With Back to School just around the corner, shopping for the little ones (and not-so-little ones) is to be expected. In recent years, you may have ditched pounding the pavement in favor of online shopping. But, are you making the most of your experience?
In my humble opinion (which is that of a Jedi Master of shopping, by the way), there is a very clear difference between Online Shopping and finding an Online Shoppertunity. Online shopping merely involves jumping on a website and paying for your goods, done. Not very rewarding, other than the fact that you’ve just traded fresh air, exercise and social interaction in favour of hovering over your keyboard while sipping your third latte.
(Hey, I’m not knocking it – fresh air, exercise and social interaction are so 2004. And your fingers will have enviable muscle tone.)
But you’re “shoppertunistic” when you’re able to effectively extract bonuses and freebies while still working on those sexy, taut fingertips. And since I consider myself quite the expert on the subject (no playful bashfulness here), it occurred to me, why not pull out some tips to share from my bag o’ shoppertunites?
(Disclaimer: The bag is actually a Prada hobo. Bought on sale, of course!)
Here are some Lena Approved tricks for Online Shopping – hope you find them helpful!
1. When there’s a Free Product Coupon (FPC) circulating online, grab it. After all, why not? You’ll have the opportunity to try something new, and even if you don’t use the product, there’s always someone in your life that will use it or want to try it. I can’t tell you how many freebies I’ve passed on to friends and family – who doesn’t like to receive goodies? And, if all else fails, you can always donate the item to charity or a food drive. I’m now a huge fan of many products introduced to me via the “Try Me” coupon – Dove Go Fresh Body Wash, Pledge Multi Surface Spray, Dempsters Bagels and more.
2. Know promotion cycles. For example, every 3 months, H2O Plus sends out a coupon code for 25% off their entire store. I love H2O Plus, and since I am familiar with their promo calendar, you’ll never catch me paying full price. Right now, 3 members of my family are waiting for their next promo day in October to replenish our stock! Of course, H2O Plus is only an example – virtually every online store will have a rolling calendar, and if you’re in tune to their marketing plan, chances are you’ll always realize savings.
3. Wait for free shipping promos. EVERY store will have one. And that’s when you strike. After all, most online stores are only too happy to cover the cost of shipping from time to time if it means gaining a new customer. So if you’re shopping online and you’re paying the UPS dude, you’re not getting the best deal.
4. Er, you know what? Don’t just wait for free shipping promos. DON’T PAY FOR SHIPPING. Practically every online store offers free shipping after a certain amount. And if you can’t fill your little shopping cart high enough to qualify, start making phone calls – and team up with friends who also frequent their website to pool your orders together. Or here’s a better idea: shop at SHOP.CA, where they offer FREE shipping and returns on EVERY purchase!
5. Sign up for mailing lists. They’re a foolproof way to be alerted of the best sales and promos every time. Hate clogging your inbox with random ads? Do what I do: set up a separate folder called “Promos” and as the ads come in, highlight the sender’s address and create a rule to have all future e-mails from that company sent straight to your Promo folder. Then, you can simply access your folder once a day and be up-to-date on where the latest and greatest sale is taking place. I like to do this first thing in the morning, as experience has shown me that most solicitations come in at around 3:30am.
6. Bargainmoose offered a great tip in the comments section that I just had to add: Watch Facebook and Twitter for the heads up on sales, plus for your chance to grab exclusive Facebook-only online coupons. Many companies will release the savings to their fans first, so be sure to “Like” and “Follow” your favourite brands!