Singaporeans love shopping online, since it provides access to brands and products that are not available locally. There is something oddly satisfying about clicking a few buttons for your loot from halfway around the world to arrive at your door step – perfect for busy folks and lazy folks alike.
There’s a saying that “whatever you see in a physical store, you can probably find for cheaper online”. However, to maximise your online shopping experience, you’ll need to navigate the perplexing world of foreign exchange rates, browsing history, and other coupon codes.
Without further ado, here are 7 online shopping hacks that every Singaporean (and their parent) should know for saving money on their online shopping.
# 1 Use Your Web Browser’s Incognito Mode
You may have heard of dynamic pricing – a pricing strategy used by businesses where prices are adjusted according to supply and demand. In the case of e-commerce, online retailers collect all kinds of data from their customers – from your browsing history, past purchases, other websites visited.
They then change the prices based on what they think you would be willing to pay for it. One way to prevent online merchants from knowing too much about you is to shop using your browser’s incognito mode. Your online shopping history will never be saved and used against you.
# 2 Be Patient
Online shops routinely use time-sensitive sales, limited quantity warnings, and other methods to prey on our fear-of-missing-out. Shopping at the last minute on occasions like Mothers’ Day, or Christmas might not give you the best deals.
When you’re desperate, you become less price sensitive, allowing merchants to take advantage. Save money by bookmarking items you like and only buy the items when they go on sale. Sites like Slickdeals and Camelcamelcamel let you track prices and set up alerts for when the price drops below a certain level.
Sometimes, when you leave your items in the shopping cart for a bit and turn your attention to something else, you might receive an email with discounts for the items you have in your cart to encourage you to complete the purchase process. Patience does pay off, it seems!
# 3 Save On Shipping Fees
Shipping costs is the silent assassin that could kill any savings you gained. Optimise your shipping costs by checking to see what the free shipping threshold is for the particular online store, then wait till you have a large enough order before buying. Or you could get a bunch of friends to pool purchases into a single order to meet the minimum amount required or spread out the costs of shipping. Alternatively, you could shop only at places that offer free shipping.
# 4 Use Promo/Coupon Codes
There are entire websites out there dedicated to giving you all sorts of promo and coupon codes. Sites like CupoNation, SGDTips, and Picodi are worthy sites to browse for relevant promo and coupon codes before you make any purchase. If you’re really hardcore, you can also get on their email lists for the best promotions every day, but that might be a little much.
# 5 Use A Multi-Currency Account
Multi-Currency Accounts (MCA) like the one from DBS allow you to exchange and store foreign currencies conveniently. For the currencies that your MCA supports, you get to shop and pay like a local, avoiding extra credit card transaction fees and unfavourable currency exchange rates, no matter where the website is based.
# 6 Use CardUp For Big, Recurring Payments
Buying clothes and gadgets aren’t the only thing that you can buy online. You can also make loan payments, pay for your rent, settle insurance premiums, and more online. As you know, you can’t pay for most of these with your credit card, and would need to use internet banking transfers instead.
Here’s where CardUp comes in. It allows you to use your credit card to make big recurring payments, which means you get to earn miles, points, or cashback on your credit card with every payment. That’s literally getting more bang for your buck!
# 7 Use ShopBack To Earn Cashback On Your Purchases
And finally, no online shopping hacks list would be complete without a mention of ShopBack, Singapore’s most popular cashback website. Buy from your favourite merchants on ShopBack and get cash back on your purchases. They’ve already paid out over $19 million of cashback savings.
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