Online shopping has grown in popularity this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the overall online retail market has increased by 20% in 2020.

As the holiday season approaches, this year’s shopping experience will look a lot different than previous years. Instead of lining up for doorbuster deals on Black Friday, position yourself in front of your computer on Cyber Monday. The online deals will be prevalent this year, but so will the online scams.

Keep reading to discover the top mistakes with online shopping to avoid this holiday season.

1. Not Looking for Discounts, Coupons

The great thing about online shopping is that there is always a deal waiting to be discovered. Odds are, there are discounts for products on your shopping list.

To find discounts, first, look around the site that you are shopping. They may have special offers for new customers or discount codes available if you spend so much money.

If you’re coming up with no discounts, do a quick Google search for coupons. Search by the site you’re shopping on or the brand of the item. If there are any discounts out there, they’ll pop up in your search results.

2. Ignoring Email Loyalty Lists

To get the best deals possible, you always want to sign up for a store’s loyalty email list.

When you first join, you generally get a unique discount coupon code. This code usually provides a much better deal than you’d be able to find with a generic coupon. In addition, you’ll receive emails alerting you to big sales and new coupons.

If you’re a bargain shopper, you should always check your email before starting your shopping spree. It may also help to set up a separate email for all your shopping offers so that they don’t clog up your main email inbox.

3. Forgetting to Comparison Shop

When buying items online, people tend to navigate to their favorite stores. But, sine online shopping is so much more convenient than in-person shopping, you should always comparison shop.

If you’re looking for a particular brand or product, search around for several shops that supply the item. Then, compare their prices, along with any discounts they offer. Many times, you can get a better deal going through a lesser-known website than the big box store sites.

In addition, there are many websites that cater to reselling products. So you could find a used version of the product for a fraction of the price.

4. Shopping at the Wrong Time

Online shopping prices fluctuate depending on the time, day, and season. It’s always important to think about when the best time to purchase an item is before starting your shopping spree.

Always try to order items when they are clearance priced. Most stores will have items marked down drastically at the end of each season. Or some big-box stores have set mark-down schedules, like this Walmart clearance schedule.

5. Failing to Account for Shipping

It can be harder to stick with an online shopping budget than an in-person budget. The main reasons for this are the shipping and handling fees that get added on to the end of your order. Always add in the shipping cost when determining if you found a good deal or not.

Some ways to help with shipping costs is to shop through websites that always offer free shipping, such as Amazon Prime when you have a membership. You can also combine your shopping trips to help you reach the monetary free shipping limit that some websites have, such as free shipping when you spend $75.

You can also choose to have an item shipped to a store near you, which often eliminates the fee.

6. Ignoring Product Reviews

You should make a point to never ignore online customer reviews. When shopping online, it can be very challenging to determine the quality of the product you’re buying. Instead, you have to rely on the photographs, which could not accurately represent the item that you end up with.

This is why you always need to read the reviews. Let other customers explain the quality of the product and how it lived up to its expectations. Also, be wary of fake reviews or products that only have five-star reviews but no actual review verbiage.

To spread the love, make sure that you leave a review of the product once it arrives. That way, you can help the next customer have a positive shopping experience.

Read More: Financial Identity Theft in Online Shopping

7. Not Reading the Full Description

Finishing our list of mistakes to avoid is not reading the full product description. With online shopping, it can be difficult to determine the size of a product which is why the description is so important.

Find the item dimensions and pull out your tape measurer or ruler. It’s best to get a full picture of the actual size of the item. Also, look at the exact color, features, and any other tidbits of information hidden in the description. Never click “add to cart” without reading the full description once or twice.

You don’t want to be like this woman, who ordered what she thought was a full-sized chair but it ended up being a doll’s chair.

Avoid These Common Mistakes With Online Shopping

After reading this article, you now have a better understanding of the most common mistakes with online shopping.

Make sure you’re always searching for the best deals by finding coupons, shopping on different sites, and shopping at the right time. Don’t forget to sign up for loyalty emails for the best deals and to account for shipping costs when shopping. Finally, ignoring product reviews and not reading the full descriptions may leave you with buyers’ remorse. If you find yourself shopping for tech-related gifts this year, be sure to check out the Tech section of this site. There you’ll find all the best gift ideas, along with reviews and recommendations.

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