My Tips For Shopping Online

There are some great opportunities in Australia to bag yourself an online discount, if you know where to look. And no I am not talking about eBay! Here are my tips outlining where online shopping can deliver value (and sometimes cash in your pocket) in these unsettling financial times.

1. Coupons and Discount vouchers
Coupons are ALWAYS the first place to start. More and more Australian merchants are releasing discount coupons to stimulate interest and sales for their business. You can use a site specifically designed for discount code publishing or you can use trusty Google.

2. Deal forums
These are great places to keep your finger on the pulse of the latest and greatest deal. The better deal forums have an easy voucher search for you to use. Look for a friendly active community where members submit the deals. Lobbing into a forum that is dominated by self-serving merchants is not the best place to start.

3. Price Comparison sites
If you have a particular item in mind then price comparison sites can be a valuable resource, as they list the price for one item at various stores. One thing to keep in mind is that these sites may not be a ‘true’ representation of the ‘best buy’. A lot of the price comparison sites will only list a selected number of merchants that offer a commission on each sale.

4. Review sites
These sites can also be a very useful resource. As with price comparison sites, bias can filter into the equation if the ‘reviewer’ is receiving commission. Always check several review sites and be wary if the reviews you read are very similar. Remember, deal forums can also be an invaluable resource for personal consumer reviews.

5. Cashback sites
Cashback sites are a rather new phenomenon in Australia, despite them being a ‘tour de force’ in the UK and USA markets. These sites change the way traditional advertising works on the Internet. If you click through a banner ad on a site and make a purchase, not a lot of people realise that the site where you first saw the ad is paid a commission on that sale. Instead of pocketing the payment, cashback sites hand the money back to the consumer.

A few things to keep in mind when using these types of sites:
Be wary of the ‘rewards’ or ‘points’ sites which only hand back a fraction of the commission received.

6. Deliver fees
I wanted to mention delivery fees in here to make sure that people are aware that there can be a huge difference in prices when it comes to delivery in Australia. Some merchants will make up the losses on a ‘good deal’ with an extortionate delivery/handling fee. So always check out the delivery fees before buying, and free delivery coupons are your friends

7. Price Matching Policies
Quite a number of the larger stores are now offering Price matching. Basically, if you find the item you want at another store, grab proof of the price, check the item is in stock, and ask for a price match. A number of stores will even drop the price again (although usually by a nominal figure only e.g. 5% of the price difference).

Happy shopping!