Shopping online saves time while allowing you to research your purchases, compare prices and read reviews. But how do you stay safe, save money and snag a bargain? As the January sales approach, we asked money and finance experts for their top tips. Here’s what they said…
1: Compare online prices
At Samuel Windsor, we monitor our leading competitors each month and include a comparable High Street price for all of our products. Alternatively, you can also use a price comparison tool to help you find the best deal for things like gadgets and electricals.
The team at Money Saving Expert use platforms like Kelkoo, Price Spy, Pricerunner and Google shopping to search across a wide range of big retailers including John Lewis, Tesco and Amazon, as well as picking up daily discounts from companies like Groupon.
2: Join a discount scheme or cashback website
There are lots of schemes that help you to save money at your favourite shops. Samuel Windsor offers student discounts via TOTUM and Student Beans, as well as giving a 10% discount to members of the emergency services, NHS, social care sector and armed forces via the Blue Light Card.
Nick Daws of Pounds and Sense suggests checking to see if your purchase might also qualify for cash back: “When you’ve found the perfect product at the best price, see if the retailer is registered with a ‘cashback’ website like Top Cashback or Quidco. If so, you could sign up and get a percentage back on any purchase you make.”
3: Use a cashback credit card
Did you know that buying online offers you more protection than buying from a store? The Consumer Contracts Regulations allow for a 14-day cooling off period in which to change your mind about a purchase – even if there’s nothing wrong with it. At Samuel Windsor we want you to be 100% happy with your order which is why we give our customers a 30-day returns guarantee.
And, under Section 75 laws, using a credit card to purchase items over £100 provides additional online protection. At Be Clever With Your Cash, Andy Webb says: “If you’re confident you’ll only spend what you can afford, it’s also worth considering a cashback credit card. You’ll earn a little bit back each time you spend, and there are new member bonuses on some cards. But remember, to make these worthwhile you have to be able to repay the full balance every month.”
4: Choose the best quality you can afford
Getting a huge discount is a false economy if the product isn’t any good. Shoes are the perfect example – quality leather shoes with a Goodyear Welted Sole are a much better investment than a cheap pair that last just a few months. Take advantage of periods like the January sales to invest in better quality products than you might otherwise be able to afford.
5: Order clothing with confidence
How many times have you started online clothes shopping, but abandoned the exercise because you’re not sure which size to add to your basket? Ordering clothes and shoes from the internet allows you to take advantage of flash sales and update your wardrobe from the comfort of your sofa. If you want to get a good fit online, take a few minutes to measure yourself correctly, save the results in your phone, and enjoy successful online clothes shopping now and in the future.
6: Sign up for accounts at shops you intend to buy from
Many online retailers send you discount codes throughout the year if you sign up to their newsletter. Samuel Windsor gets in touch with registered customers to give them advance notice of price reductions and flash sales.
Over at Savvy Dad, Olly says: “Be sure to spend a few minutes each week checking your spam folder and teaching your email client what’s useful. This makes sure that honest bargains find their way to your inbox.”
7: Don’t be seduced by artificial discounts
Looking for a bargain in the January sales? Nick Daws of Pounds and Sense offers this advice: “Decide in advance what you want to buy in the sale, and what would be an acceptable price for it, and stick to this. Don’t be seduced into buying products you don’t need just because a few pounds have been knocked off the cost (which could have been artificially inflated beforehand anyway).”
At Samuel Windsor, we don’t pad out sales with clothes and shoes that aren’t normally part of our range. Nor do we artificially inflate the prices of products beforehand so that the discount looks more impressive. Our sales are a genuine way to clear seasonal stock from our warehouse. And, as an online retailer, we aim to keep our prices competitive all year round anyway.
8: Buy from trustworthy retailers
“If you’ve never bought anything from a particular online store before, research it carefully before you place an order,” says Nick Daws of Pounds and Sense.
Customer reviews are a great way to see what real people think of the product you’re about to buy. Samuel Windsor asks every customer to provide an honest review of our products and we display all Feefo reviews on our website, good or bad, to give you complete confidence when making a purchase.
Online shopping allows you to research products, compare prices and save precious leisure time. We’d like to thank all of the money and finance experts who contributed these great tips. We hope you find them useful. And if you have any other ideas to share, leave a comment below or get in touch via Facebook or Twitter.