product releases and many more.

“Follow blogs and your favourite retailers online via social media and sign up to emails to keep up to date with what your favourite brands are pitching as the top trends of the season and new product releases,” said White.


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