How to Outsmart Online Retailers From Tricking You Into Expensive Deals?

How many times have you fallen prey to cheap tricks that retailers use for their own benefit? Like raising the base price of the product just to sell at the original price, in the name of “discount”. Or advertising discounted rates on social media just for clicks. Read on to learn about how to outsmart online retailers and beat them at their own game.


How To Outsmart Online Retailers?

How do the bestselling brands have an edge over their competitors? Businesses spend much of their time and resources on finding shopping patterns among customers and try to come up with new techniques to increase sales. And when you’re out shopping with a budget planner in hand, it pays to learn some ways to outsmart online retailers.

Get The Best Deals & Coupons

Do you want to bag exciting discounts and coupons during online shopping? Coupon It Now is a giant hub of best deals and offers from exclusive brands. Use the coupons to maximize your savings and get one step closer to going on that holiday trip you’ve been saving for. We have a huge collection of coupons & deals categories that you can choose from.

Abandon The Cart

This is a maneuver you can use to outsmart online retailers. Add items to your shopping cart and leave the website. Yes, you read it right…leave the cart without paying. 9 chances out of 10 you’ll get an email after a few days from the retailer with a discount code for the items left in your cart. But don’t be a frequent “cart-absconder”. The retailer will recognize your trick and stop giving you discounts.

This trick majorly works with independent online sellers and not the ones merged with selling giants such as Amazon. Moreover, some brands allow users to shop without making an account. To receive emails, make sure that you have a legit account on their website.

Dynamic Pricing

There’s this trick called dynamic pricing which online sellers use to their advantage. Have you ever noticed that the price of your favorite product has somehow gone up when you keep checking on it again and again? This phenomenon is quite common while booking airline tickets.

This change in pricing happens because of your search history. When you visit a website for the first time, it saves your browser’s cookies. With the help of these cookies, the websites can learn about your search history, your preferences, etc. When you visit the website again for the second time, it recognizes you as an old customer (based on your browsing history), and strategically increases the price of that item.

To over-smart the online retailer, you can switch your browser to incognito mode. Browsing incognito (also called private browsing) will not save your search history thereby, letting the website know that you’re a first-time visitor. To open a private window, search for the settings icon on the top right corner of your browser (could be three vertical dots or lines), and select “New Incognito Window”.

Prevention of Price Comparison

We feel satisfied when we buy an item at the best price. If a retailer is not confident to let you freely compare prices of their products, they hide the direct price of the item. 

Few websites use this trick to prevent the buyer from knowing the exact price per unit/pound/kilo. For example, bundling apples and selling them for a certain price makes it hard for you to calculate a single apple’s cost. Another example is LinkedIn’s upgrade to premium. It doesn’t display the cost of each plan unless selected. This makes it difficult to judge which plan is costing how much for the services being provided.

Hidden Costs

This is a very annoying trick that retailers use to hide any additional costs during the process of shopping. For example, you’re buying flowers for someone on an online platform. You are pleased with the flowers you selected for that price. While you proceed to checkout, suddenly the price of the bouquet nearly doubles. How? Because of additional costs like wrapping costs, taxes, etc.

Hidden costs are also in the form of chargeable perks that sellers offer before completing the final payment. For example, when you book an airline ticket, your process is disrupted by offerings such as “in-flight meal packages”, “seat selection charges”, “convenience fees”, etc. 

Most of us continue to checkout because of the time and effort we spent on selecting the item. So beware of this tactic, do a little research before shopping on such sites, and outsmart the online retailer.

The Free Shipping Allure

Some retail websites provide free shipping only for a certain cart value. This results in buying more things than you’d want, and spending more money, just to get free shipping. This is a clever way to make the shopper spend more on the website. And once you buy the product, you’re less likely to return it due to the hassles associated with it.

So to over-smart this trick, you can either plan ahead and shop many items at once (so that you surpass the minimum amount for free shipping), or you can purchase those items when the website rolls out a free shipping promotion.

Pink Tax

The pink tax is the price disparity between products for women and men. According to The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, toys for girls (like dolls, toy houses, etc.) were on an average 2% to 13% more than toys for boys (like toy guns, action figures, etc.), Women’s shampoos are priced about 48% more than men’s, where the only difference was the scent of the shampoo. On average women pay 7% more than men do for almost identical products. So by opting for gender-neutral products, you can outsmart the retailer.

Trouble-Free Online Purchasing

Online retailers are coming up with efficient ways to make the customer’s shopping experience seem like a breeze. Amazon’s 1-Click is one such experience.

The idea that consumers could enter their payment and shipping information just once, and could just order by clicking on a single button every time is so convenient. But the possible intent is to reduce the time taken by the buyer to fill out the repetitive info, thereby eliminating any chances of them having to think over whether to purchase the item or not.

Creating Now or Never Outlook

Have you ever noticed the hype around Flash Sales, stating flat discount off for a limited time? How do we think it’s a now or never opportunity and that we’d never get such a golden chance again? This creates a sense of urgency and scarcity in our minds and the cherry on the cake being the fear of missing out, undoubtedly makes us succumb to the online retailer’s trick.

Even though we don’t need the items on sale right away, the possibility of using them in the future makes us buy those products.

So slow down, take a sip of water and contemplate if the items are sale are really on your shopping list.

Save on This, Spend on More

This is a brilliant trick that retailers use to their advantage. They display the amount saved on the product in big bold numbers. This reinforces the fact that you’ve saved so much on this product, so there’s scope for shopping more. So stick to your shopping list and your budget.

Subscription Tracker

How many of us have entered our credit card details in hopes of checking out that new app for a month for free, and forgetting to unsubscribe within the trial period? We only remember about the subscription when we check our credit card statement and see the silent deductions when the subscription gets renewed. This is a retail gimmick called forced continuity where the information about auto-renewal was hidden or the process of canceling the subscription was difficult.

There are many applications out there that track your subscriptions by detecting any recurring charges from your account. Trim is one such application that helps you manage subscriptions. It sends you a text with the list of active subscriptions, and if you want to discontinue a subscription, just send “Cancel <ServiceProvider>” and voila, your subscription is canceled.

Wrapping Up

As we say, being forewarned is being forearmed, we must be up-to-date with market schemes that play with the consumer’s temperament. According to a Xigen survey report, 23% of users experienced difficulty unsubscribing from a brand’s online service alone. By knowing ways to outsmart online retailers, you can stop being influenced and also save money.


How do retailers keep up with customers?

Ever wondered how the shopping website recommends clothes just on par with your tastes? Retailers learn customers’ likes and needs based on their previous shopping experience.

How do I stop retailers from getting me to overspend?

There are hidden tricks the retailers use to get you to overspend. Follow our ways to outsmart online retailers and beat them at their own game.

What are dark patterns?

Dark patterns are gimmicks used by businesses to compel users into doing things they might not want. Some of the dark patterns are price comparing prevention, and hidden costs, making it difficult for a user to unsubscribe from their subscriptions.

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