The convenience of shopping online is unmatched. Not only is it safer to buy online, but you can thoroughly plan your shopping and save a lot of money. The national COVID-19 statistics aren’t looking good, and the lockdown is still in full effect; social distancing as much as possible is a requirement. Online shopping allows you to shop from the comfort of your home – for your monthly or weekly planned purchases, its best to stay safe, stay home and buy online.

The economy isn’t in an ideal place, and it’s wise to preserve as much money as you can; we have a few online shopping tips that can save you some coins.

Download mobile apps

Reputable online stores all have mobile apps, and getting the app can yield many rewards. Similar to the 1-grid mobile app, most apps will send push notifications that notify you of deals, discounts, promo codes, new products and information that is useful to you. It’s a great way to ensure that you don’t miss out on savings or newness.

Most online shopping stores offer incentives for downloading their app. You’ll see many times they’ll give first-time app purchase discounts or deals that are exclusive to mobile app customers. There’s a definite push to mobile-first in e-commerce and stores want to drive as many people to shop on their mobile phones as they possibly can.

Here’s why you should get the mobile apps: 

  • Be first in line for deals, discounts or promotions
  • Get exclusive mobile app deals
  • Apps are faster

Shop on the right days

Online shopping is convenient because you can shop anywhere and anytime; but if you’re trying to get the best price, getting the timing right is essential. For instance, you get spammed with deals around payday – which in a South African context means the end of the month – because that is when stores need to reach targets and make the most money.

A cool tip is to shop seasonally. Fresh produce will be the cheapest when it is in season, plus, eating seasonally is important to make sure you eat fresh and tasty produce. For fashion items, shop end of season sales to stock up on clothing essentials. Another cool tip is to shop clearance sales from countries that are ahead of South Africa in terms of trends and weather.

Here is how you can shop on the right days:

  • Observe the seasonality of your fresh produce 
  • Sign-up to mailing lists so you can get notified of payday sales
  • Shop end-of-season sales 

Take advantage of rewards programs

Most stores have loyalty rewards programs, and you must remember to use your reward program even when you’re shopping online.

These are the top rewards programs in South Africa, according to a 2018 survey conducted by Sunday Times:

  • Pick n Pay Smart Shopper 
  • Clicks ClubCard
  • Vodacom Rewards
  • Woolworths WRewards
  • FNB eBucks
  • Nedbank Greenbacks
  • Standard Bank UCount
  • Jet Thank U
  • Dis-Chem
  • Edgars Thank U

Remember to utilize your various rewards programs at checkout to earn points and get savings. A cool tip is to read the terms of your rewards programs to make the most of the service – you might find that you’re missing out on a whole lot of savings. Make sure your details are up to date so you can get the full benefits.

Make a wishlist, add items to cart and wait a while before you buy

This is a pro online shopper tip – add your desired items to your cart and don’t checkout immediately. Very often, the store will email you about your ‘cart abandon’ and they might throw in a little incentive to entice you to checkout.

Another crucial online shopping function is to add your desired items to your wishlist – these can be new items that are not on discount or things that you can’t afford as of yet. Stores generally have an eight-week cycle when it comes to new items; if an item is new it will be sold at full price for about eight weeks and after the eight weeks they will gradually start reducing the price or putting the item on sale.

Here’s why you should wishlist the items you want:

  • Get notified when an item goes on sale
  • Have a collection of the items you want on-hand
  • Let the store know to restock popular items when it gets sold out

Following these easy online shopping tips will save you a lot of money, make you more mindful of what you buy and help you avoid impulse buys. But let’s remember that we’re still amid a global pandemic and online shopping is only safe if you follow the guidelines below:

Remember to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines when accepting packages: 

  • Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or sanitize your hands
  • Wear a mask when opening the door
  • Maintain a 1.8-meter distance from delivery personnel
  • Unbox your goods and throw away all packaging immediately
  • Disinfect your products before using
  • Rewash your hands for 20 seconds or sanitize your hands again