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The real struggle in spending during the holidays is how we can save money without compromising the spirit of gift giving. Without a doubt, we will be spending money this season. Despite our efforts to budget, not everyone will be able to follow it to the digit.
This is especially true if up until this moment, you still have not finished your shopping. The stress of completing your list before the actual day arrives can be quite overwhelming. But do not fret because time may be running out for you, there is one way for you to complete your shopping list fast - and efficiently!
According to an article published on AdWeek.com, 27% of the annual online sales in the US happen during November and December. This is because a lot of shopping really happens during this season. In fact during Thanksgiving, online sales were expected to increase by 27% compared to 2013. During Black Friday, there was an increase of 28% in digital sales compared to 2013 - that amounted to around $2.48 billion. Cyber Monday was also expecting an increase of 15% or $2.6 billion.
You see, a lot of people are finding online shopping to be the better option to fulfill their holiday shopping needs. However, to say that you will save money by buying through this portal is not something that you can immediately assume.
4 tips to save more as you shop online
Although some people still prefer to shop the traditional way, online shopping does allow you to take advantage of more savings. But to get those savings, you need to understand how to maximize them.
According to an article published by wwwMetrics.com, 82% of American consumers who bought items via online shopping are satisfied with the whole experience. This is higher compared to the 61% of consumers who said they were satisfied after browsing online and purchasing items in the actual store. With $248.7 billion online sales expected in 2014, retailers have seen the value of boosting the appeal of their online stores. This is according to the Forrester Research done in the US. It is expected to increase by 10% in the coming 5 years.
Believe it or not, shopping and saving at the same time is possible. You just need to be aware of the techniques that will make it happen. Here are 4 tips that you may want to look into.
- Use discount and coupon codes as often as possible. This is a direct way to save money through online shopping. The competition of online retailers can be quite fierce. That is why you can expect that they will be sending your promo codes every now and then. For the online stores that you love to buy from, make sure that you are part of their email list. During the peak season, they usually send their loyal customers with promo codes that will help reduce the price that they have to pay when shopping online. The email alerts might end up as additional junk in your mailbox but believe it or not, there is bound to be a couple of useful codes in there that can be beneficial to you financially.
- Compare prices. Comparing prices will always save money in the long run. That is because you can choose, not only what is cheaper, but also what item has the higher quality. Getting the best value for your money is always a great way to save. However, comparing through traditional stores is harder because it is physically exhausting. But when you do it online, you do not have to move anything but your hands and fingers. It is faster, easier and very convenient to shop this way.
- Be aware of clearance sales. Were you aware that even online stores have clearance sales? They really do! And the best part about it is, you do not have to deal with the crowd that usually comes with the clearance sale version of traditional stores. You can enjoy the lower prices without having to worry about long lines and crowded stores. It is a win-win situation.
- Try to avoid returns. Although you were able to save money by shopping online, make sure that you purchased the right items. That is because the process of returning wrong purchases will reduce the cost efficiency of online shopping. For some retailers, they will get you to pay the full shipping price for the returned item. That is why you have to be very careful and to double check the item you will purchase before you click on the “Buy” button.
These four tips should help you save money as you shop for your holiday needs online. While this may be the cheaper alternative, take note that you still need to exercise the same habits that is expected of you when shopping in brick and mortar stores. You still need to shop with a budget in mind. You also have to come up with a shopping list to help you focus on what should be bought or not.
How shopping online can help you save money
In general, online shopping is a great money saver for a lot of reasons. However, it is surprisingly not the main reason why consumers spend online. According to an article published on MediaLifeMagazine.com, convenience is the main reason why people shop online. If you have ever been to a store during Black Friday, you will understand why. You can get lower prices online without having to deal with the people that is clamoring for the same low priced item. You can sit comfortably in your chair, drink your coffee and get everything you need while saving money.
Of course, that does not mean the price is not important. It still is. In fact, price comes second in the reasons why some consumers prefer to shop online. It is still one of the reasons why those who want to practice smart spending usually include this in their shopping habits.
If you think about it in a business point of view, you will understand why shopping online comes out cheaper. Retailers can lower their prices simply because their overhead expenses are not as great compared to the brick and mortar stores. They do not have to hire a lot of manpower to keep the store organized. In fact, a well built online store may only need one person to manage the site. Everything else (e.g. shipping) can be outsourced and that is another cost saving technique for online store entrepreneurs.
These reasons and more make online stores more inclined to lower their prices or give out discounts. Their profit margin is a lot higher.
In a consumer point of view, there are also reasons why you can save money if you choose to shop online. Aside from price comparisons and lower retail prices, here are some important savings you will get out of this shopping option.
- You get to save on time and energy. Instead of wasting your time dressing up, going to the store and dealing with the long lines, you can complete your shopping list in a relatively short time. You save money on gas too. Not only that, you can immediately take care of other stuff after you buy the products you need online.
- Product information is easier to come by. Online retailers take a lot of effort in providing information about the product. The downside of buying online is that you cannot physically touch the product. You have to rely on the text and photos on the screen. But think about it. When you are in a traditional store, you have the actual product in your hands but do you really understand what it is that you are holding? The product might end up having something that you cannot tolerate and that can lead to you returning the product - which is a waste of time and money.
- More focused buying. When you are in a traditional store, you will see a lot of things around you. Some of them will more than likely get you to spend on things that you do not really need. You might chance upon a sale item or something unnecessary that is being offered, the chances of you buying it is higher compared to just shopping online. An online store will not bother you with other products - you can go directly to what you want to buy and leave it at that.
So if you still have things to buy for the holidays, don’t waste your time going to a store. Just buy one online and have it delivered to you or directly to the recipient. That should make everyone’s holiday more convenient and joyful too.