Online shopping is more popular than ever and promises to continue to grow. There are a number of benefits not to mention the convenience of not even having to leave your home. Here are some other benefits (and pitfalls) that are worth considering.
1. Search a large number of stores
One can visit a large number of stores literally in minutes. This saves in gas money and also your valuable time.
2. Shop whenever you like
You can shop whenever you like—not just when the store is open.
3. Compare prices and Deal Aggregators
You can compare prices across a great number of stores. One way to do this is to simply google “price of X” and you will get a variety of responses, many of which give you the price of that product in a given store. Sites like nextag.com and pricegrabber.com enable you to search among a great number of stores in seconds. These searches are up-to-date and often reflect current sales. This is a powerful utility if you are in the market for anything from macaroni and cheese to a big screen HD plasma television. Other sites known as Deal Aggregators, such as DealNews, ConsumerSearch, FatWallet and Brad’s Deals are great places to looks for online shopping deals.
6. Free shipping
Many stores offer free shipping for some items. However, if they don’t be sure to factor in the cost of shipping before you make your purchase. Some sites make money on shipping, so be careful. If you make a lot of purchases from Amazon.com, it may be worth joining there Amazon Prime Free Shipping service. In the last year, I have saved hundreds of dollars in shipping this way since I purchased tools for my new house, Christmas presents for my children, diapers for my baby, etc, etc.
7. In-store Pick Up
Many stores, like Sears or Best Buy, now offer an in-store pick up option to online shopping. You select an item online, and select the store where you would like to pick it up. If its available at that store, you can them purchase it online and go to the store to pick it up. This saves time, saves on shipping costs, and limits the potential for impulse shopping.
8. Buy just about anything
At this point you can buy just about anything online: clothes, food, diapers, etc. Some baby supplies are far cheaper online at places like Amazon.com if you subscribe to Amazon Prime shipping. You can purchase cartons of items you use frequently, such as deodorant or macaroni and cheese.
9. Coupons and Coupon Codes
Its not as easy to use coupons that you have in hand. And not all of the deals you see online are as good as one can get by physically going to your local store. One recommendation I have is to open a second browser window that you use to search for coupon codes whenever making a purchase. For many items, you can save an additional 10%-15% of items online by doing a quick search for coupon codes.
10. Limit Impulse Purchases
It is much harder for an internet store to suck you in to making an impulse purchase. Online you can avoid the racks of magazines, candy, and handy (often useless) items that surround you and your children during checkout. However, some people find it more difficult to keep track of their purchases online.
11. Auction Sites and Special Deals
One can also search auction sites like eBay, which now feature vendors with personal stores. Sometimes you can get really great deals this way. Craigslist (which is basically like the want ad section in the back of the newspaper) is another place to search for some types of items. Just be sure to be careful before you send money to someone you don’t know. Another place to check out from time to time is woot.com which sells one item per day often at a huge discount.
Online shopping can land you some great deals and save you a great amount of time.