Charlie Cohn is the author of The Step-by-Step Guide to Saving Money with Coupon Codes and Shopping Online and oversees CouponPal.com’s blog. He’s an obsessive deal hacker on the search for new ways to get a discount online and enthusiastic to share his techniques.
Do you shop online? Do you spend time searching for the best deal all over the web? Well, the best deal may be right in front of your eyes. More and more, online retailers are including discount offers right in the shopping cart to entice you to make a purchase. Pay attention to these five places to find a great deal without leaving a store’s website.
1. Shop the Sale Section
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed at how many people skip the sale section of a site. This is especially effective when a store is transitioning between seasons and must clear inventory before restocking for the next trend. Look for a “Sale” or “Clearance” section in the site’s navigation for the lowest advertised prices. For bonus discounts, you can often apply coupon codes to sale items to save big.
2. Check the Header
Tired of searching for a valid coupon code online? Keep your eye open while shopping and pay attention to the header. Stores promote their own coupons and sales to incentivize shoppers to buy more items and complete their purchase. Typically, you will find these offers at the top of the window near the navigation, or even promoted in a large banner ad.
The best part? You can expect them to work when you checkout – unlike when you search for codes at less-reputable sites. I have even seen stores promote different offers while I browse their site – so pay attention or you might miss out on the best deal.
3. Pop-ups Sales
No, I’m not talking about those quirky temporary stores that show up for a flash sale – I’m talking digital pop-ups. You know, those annoying windows that seem to open out of nowhere. That’s right, turn off your pop-up blocker when shopping or you could miss out on a killer promotion.
Much like sales being offered in headers, stores use pop-ups to encourage shoppers to make a purchase. The most common promotion I have noticed is an invitation to sign-up for the store’s newsletter in exchange for a one-time use coupon for your order. If you are making a pricey purchase, it pays to sign-up. Be warned, however, it can take some time for them to process your information and send you the code. Stay patient, savings are coming.
4. Ask for a Discount
The rise of haggling has been well-documented at brick-and-mortar stores, but what about online? Did you know that you can ask for a discount? This is one of my favorite, and most underutilized, online shopping techniques.
Next time you are shopping online, look to see if a store has a “Live Chat” function. If there is one to be found, you’ll usually find a link to activate it in the customer support section of the site. Stores advertise these chat specialists as experts there to help you make a decision, but they are really just salespeople in disguise. Use it to your advantage and make them sell you what you came to buy – for less.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Start a live chat with a store representative.
- Demonstrate your interest in making a purchase, knowledge of the product(s) and familiarity with where else they are sold, and concerns about the price.
- Ask if they can provide any discounts or price assistance to help you afford your purchase.
Stay firm in your commitment to needing a deal to be able to afford the purchase. I have found it particularly effective to have a list of other stores that sell the same item you’re looking to reference in the chat (and, if you’re a savvy shopper you should have one from price comparing already!). Even though you’re putting your shopping sense on display, do your best to keep from being pushy or demanding. Ultimately, you want to let them “make a sale” and feel victorious when they give you a discount that convinces you to click “buy.”
5. Promote and Earn
Nothing beats word-of-mouth advertising, and in the digital age, social media reigns king. To help get the word out, some stores will pay you to share their message. Look for the option to share a message in exchange for a reward or discount, like the offer below.
Don’t want to fill your social stream with promotional messages? No problem. Send out the message, grab the discount, and then delete it from your history. The store will never know the difference.
Still can’t find a discount? Not to worry. There are tons of other ways to save. From discount gift cards to coupon code directories to cash back shopping portals, the Internet is the wild west for saving. When it comes to getting a deal, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Great tips, everyone. I recently heard another one I like – clear your cache and browsing history when shopping to get the best advertised price. Has anyone done a price comparison with/without cleaning out your history? I’d love to know how well this works.
Thanks for the tips Charlie. This is very helpful for the folks who wanted to have bigger score in their savings accounts.
I’ve seen sites offer a discount when you put something in your basket but then navigate away from the site without buying. So try changing to Google just before you click “charge my credit card”! (You can almost always use the back button…)
So glad you like the tips! Great to hear another supporter of the live chat, Kyle. Any other pro tips you think go underutilized ?
I’d also add the retail strategy of sending a coupon code via email when the shopper abandons the virtual shopping cart seems to be gaining some traction. Worth a try, especially on big purchases.
Really useful article Charlie. Using the live chat feature to ask for a coupon is something I have been promoting for over a year now. Why? Because it flat out works.
Interesting, I’ve never thought of haggling online. I’ve absolutely used the live chat feature to report issues with a purchase or set up a refund, but never before making the purchase.
I recently discovered the warehouse section of amazon. It’s like an online clearance section, amazing!