Most Americans will be doing their holiday shopping online this year. A recent GOBankingRates survey found that 54% of consumers will be heading to their computer (or phone) to do their shopping this season.
But does shopping online actually get you better deals than paying a visit to the store? GOBankingRates talked to shopping experts and the answer is – it depends. Here’s a look at a few reasons why it may be better to shop online for the holidays.
It’s Easier To Take Advantage of Coupons and Promo Codes
It’s less of a hassle to use and apply coupons when shopping online, said Katie Horgan McConnell, former vice president of operations of the shopping rewards program, Giving Assistant.
“Think about the times you headed to the checkout in an actual store and realized you left your coupon at home or in a different purse. We’ve all been there,” she said. “Many stores have available coupons or discounts already applied when checking out online, reducing your chances of a coupon mishap.”
You’re Someone Who’s Easily Tempted To Overspend
Many stores now allow you to shop online and pick up in-store free of charge. While this still entails a trip to the store, doing the actual shopping online can help you save. Not only will it make it easier to browse and apply coupon codes, but it will help you resist the temptations you’d be faced with when walking up and down the aisles. And if the store offers free shipping, even better — you’ll save time, too.
You Want To Earn Cash Back
“There are dozens of cash-back sites that allow you to shop online while earning a percentage of the cost as cash back,” Horgan McConnell said.
There are even browser plug-ins you can install that ensure you get every cash-back deal you are eligible for, which makes getting money back effortless.
It’s Easier To Comparison Shop
Sure you can look an item up on your phone when you’re in the store, but it’s much easier to browse several sites at once from the comfort of your own home. Plus, if you find out that another store has the item you want for less and the retailer doesn’t offer price matching, you’ll have wasted a trip.
It’s an Online Shopping Holiday
“Mostly we’ll see better deals online for big holidays or those that are online-based, so Cyber Monday and Prime Day are both excellent opportunities to find better deals online,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com.
You’re Purchasing Household Goods You Often Reorder
Many online retailers such as Amazon offer a “subscribe and save” option that can save you money on items you regularly use. There are no such savings when you’re shopping at a physical store.
You’re Waiting for the Price To Drop
If an item you’ve been eyeing is selling for full price, you can set up a price drop alert to track the price and notify you as soon as it goes on sale. Browser extensions such as CamelCamelCamel and Honey have these capabilities.
Getting notified about online price drops is much more efficient than making repeat visits to the store in hopes that what you want is now on sale.
You’re Shopping at Target
“My advice to save money at Target that most people don’t know — and that Target does not talk about — is that online prices are cheaper than in the store,” said Vanessa Valiente, a San Diego-based personal shopper and creator of the fashion blog V-Style. “To get the online price in-store and save time, order the items online and then click on the ‘pick up in store’ option. If you are already in a Target store and want to get the online price, you can look up the item online and then have the cashier price match the item.”
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