Shopping online can save you serious cash on your latest purchase – if there’s a promo code running, that is. But while many popular retailers have ongoing offers to entice us to spend more and more with each visit, fate usually dictates that when there’s something full price that you’ve truly fallen in love with, there’s not a discount to be found.
Don’t despair, bargain hunters: if ASOS’ 20 per cent off deal has finished and Amazon Prime Day is long gone, there are still some surprising ways of getting money off, even when there are no obvious codes running. We asked the experts at Alertr the tricks of the trade when it comes to checking out your virtual basket for less, and now we never want to pay a full RRP again.
Stop paying for shipping
Try your best to only shop on websites that offer their customers free shipping and delivery. Obviously this isn’t always possible, but there are ways around it. If you find a branded product that you love but the website doesn’t offer free shipping, search for the same item on an alternative site that does.
Item more expensive? Not a problem. Contact the customer service team via phone or email and ask them to match the price of the item to the one on the original site – more often than not you’ll score yourself a healthy discount. If you still can’t find a cheaper option, try combining your basket with a friend or family member who is also a fan of the retailers in order to reach the free shipping threshold, typically between £50 and £100.
Alternatively, some websites, like ASOS and Amazon, advertise a free shipping one-off payment, taking out the effort of the above mentioned research. If you make orders regularly, paying around £10 for free shipping all year round is a profitable option to consider as you’ll reap the benefits after just three shops.
Abandon your shopping cart
If there’s no hurry, add your desired items to your basket and leave them in place for a day or two. Often, in order to make their sale, retailers will email discounts to encourage you to come back to complete the purchase. Make sure you have an account with the site so that your activity is tracked and you can fully reap the benefits.
These discounts sometimes include free shipping, so if this is the case, be sure that they include free returns too. This won’t work with all retailers, but it’s certainly worth a shot if no other offers are running.
Additionally, with energy or phone providers, threatening to cancel your service will spark a flurry of discounts from the provider. Just by simply clicking the ‘cancel’ button is often enough to get offered a discount, without having to pick up the phone and speak to the notoriously stress-inducing customer service teams.
Take advantage of gift cards
No, we’re not talking about the gift cards you receive from relatives on your birthdays – you can often buy cards at less than their face value online from people who don’t want them. By looking into this option, you can secure a discount on anything you buy on the card, minimising the hassle, and the best bit? You can use this card in conjunction with other offers to score you the best possible deal.
However, if you do go for this option, beware of scams and only opt for reputable resale sites to be safe.
Learn to negotiate
Similar to asking customer services to match your price, you’ll be surprised how many retailers are open to negotiating discounts. With a few simple tricks and a bit of practice, you can secure deals from hotels to cars.
Be sure to carry out your research beforehand, look for where the retailer may offer the opportunity for negotiation and try reading reviews of other peoples’ experiences to see what’s worked for them and where.
Extend your expired coupon
You’ve signed up for email alerts and a coupon has landed in your basket when you don’t need it but then, weeks later, once its expired, you need it. No problem – companies want you to spend money and if you have an expired coupon, drop a call to customer service as they might just be able to extend the life of your out-of-date vouchers.
Buy in bulk during the sales
Keep a list of non-perishable items that you use regularly, for example toothpaste and toilet roll. With this you can stock up when there’s a sale on and avoid having to pay full price when there is no discount available. Be careful not to over-buy though – and check how much storage space you have first!
Shop out of season
Buying winter tyres in the summer or an indoor fan in the winter can save you some big bucks. When the seasons change, retailers have to clear out their inventory to make space for more seasonal stock, meaning that prices are often negotiable. Shopping for chocolate after Valentine’s Day or buying gift wrap right after the New Year is an excellent way to save money on annual essentials. Even if the product isn’t technically in the sale, it may still be reduced by the retailer as prices are often hiked up during the appropriate months.