Thursday, November 10, 2016

Online Shopping Tips and Recommendations

Lets start this with a confession - I am a shopaholic.

Kidding, that's not really anything new if you're a regular around here! Ever since my teens, I've always seen shopping as a very fun experience - digging through sales racks, finding that last piece from a store you've been visiting for three months, and sometimes falling in love with a very impulsive purchase. These were the days when offline shopping was big, and my how times have changed.

If you're new to online shopping or just want to hear about tips to make your shopping experience smoother, keep on reading!

Subscribe to their newsletter or create an account

For big websites like Sephora and BeautyMNL, they ask you (usually when you open the website) to enter your email addresses to receive emails from them. I do admit these emails can get annoying sometimes especially when they flood your inbox, but a lot of their content informs you of new releases and restocks. Creating an account also allows you to sometimes get a head start in sales, especially when you obtain membership.

Read reviews about their service

Several online shops and websites offer a forum-type page wherein previous buyers leave their praises, comments, and complaints about the shop. These kinds of comments range from things like  service, ease of use of the website, shipping and delivery time, and the condition of the products once you receive them. These are more often than not on Facebook, so I highly recommend reading through three or four pages to see how these shops fair.

Similarly, reading reviews from people who've purchased a few products from the site or who have done a haul typically dedicate a short paragraph about their experience. I do these in all my hauls and try to mention the store where I bought it, especially if I had a good experience in dealing with them.

Search for discounts and cash back portals

We all love getting discounts and would go great lengths to get one (clearly my being Asian shows). While discount codes and flash sales are always great, they can be very difficult to come by. Fortunately, there are ways to save money that are more readily available, and the one I'm going to introduce today is ShopBack.

ShopBack is a cash back site that allows you to receive rebates while shopping at your favourite online sites. It has gained fame in countries like Singapore and Malaysia, and I'm very happy that they are now available in the Philippines!

ShopBack homepage with an extensive list of merchants that range from health and beauty, to dining, and even travel!
The way it works is pretty simple - after signing up, simply choose the store where you want to make a purchase. They have an extensive list of partner merchants so you will surely find your favourite store here! All online shops are also verified so you're assured that each of them has been deemed trustworthy. For Lazada and Aliexpress however, don't forget to check reviews to know the reputation of each individual seller.

I'm going to use Sephora as an example. After clicking, you will be redirected to their site where you can shop and purchase as normal.

Using the search bar function as Sephora isn't on the home page!
Click on the 'Shop Now' button to start!

ShopBack will redirect you to the Sephora website!
The cashback gets credited to your ShopBack account 48 hours after purchase (under the 'My Cash Back' tab), and becomes redeemable once the seller validates it. This can take from 30-90 days depending on the store which may seem like a long time, but a little waiting never hurt. Patience is always rewarded, from my experience!

Detailed Cashback information that shows your pending and redeemable rebates, as well as a bonus!
Once redeemable, you can opt to cash this out to your PayPal or directly to your bank account once the amount reaches PHP 300. They even reward bonuses simply for signing up or updating your account details. This just means more savings, and more shopping! Its really great to have a program like ShopBack now available online, as these kinds of cashback options used to only be available for offline shopping.

Wait for online sales

Even for offline shopping, this is a great way to save a lot of money especially when you like a lot of things from certain stores! There is usually a sale for every season (as in spring, summer, fall, and winter) so you are always assured to save your purchases until then.

Some sales coming up that are worth checking out: the Singles Day Sale (11/11) tomorrow, Lazada's Online Revolution, as well as Christmas sales! We don't have Boxing Day sales here in the Philippines, but for those of you who do, take advantage. I heard the biggest discounts are given then and during the Black Friday sale!

Assess online shops at your own discretion / Trust your gut

Sometimes, your gut feeling will be the deciding factor. This is especially true for online sellers. If you don't feel safe placing your order after everything, then maybe its best not to or to hold it off until you're convinced. Its better to be safe than sorry, especially when money is involved!

I hope you guys found this post helpful. If you have some online shopping tips of your own, I would love to hear about them in the comments below!

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