There are many unwritten rules when you shop online, but here are the major cookies that you should munch on, if you intend to do some finger shopping and credit card number typing:
1. Always find out more about the product – You have to do your homework on the products you’re buying, which means scrutinizing the specifications, watch an unboxing video or read up on product reviews, whichever that floats your boat. This way, you can avoid disappointment after paying a hefty sum and waiting for the delivery, only to get something that does not fit, or work the way you thought it should work.
2. Always check for bad customer reviews – Before checking for bad reviews, look out for the average rating of a product, and the number of reviews that give the score. Don’t waste your time on items that are below 3 out of 5 stars, reviewed by 1,000 shoppers – chances are they’re right, statistically. Conversely, I don’t give much weight to a rating that was reviewed by only 3 shoppers. And if your product has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 by 2,000 shoppers, check out the one star reviews just to be sure.
3. Compare, compare, compare – Amazon may sell a product for $x but other sites might be selling them at a fraction of the price. This could be due to discounts, inventory clearing or manufacturers selling the products themselves. Go to a few sites you know, or try Googling them. You can even go to a physical store to try on the item for size and buy it cheaper online! Knowledge is power.
4. Always check for hidden costs – This is especially true for online marketplace where prices are decided by individual sellers (e.g. AliExpress & eBay). Different sellers can sell the exact same product and seller 1 might lure you with a very low product price compared to seller 2. However, seller 1 might sneak in a higher shipping cost, which eventually cost more overall – but you wouldn’t know since you’ve already clicked on seller 1 and the shipping cost only pops up only at checkout.
5. Search for a promotional code – Needless to say, promo codes will give you a discount on your item or cart, so why not? Often, we will just check out after you’ve done all your due diligence and can’t wait for it to show up on your doorstep. Spend a minute Googling for a promo code and it might save an hour’s wage (or more). You might find them due to the site’s affiliation / collaboration with another site or to penetrate into a certain group of shoppers which you’re not aware of.