Search, browse, add to cart, and check out – thanks to the convenience and ease of use, over 190 million people in the United States use online shopping sites today. Here are our tips and tricks to find coupons and deals, avoid being ripped-off, and make better buying choices online.

Stay Secure When Shopping

It’s important to only shop from reputable brands on widely-known websites. Look for the “https” in the URL or a padlock icon, which indicates that your information is secure. Ensure you’re using a secure payment system like PayPal or opt to pay on delivery if you prefer not to give your credit card information.

Use Customer Service Chats

Take advantage of online chats with customer service agents on shopping sites to clarify policies, delivery estimates, and current offers.

Become A Crazy Couponer

Search for online coupons on aggregator sites and redeem them at check out to save on your purchase. You might have to spend a few minutes trying a number of different coupon codes to find the best one or the best combination for your cart but the dollars you save over time make it worthwhile. You can also subscribe to mailing lists of your favorite stores to receive exclusive coupon codes and learn about promotions.

Compare Before You Buy

Before making big purchases, read reviews, and make use of comparison tools on shopping sites to figure out which product is the right fit for you. if you’re not in a rush to buy something, take the time to make price comparisons between products and retailers to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Sign up on sites like CamelCamelCamel to see the price history of a product you’re interested in and receive alerts when the price drops.

Another simple way to compare prices is to run a Google search for a product you want to buy. Open the shopping tab to view listings for that product across all stores on the internet.

Subscribe To Membership Sites

Subscribing to membership programs like Amazon Prime will give you exclusive shopping perks at a yearly fee. If a lot of your shopping falls into a particular category, signing up for a niche-specific membership website might be a good idea.

Check Return Policies For Online Purchases

Online returns and exchange policies vary depending on the store. Some might charge you for shipping, some might require you to self-ship products, while yet others might not accept returns on certain items like lingerie. Usually, this information can be found on the product page itself.

If you want to return something you bought online, you will first need to create a return request within a certain amount of days. Once confirmed, the company will either pick up the product or send you a shipping label that you must attach to the package and ship it back via UPS, FedEx, or the post office. You will typically be informed once the package reaches the warehouse or retailer. Some retailers even allow you to return an item to one of their brick-and-mortar stores, just as you can pick up an online order in the store to avoid paying shipping costs.