Online Shopping Hacks

Be it scrolling through the latest blogshop collections while on the MRT or hunting for online deals while tucked snug in bed, online shopping has become the preferred way for most Singaporean Millennials to shop.

Yet despite the ease of shopping on-the-go, you’ve probably begrudgingly unchecked items from your shopping cart more than once. Maybe it’s because you’ve realised you’ve busted your shopping budget or how expensive shipping costs are.

But if you don’t want to wait for annual sales like Black Friday for steals, here’s a list of online shopping hacks you can use to score deals like a shopping pro—all year round.

1. Leave your items in your shopping cart for a couple of days

Usually, while we agonise over whether we really need another pair of heels or a new dress, we’ll leave the items in our shopping cart.

This is actually a good habit because sometimes, some companies such as ZALORA, Kate Spade and Levi’s will drop you a special discount code to encourage you to checkout your cart.

Just make sure you’re a registered user, are logged-in and subscribed to their mailing list.

2. Hunt down online stores which offer free shipping to Singapore

Save up to S$50 when you shop at stores which provide free shipping to Singapore. Popular online retail stores which do this include ZALORA, Shopbop, ASOS, Tobi, Revolve Clothing, Perk By Kate, IUIGA, Colourpop and Amazon Prime Now.

3. Use online shopping apps for discounts and cashbacks

Google for discount codes on pages such as CupoNation and Picodi for the best online discount codes. But if you’re short on time, use web browser add-on Honey which will automatically apply the best coupon code available upon checkout.

Cashback apps like Deja also offer rebates for chain stores such as H&M, The Editor’s Market and Forever21, as long as you scan the receipt within a week.

4. Make full use of your credit card

If you have a credit card, make full use of your credit card’s rebate system. Using sites such as SingSaver, find credit cards with the best cashback rates.

This is super useful especially if you’re constantly buying small online purchases. If you make repeated purchases using OCBC’s Frank Card (6% cashback) or the DBS Live Fresh Card (5% cashback), the monthly cashback savings of up to S$60 add up and go a long way.

5. Shop in foreign currency instead of SGD

For international brands like ASOS, Forever 21, and H&M, you can choose to pay in different currencies. Depending on the conversion rates, paying in foreign currency rather than in Singaporean dollars could be up to 20% cheaper.

But note the conversion rates depend on your credit card provider, and you’ll be charged a foreign conversion fee.

For those living overseas or on their Uni student exchange, your best bet is the CIMB Visa Signature Card for a 10% cashback when online shopping in foreign currencies.

6. Buy during your birthday month (or your friend’s birthday month)

If you have a shopping account with your favourite online website, make sure you indicate your date of birth in your contact information.

Usually, brands offer a special discount coupon code during your birthday period, which can include free shipping or stackable discount codes.

For instance, Shopee gives you S$5 off your orders (minimum spend of S$10), American Eagle gives you a 15% birthday coupon, and Sephora gives its members twice the amount of bonus points per purchase, which can be redeemed for bigger discounts.

If you must check out your cart now, ask friends whose birthdays are coming up to sign up for the store’s mailing list. Increasing your total checkout spend will probably also give you further discounts.

7. Shop on incognito tabs

When shopping online, use an incognito tab to enable private browsing. Some websites such as Amazon, Expedia, and sometimes practice price discrimination.

This means if you keep returning and looking at the same dress, the site is likely to offer you a higher price.

Prevent this by shopping incognito, blocking third-party cookies and frequently deleting cookies from your browser.

8. If something exists, it’s probably available on Taobao

If you’re a Singaporean Millennial, you probably know this sacred online shopping rule: If something exists in stores, it probably exists on Taobao.

While most go to Taobao to score deals like statement earrings from S$1.84, you can also use the Taobao picture search function to find an inspired version of a runway item for less.

Otherwise, shop on other similar online shopping websites like Qoo10 and look out for any discount codes and promotions which will give you more savings than Taobao.

For example, if you sign up with the OCBC 365 credit card, you’ll be given S$120 in Qoo10 coupons to spend and five chances to win S$200 Qoo10 e-gift cards so you can shop even more.

9. Stalk a store’s online reviews so you don’t have to re-order a size

As cliche as it sounds, read online shop reviews. Reviews reveal everything you need to know about the retail site and possible sizing or clothing problems you might encounter.

For example, if your shoes are from China, you should get one size bigger as shoe sizes usually run smaller. Most of the time, only established labels such as Topshop and ZARA follow the EU/US/UK sizing.

And if the review page is flooded with comments like, “My parcel never came……”, just close the browser.

Tip: It will be far more accurate if you can choose a size based on the insole measurement.

10. Get new customer discount codes using different email addresses

Several online shopping sites offer discounts for first time users, e.g. iHerb and most Singapore blogshops.

Create different email accounts to use the codes more than once. For maximum productivity, send all newsletters to one email and fashion advertorials to another to keep spam away from your main work account.

11. Wait for Friday for discounts

In general, most online stores restock their items, give out discounts and have clearance sales on the last working day of the week, so keep checking back on your fav stores.

Most websites have a ‘Save for later’ or ‘Wishlist’ button, so use these functions to track the items you want to buy. And when the item goes on sale, check it out immediately!

12. Use online websites and apps to track discounts

But if you can’t wait for the weekend or don’t have the time to constantly stalk websites, use Here Got Sale to stalk the latest warehouse and online sales.

Shoptagr is another useful app which will keep track of your favourite items and notify you if they’re sold at a discounted price.

13. Try third party postal services

If the product you want doesn’t ship to Singapore, try Vpost, a third party logistics service which brings items from selected USA, Europe, China and Japan merchant websites to your doorstep.

Rather than pay exorbitant markups for hard-to-find products at speciality stores, you can also use AirFrov and get travellers returning from overseas to pick up your items and deliver them to you.

14. Wait for flash sales on travel websites to book your next holiday

In the past five years, the prices of airplane tickets have become increasingly competitive. Use online websites like Skyscanner to find the lowest price or wait for online sales before you plan your next trip.

For example, Scoot has a flash sale every Tuesday, with flights starting as cheap as S$70 before flight taxes. That’s like two cab rides from Bukit Batok to Boon Keng.

Bonus hack:

15. See how you’d look in clothes on online apps before purchase

Buying clothes online is a gamble because you’ll never know if the clothes fit you until they arrive. One way to avoid this is to build virtual wardrobes with apps like Metail.

By keying your physical measurements, the app builds an online ‘you’ which can try on clothes from participating retailers before purchase.

Alternatively, you can use Pinterest’s scanner function to show you similar pics of clothes you want to buy to see how they’d look on a human body.

If you prefer to physically try on your clothes, use Try, an app where retailers will send you your selected apparel like a normal order, but you get to return whatever you don’t want to keep.

Shopping Smart Online

At the end of the day, online shopping is about shopping smart. Hopefully, with these online shopping hacks, you won’t have to ‘eat grass for a week’ the next time you shop online.

Cover image: Source

This post was kindly sponsored by SingSaver.