Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How Using Coupon Codes Can Save You Real Money


Frequent online shoppers already know about many of the benefits of choosing Internet merchants over physical stores. Shopping online is like being alone in one's favorite store. There are no loud, pushy shoppers or crying babies to ruin the experience. There are no apathetic clerks who are more interested in up-selling than in helping customers find and purchase the things they actually want. A company's website is not limited by the size of a storefront. Every item that the company is capable of shipping will be listed on the site. 

Shopping Perks

Another perk of shopping online is the coupon codes that are emailed to frequent customers. These codes provide substantial savings. Many retailers send out codes offering 20% discounts on a near-weekly basis. It is not unusual for the codes to be worth up to 35% off retail price in the weeks approaching Christmas. The codes cannot be used in stores, so people have to visit the websites in order to take advantage of the savings.

Coupon codes are presented as rewards for making recent purchases, but savvy shoppers understand that they are incentives to shop more often. The codes are only active for a few days, encouraging impulse shopping. Even though most customers eventually figure out that they will receive new codes every few days, they feel compelled to buy items while they are in stock.

This is especially true when it comes to clothing retailers. If a customer recognizes that clothes in certain items or colors will sell out soon, she will rush to buy them with her new discount code. Online stores charge relatively steep shipping fees that mysteriously disappear once a certain total amount has been reached; this number is usually $50 for mass retailers. The discount provided by the coupon code will be absorbed by the shipping costs unless the shopper makes a $50 purchase. Items are carefully priced so that the total cost will either be just under $50 or, with the addition of another item, well over that amount.

The Downside

The codes sometimes have other strings attached as well. Discounts may not apply to items that are already on sale. Sometimes the codes can only be used on certain collections or categories of items. Even with all of these caveats considered, coupon codes still result in large savings. A customer who is smart about making occasional bulk purchases and who is able to resist the temptation to shop impulsively will be able to save a lot of money, especially if she waits until Christmas or buys last season's discounted fashions. 
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