This article first appeared on BankBazaar.sg. BankBazaar.sg is a leading online marketplace in Singapore that helps consumers compare and apply for financial products such as credit cards and personal loans
Currently, the estimated e-commerce user penetration in Singapore is around 60% and is likely to grow to around 75% by 2020. This isn’t really surprising since online shopping has loads of perks. Apart from being extremely convenient, it is also more affordable, saves time and offers a wide variety.
However, to make the most out of online shopping, you need to know some of the tricks of the trade. There is no rocket science involved here, but it only helps to know these well. Here you go:
Don’t pay more than you have to by mastering these 7 online shopping hacks
1. Know when to shop
Most retail websites announce their major sales well in advance. So, if you plan to buy something that isn’t really time bound, it only makes sense to wait for the sale days. Some online shopping brands also have ‘app-only’ deals, so make sure you use them.
Major brands such as Charles & Keith and Mango sync their online sales with those in store. These are perfect as you can avoid the mall rush and opt to shop at the same prices from the comfort of your home.
Websites such as Zalora and Lazada send registered customers regular alerts on email and phone. So, it isn’t that difficult to keep track of all the sales and discount seasons of your favourite brands.
Here are a few occasions in Singapore that you can definitely expect a sale:
- Chinese New Year around Jan and Feb
- Great Singapore Sale in June
- National Day on 9 Aug
- Single’s Day on 11 Nov (For China-based retailers)
- Black Friday on the last Friday of November
- Cyber Monday on the following Monday after Black Friday
- Christmas on 25 Dec
2. Refer and get rewarded
Most online retailers have referral programmes these days. It is a win-win for all involved – the one who is referring, the one being referred, and of course the retailer!
For example, if you refer a friend to join Honestbee, they get S$20 to spend and you are rewarded S$10! Or when you refer a friend to Humming Flowers, your friend gets S$5 to spend on his/her first order and you receive 100 e-points (equal to S$5) when he/she make the first transaction!
If you want to seriously earn some big money, sign up for the affiliate programmes that Lazada have, to earn commission on referrals. To make the most of these programmes, make a list of friends and family who love shopping online!
3. Check out online marketplaces
Online marketplaces are like a dream come true. They not only offer a wide variety of items but also make sure your shopping experience is smooth. They are organised and give you a chance to choose from multiple sellers on a single platform.
Shop.com, Lazada, and Taobao offers an extensive array of items to select from such as beauty, fashion, electronics, health, home and so on. What’s more? Sign up on Shop.com and use your UOB credit card to pay for the first transaction (worth S$100 or more) and enjoy 10% off on the total payment.
Marketplaces such as Qoo10 offer special offers along with products from Taiwan, Korea, China, Indonesia and so on. Be ready to be spoilt!
4. Hunt for shops offering free delivery
Most online retailers offer free delivery on orders but only when you meet a minimum order amount. Now if you want to buy only one item and it does not meet the free delivery minimum amount, it can be heartbreaking. So, take time out and find the real jewels – websites that offer free delivery regardless of the order amount.
For example, Pomelo offers free delivery on your first order and those like Book Depository and ASOS.com also waive off shipping fees. Make the best of these.
5. Use credit cards strategically
We Singaporeans love our credit cards, and there is little doubt why. After all, those immense benefits and convenience do deserve all the importance. More and more online retailers are partnering with banks to offer exclusive discounts when you use specific credit cards. Ezbuy and Lazada do this all the time.
If you are a regular shopper, make sure you have at least two credit cards ideal for online shopping – for example, you could use the Citi Rewards Card or OCBC Titanium Rewards Card, both of which give 10X points for clothes, bags, and shoes when shopping online.
This is equivalent to 4 miles/dollar. If you are planning to buy electronics and gadgets, use the OCBC Titanium Rewards Card as it gives 10X points on your spends.
6. Become a member
Memberships come with their own set of sweet benefits. For example, if you become a member of LiveUp, a new venture, you enjoy a list of tempting benefits. The membership cost is S$28.80 per year after 60 days of free trial. It brings with it special promotions such as 5% rebate on every RedMart order, 5% rebate on a Lazada order along with the fastest delivery free, six months of free Netflix, discounts on Uber and UberEats services, and a lot more!
7. Use cashback sites
Lastly, make sure you don’t leave money on the table. Always check your favorite cashback sites to see if you can get money back from your purchase. Do you know that RateX offers cashback as well?
Also published on Medium.