A guest post today from Andrea Woroch -
Budgets, investing and other methods of personal finance are at the forefront this April in honor of National Financial Literacy Month. Smart spending is another essential part of financial literacy, yet many of us continue to make blunders in pursuit of things we want or need.
Online shopping can compound these mistakes since a few clicks is all it takes to complete your desired purchase. What’s more, many eRetailers are using a marketing method called Dynamic Pricing to maximize profits which may be costing you more. For example, Amazon changed the price of a microwave oven nine times in one day, making a sucker out of whoever purchased it at the peak price. Being aware of this tactic gives you an advantage when finding the best times to shop, but there is still a lot more to this marketing and sales tactic to be aware of. Happily, the following e-commerce trends actually help you make better buying decisions online and will improve your eShopping IQ.
1. Monthly Product Subscriptions
Despite the appeal of shiny new things, there are some daily necessities we all hate to buy and often forget to restock before it’s too late. Leaving us to a limited selection of pricey choices at the closest convenience store for those items like toilet paper, razors and pet food. Monthly product subscriptions are a great solution to maintaining necessities in stock while keeping costs down. Take the Dollar Shave Club, this inexpensive monthly subscription offers you replacement razor cartridges for just $1 every month. RollDelivered.com keeps your toilet paper in stock for $8.99 per month while online pet stores like PetCo.com offer free shipping with additional savings of five percent on repeat deliveries of pet food.
2. Specialized Comparison Sites
Speaking of items we hate to buy, is there any purchase more irritating than ink cartridges? With markups exceeding 2,000 percent in some cases, buying replacement cartridges is about as much fun as getting a root canal. Enter InkjetWilly.com, a very specific comparative marketplace helping shoppers find the best price on printer ink. This comparison search engine even offers a coupon code for 10 percent savings at the sites it recommends for buying ink. We’ll likely see more of these specialized sites as consumers become more informed about product markups through dynamic pricing strategies and turn to the Internet for savings.
3. Tracking Tools
The Internet makes comparing prices much more accessible than it used to be. Unfortunately, the process can sometimes be overwhelming with all the products, reviews and websites available. That’s where browser add-ons like Hukkster come in, helping you nab a good deal without much effort. When you find something you like, “hukk” it and you’ll get an email notification when it drops in price or when the store is offering a sale. Similarly, Yapta alerts you when a desired travel itinerary is offered at its best price, and when airfare you’ve already purchased drops in price.
Free shipping isn’t as prominent as we’d like since many stores require a minimum purchase. So you may end up forking over an extra $8 to $12 to receive your online purchase. Luckily, big retailers like Target and Walmart offer site-to-store shipping options on several products, waiving shipping fees and sometimes enabling you to get your purchase faster. You may roll your eyes at the notion of driving to the store to get something you want delivered to your door, but you have to evaluate how much that perk costs you in the long run. Avoid shipping costs and get your item faster? No-brainer.
5. Peer-to-Peer Shopping
Ever coveted the clothes in your friend’s closet or wished you could shop the boudoir of a celebrity? Though Rihanna has yet to offer her personal style for sale to the masses, you can shop the closets of fashionistas across the country with Poshmark. Think of it as a combination of Pinterest and an online consignment store. Simply browse photos of items and chat with sellers directly to complete the sale. You can also create a profile and sell clothes from your collection, though Poshmark does take 20-percent commission.
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who shares smart spending tips and personal finance advice to help transform everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. A sought after media source, she has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, Dr. OZ, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. Andrea is a dedicated smart money blogger with stories posted on popular lifestyle and personal finance sites and writes for the New York Daily News Dollar Stretcher as well. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.