5 tricks to become a PRO in online shopping           

In our hectic busy lives online shopping is increasingly popular – why stand in line when you can buy everything you need with your tablet from your couch? But there are crucial differences when buying “in real life” than online. When I go to the supermarket I know my cart tends to drive against the aisles of products, luring me into considering things I don’t really need, so I push my cart sideways. When a vendor calls out to me with a special offer, like a “buy two, pay one”, I ask myself –if not him directly- where’s the catch. And if at the cash register I am offered to subscribe an additional guarantee for my new electronic device I think twice before handing out my credit card and committing. So when I do my shopping online, easy, fast and convenient, there is always a little voice in the back of my head that says: “are you sure you’re doing this right? That you’re not being tricked?” To shut it up, here’s my checklist before hitting the big BUY NOW button:

The beauty pageant

Much as I compare different types of detergent bottles in the household supplies aisle in the supermarket for their properties, their strength and their price, I “stroll” around different online shops that offer the same article before committing to where I’ll buy it. The luxury of living in Luxembourg is that I can compare and choose to buy many articles in Belgium, France and Germany for no additional shipping costs!

The breathing exercise 

Buying can be followed by a post-purchase, emotional “high” for some shoppers, particularly if you feel like you got a good deal. When you order online and wait for delivery that buzz may fade and you might find yourself shopping again looking for the gratifying feeling. Breathe in three times! Acknowledge the delivery period even before the purchase.

The check-out traps

Also called the carrot and the stick. It’s the tricky questions you get once you’ve decided to buy and are ready to pay. Would you like express delivery? An additional guarantee? A second refill for 5% off? It’s the fees that get added to the additional price and make the beauty pageant above all the more important.

The big picture 

Online sellers have figured out a way to make your online shopping cart veer towards the shelf too! Experiments suggest that we tend to choose the picture in the middle when shown five pictures of identical items. Make sure you always see the big picture – a better deal might be waiting for you at the edge of the screen.

Real money, real expenses 

If it’s true that when we shop in a store and handover physical cash, the pain of paying finds the act prompts more awareness about spending, and parting with cash may even “hurt” a bit more than swiping a bank card. Extrapolate out into the online shopping environment and there is a possibility that the pain could be diminished further, potentially leading us to spend more than we should. Avoid ugly end-of-month surprises by setting limits to your cyber card – you’ll be asked to increase your limit or pay off your debt once you’ve topped it off, which could be an excellent wakeup call!

Do you have more tricks?

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