It is hard to resist online shopping. Whether you’re commuting, at home tucked in your bed, or even taking a small break from work or class, the accessibility of online malls has made retail therapy just one search button away.
While this means we can easily peruse and add shiny new items into our carts, we find ourselves slowly removing them throughout the week after looking at the receipts we’ve racked up that month. But what if we told you that it is actually better to leave items in your cart? Savvy online habits are essential in our digitised landscape, so here are 10 easy ways to save online that retailers don’t want you finding out:
1. Leave desired items in cart
This tip is so simple, you are probably already doing it! By leaving orders in your e-cart, serious savings are coming your way in the form of “You left something behind…” emails. Companies like ZALORA love to send these reminders with an enticing discount code . This method is a win-win situation for both parties – it encourages sales on the company’s end while letting you save some money. A win-win in our opinion!
2. Sign Up for Newsletters at Sites You Love
Are you guilty of clicking “not now” whenever a site prompts you to join their mailing list? Then you could be missing out on great, sometimes exclusive, sales going on on their site! These newsletters not only alert you when new collections are available but also issue sales announcements and discount codes.
Sometimes, they even release sneaky early access to their sales for customers on these mailing lists, giving them the chance to snatch up their most coveted pieces. If you are worried about getting flooded with emails from different brands, we recommend creating a separate account just for your shopping needs. Not only does this keep your main account from being overloaded, but it also grants you new “first-time user” discounts!
3. Image Search on TaoBao
If you are an avid online shopper, then you’ve definitely cruised through the seemingly endless E-mall of Taobao. As a treasure trove containing any items you might need or desire, there is nothing more disappointing than making a purchase only to realise that it is cheaper on the site. However, this situation can be easily prevented through the nifty Image Search function available on Taobao’s website and app. Located right beside the search bar, simply snap or screenshot a clear photo of what you are looking for, and let the search engine do its magic. While you might not always find the exact piece you are looking for, the search will also offer similar listings they have. Sometimes, these recommendations are even better than what you originally wanted!
4. Know the Prime Time to Shop
It is no secret that retailers love to hold massive sales when holiday seasons are approaching. Aside from the usual Christmas and New Years sales, many online shops have started to introduce refreshingly fun sale dates such as the iconic 11.11 Single’s Day Sales (and now, recurring every month with 1.1, 2.2, and so on) and Pay Day sales (end of the month). On marketplace shops like Shopee and Lazada, the days leading up to their monthly sales are usually chock full of vouchers and discounts so it is always a good idea to check-in then!
Online retailers focused on the Singaporean market will also have localised holiday sales, such as during our National Day (9th Aug), Chinese New Year, Hari Raya or Deepavali. Following this vein of thought, if you love browsing through international sites’ catalogues, then it would be a great idea to find out what holidays their country has. It is likely that they will issue special discounts during those days.
5. Discount Tracking Apps
If you do not have the luxury of time to surf the net to find the best discount codes or prices, using Chrome extensions or apps are a great help. Tracking software like Honey will do the online fieldwork for you, scouring the world wide web for the best working discount code that you can apply on checkout. If there are zero working coupons, then Chrome extensions like Shoptagr come in useful. All you have to do is add the item into your Shoptagr cart, and the application will automatically alert you once the price of it has dropped.
This little trick is definitely well suited for those who love plenty of savings with minimal effort, which is probably all of us!
6. Shop Stealthily in Incognito Mode
Sometimes, certain online sites would employ dynamic pricing on unsuspecting consumers. This means that the prices can fluctuate based on activity, and they would rise if you make repeated visits to the same item. Sometimes, this may go unnoticed due to our heightened desire for the product. To prevent this, shopping in incognito mode prevents these sites from tracking your behaviour on their site, which means they are oblivious to how badly you actually want it! It is important to regularly clear the cache and cookies just in case the browser gives away just how many times you’ve been eyeing that dress…
7. Pay in Their Currency
This is the best hack to use when shopping on international sites like Amazon and ASOS. As these sites are in a different currency, they usually end up with a higher price tag in SGD. There are two ways to save on this currency exchange. The first is to set up a Multi-currency Account (MCA) and link it to the debit card you use for online purchases. Aside from avoiding conversion fees, you can also purchase the currency at your preferred FX rate and store the amount in this account.
Alternatively, you can apply for a multi-currency travel wallet like YouTrip or RHB TravelFX. Similar to MCAs, these wallets allow you to store various currencies within it, all of which are exchanged at a competitive FX rate. With this one card, you can shop at various international brands with little worry about exuberant conversion fees or poor exchange rates.
8. Shop Outlet
Outlet malls are a well-loved term in any shopper’s dictionary, but who said they only exist physically? Most brands have also migrated their heavily discounted outlet items online, and yes, this includes brands like Adidas and Nike. Marketplaces such as ZALORA also houses an outlet section to their site, allowing you to shop various brands at a discounted price point. Typically, these outlet sections can be found on the website itself, but you can simply search the brand with “outlet” in Google if you are unable to find it.
9. Just Ask
Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. Drop your favourite brands a cheery email, or a friendly message on social media to ask for any discount or codes they have or can offer to you. More often than not, they would inform you about upcoming sales, existing obscure discounts or even create a special code just for you! The best time to use such a trick is during the off-season where there are little sales happening, if not they might just give you those that can already be found on their site.
Take note, however, that you should probably only do it occasionally, and not every time you’re checking out something. We recommend trying this trick when you’re intending to check out a large number of items, so it’ll be more compelling for the brand to give you a special discount.