5 Important ways to make BIG savings online
What is your favourite way to zap an absolute bargain online? With a plethora of options online these days, it can be difficult to establish whether you are using your time most efficiently to grab the best discount for the things you need.
This is an objective review of 5 common discount methods you really ought to know about. Learn when and how to use them and your back pocket is likely to be groaning at the seams. We look at:
- Traditional website promotions
- Cashback sites
- Crowd Buying (joining forces with others to buy common goods)
- Penny auction sites
- Deal of the day sites
So here goes…
Traditional Website Promotions
Ok, it’s great when your favourite website, such as JohnLewis.com comes up with a promotion or a saving of 10% plus. But are you prepared to wait around for the unknown day that may never actually come? Oh and it may well be in short supply when it does get discounted so you will have to be quick off the mark.
- Sometimes the discounts can be up to 30% depending on the site
- Trusted and usually a reliable service
- Convenience factor
- You could find yourself waiting around for a promotion that may never arrive.
- Discounts are often very limited, and from a high original RRP
- The digital marketplace has moved rapidly from the traditional online store to give buyers access to a greater range of discounts on like for like items from other suppliers. See below options.
Saver Rating – 6/10.
Worth keeping an eye out for direct discounts, but these methods most likely wont provide you with the best prices and are unlikely to be on the things you need today.
Sites such as TopCashBack.com and QuidCo.com have been around for a few years now. If you know the product you want to buy, the sites are a great way to get some cashback for your purchases. All you do is create an account and then go to the retailer site you were going to buy from anyway. Topcashback or Quidco will track your purchase and reward you.
- Hidden gem for discounts – and straightforward to use
- Useful for everyday purchases – particularly smaller value items
- Many online retailers are available through Topcashback.com and Quidco.com
- Cashback rates for well known websites and brands can be quite low at 1-3%
- You sometimes have to wait a few months for cashback to arrive and it is never guaranteed
- Some key products and retailers are not available
Saver Rating 7.5/10
Would have scored higher, but for the fact cashback can be delayed a few weeks, and sometimes the cashback rates are fairly small. Worth a go though, as it is money for nothing!
Crowd Buying (Joining forces to bulk-buy)
There is a new internet phenomenon. In case you haven’t heard of it, it is crowd buying, with sites such as CrowdZap.com leading the way. The way it works is pretty simple – you decide what item or service you want to buy, then start a campaign to see how many other people want the same thing. The CrowdZap team then negotiate a big a discount as possible, based on the number of supporters – its in the interests of big suppliers to want the business of say 100 HP laptop buyers, or an electricity company to want 10,000 switchers to their business – and they are willing to pay for the privilege of your combined custom.
- Unlike deal of the day sites, the customer now chooses the exact product/service to buy
- Discounts achieved exceed 50% on the RRP of some items
- Community based, so users of the sites drive interest in a product and can even influence production
- Powerful tool for retailers and suppliers to generate their own campaigns to gauge interest and offer bulk discounts
- As a campaign is required before an item is available, it requires a little more patience for the reward
- Relatively new method of buying goods from the internet, sector is still maturing
- Certain products have limitations on the discounts achieved. E.g an iPhone campaign will yield less result as Apple control prices quite aggressively
Saver Rating 8/10
Money conscious consumers will be the ones who will reap big on platforms such as CrowdZap – particularly those with good social networks to promote their campaigns. Maybe not suitable for those who want something yesterday, but the power and control given to buyers is eye-opening
Penny Auction Sites
These sites are springing up almost daily and advertise heavily to get the unwitting punters in. There are a few advantages, but this option is not one you will use with great caution. They work by offering products on auction, bids start at a penny. In order to place a bid, it can cost anything up to £10 for EACH bid. Yes let me repeat – £10 for EACH bid.
- You might be the one lucky person out of hundreds or thousands who buys an iPad for £200
- Er….nice looking websites (ok we are struggling for PROs!)
- As there is only one winner, every other bidder will have lost the item, as well as potentially hundreds on the bids made.
- Even to bag an iPad for £200, you probably spent another £100-£200 on bids
- Some reports indicate penny websites make up to 20 times the value of the product sold in profit.
Saver Rating 1/10
Just. Don’t. Do. It. For the love of money you could end up spending hundreds and not even have a product!
Deal of the Day Sites
When Deal of the day websites first graced our fine shores, there was quite a buzz – and it is fair to say GroupOn has the biggest market share. That doesn’t necessarily mean best discounts or best products, but GroupOn have a loyal following. Their model is based on negotiating prices with suppliers, selling in bulk to the public and taking a nice hefty cut of the margin from suppliers.
- A smooth website and App for sites like GroupOn
- Some discount levels achieved look great – at first glance anyway
- Broad range of products and services
- Some of the deals are in fact available cheaper elsewhere on the internet – on like for like products
- Limited to products that GroupOn etc have procured and made available to the public
- Customer service rating is poor, and delivery lead times can be quite long
- Suppliers have been known to go out of business following promotions – citing big chunks of the price going directly to the deal of the day website.
Saver Rating 6.5/10
It feels a little like GroupOn has reached its peak and is happy to maintain that market share based on loyalty – but that will only go so far unless customer service and product offerings improve – the competition is hotting up!
We have deliberately not included voucher code sites such as vouchercodes.co.uk etc, as these are well known, and it is challenging, to say the least, to get voucher codes that are actually valid. But it may still be worth a quick google search to find any relevant discounts.
Suffice to say, all the discount methods explored above have some merits – but one golden rule must be adhered to : there is a time and place for every discount method. Magic happens when you quickly assess your needs and use the website that best fulfils those needs.
Aim to save big (I mean thousands not hundreds) every year, and inspire big. Share your success stories with friends and colleagues alike.