Make online shopping easier, more fun and more rewarding with these tips and tricks

You may think you’re an online shopping virtuoso how to utilize credit cards with the best rewards for shopping? Take a look at the tricks below to see if you’ve really mastered the art of shopping online without paying shipping charges or standing in line at the post office to return a late-night impulse buy.

Save on Shipping

Veteran online shoppers rarely pay full price for shipping. Many major retailers offer free shipping and returns. Free returns make it easier and less expensive to purchase something you’re not 100% sure about. If it doesn’t fit, you can pop it back in the mail with the enclosed return label. The following major brands offer free shipping and free returns with no minimum purchase:

  • Topshop
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Kate Spade
  • Nordstrom
  • Piperlime
  • Zappos
  • Shopbop
  • ASOS (also offers a 10% student discount with valid university email address)

 Popular department store Macy’s offers free shipping on any purchase over $100 and free online ordering for in-store pickup without any minimums. Also many major clothing retailers including J.Crew, Gap and Zara allow customers to return items bought online in-store, saving you money on return shipping.

One of the most popular programs for “free” shipping is Amazon Prime. It costs $100 a year, but shoppers who frequently buy from the retail giant will come out far ahead in the end. Prime membership includes unlimited free two-day shipping, access to streaming music, TV and movies and monthly free Kindle downloads. Even without a Prime membership Amazon offers free returns on some seasonal purchases and Discover cardmembers have the opportunity to apply their Cashback Bonus to any purchase on Amazon.com.

Faster Customer Service

Have an issue or a question about an online purchase? There are many alternatives to wasting time on hold. Most major retailers have a Live Chat function that allows you to open a dialogue box on the page and send messages to a representative. In most cases the response is much faster than calling, and you can continue on with other tasks on your computer instead of sitting on hold.

Social media is also a powerful tool to get help quickly. Tweet or post on Facebook and tag the brand. The majority of major brands have constant social monitoring in place and a question about a purchase or a complaint is likely to be answered promptly.

If you do have to call customer service, visit Get Human first. This incredibly helpful site gives you the best corporate phone number and provides tips on how to hack the system to talk with an actual human fastest.

Earn More Rewards

Mobile-based apps are providing a new way for shoppers to connect online and offline experiences and earn more rewards. Shopkick is a mobile app that offers free gift cards just for walking through the doors of your favorite store. You can browse items from popular stores online and search for promotions. Then you turn on the app before walking into the store and you earn rewards points for being there, scanning items and making purchases. Points can be redeemed for gift cards at retailers such as Target, Macy’s, Best Buy, JCPenney, Sports Authority and Crate & Barrel.

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Create A Personalized Shopping Experience

There are several digital tools you can use to shop smarter online. Signing up for every brand’s newsletter will overwhelm your email inbox and can lead to entirely too many impulse purchases. Set a filter in your email account to send all brand emails to a separate folder (see instructions for how to do this in Gmail here). Then you can browse the folder when you have a particular shopping objective and a budget in mind.

You can also set up alerts to let you know when a must-have item is back in stock or on sale. Online fashion aggregators Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion will send you an email when an item comes back in stock and Shopbop will alert you when an item on your “wish list” goes on sale. There are also widgets such as Keep that allow you to name your size and color preference and receive an alert when selected high-end items are discounted.

Along with the tricks above here are some additional quick tips to become an Online Shopping Whiz:

  • Before a purchase always do a quick search for coupons and discount codes. Googling coupon codes for specific merchants could help you save instantly on your online purchase.
  • Also take the time to perform a quick search of other sites to research a specific item. The same Nikes you love on Nike.com may be on sale at DiscountSports.com
  • If you have an unusual size (say size 5 or 11 in women’s shoes) always filter searches by size first so you don’t waste time looking at options that won’t fit.
  • Read the fine print of return policies. You can save a lot of money in returns by knowing that return shipping is free, but only for the first 14 days. Also knowing that the brand only accepts returns for in-store credit can curb a flighty spending spree.
  • Carefully consider if you want your favorite sites to store your shopping credit card information. One-click shopping is convenient, but can expose you to additional risk of credit card fraud if the site is hacked.

General Resources:
http://www.refinery29.com/2014/04/65918/online-shopping-tips#slide-1
http://gethuman.com/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shopkick-free-gift-cards-for/id383298204?mt=8
https://www.shopkick.com/tour
https://support.google.com/mail/answer/6579?hl=en

Discover card believes that consumers should be armed with the information they need to help them make informed credit decisions.

Legal Disclaimer: The articles and information provided herein are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice.

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