Ever heard of shopping cart abandonment? I’m not talking about leaving your cart in Target and running out of the store with a screaming toddler. Been there, done that. If you’ve read through some of the content on this site, you may remember me suggesting here and there that you abandon your shopping cart when you’re online shopping. But, this time I want to be direct and give you all the reasons why you must, as well as tell you the other ways you can game the online shopping world and come out a deal winner.
Dynamic Pricing and Online Shopping
You have to know about dynamic pricing if you shop frequently online. If you haven’t heard by now, dynamic pricing describes the way e-commerce sites assign prices to items not based on the old-school way—supply and demand—but by each individual shopper and what they can find out, specifically, about you.
Which, by the way, is pretty much everything.
Some eCommerce companies charge prices based on your zip code and personal online shopping and browsing activity. For example, the price of the same airline ticket may be more for you than it is for me based on where you live and your flight history (and other unknown factors), or vice-versa.
That could be good or bad, but the point is, just because you think you’re getting a good deal doesn’t mean your BFF isn’t getting an even better one.
Fortunately, you can circumvent dynamic pricing schemes with a few tricks….
1. Use a different internet browser to escape tracking cookies.
Ever heard of tracking cookies? In spite of the cute name, they are anything but cute.
Whenever you click the “allow” pop-up as you enter a website, you give that website permission to put cookies on your browser. They can legally track you through these cookies and follow you wherever you go on their site and after you leave.
If they can identify you, and know where you’ve been, they can give you a price they think you’ll pay. And chances are, they’re right.
Here’s the workaround: Use one browser to scope out the products you want online, and use a separate browser if and when you want to buy that product.
Not sure which browsers to use? Download at least two of these:
2. Search in incognito or private mode and get more promo codes.
You know those little email sign-ups that pop up right when you land on an ecommerce site? It kind of feels like a first date leaning in for a kiss the minute you say hello. I usually make them go away in annoyance, but, once I decide I want to commit, I wish they’d come back.
The pop-ups, I mean.
To get those promo code pop-ups back, go into your preferred browser’s private browsing mode. Here’s a list of each major browser’s version of private browsing:
- Incognito mode with Chrome
- Private Browsing with Safari
- Browse InPrivate with Microsoft Edge
- Private Browsing with Mozilla Firefox
- Private mode with Opera
You’ll visit the site and it’s like you’re meeting again for the first time. Once you see that pop-up, you can opt in with your dummy email account (more on that next!) and get that promo code for your shopping cart.
3. To get a promo code without giving away your email address, sign up for a 10 Minute Mail.
I pretty much always advise you to sign up for emails from brands or retailers, as they all tend to offer special promos or coupons if you send them your data. But, rather than giving away your email address and opening yourself up to a spammy existence, use 10MinuteMail.com. This gives you an anonymous email address you can use for…you know how long.
4. Clear your cookies before shopping.
Cookies are really useful if you don’t want to constantly re-enter passwords and usernames, so they aren’t all bad. But you want to clear them before you shop, so the websites you land on can’t read through the list of all the sites you’ve been on and decide for you what you can afford.
Clearing cookies is different for each browser, but by clearing your cookies (and preferably viewing in a new browser in incognito mode), you may find a better price.
5. Abandon your shopping cart and get a better deal later.
Here is where you skip tips one to four and game the system a little. I’ve abandoned so many online shopping carts before purchasing only to find an email with a coupon offer in my inbox soon after. Of course, it’s because I’ve signed in to my account and/or handed over my email.
To test it out, add items to your cart (again, you have to be signed in) and don’t check out. Just bounce.
Within a few days, you’ll receive an email to get you to complete your purchase with a discount code or coupon inside.
Here are some retailers that give you promo codes when you abandon your shopping cart:
- West Elm
- Kate Spade
- Everyday Minerals
- World Market
- Dick’s Sporting Goods
6. Use a different zip code when they ask for it.
Ever land on a website and have them ask if they can access your GPS? I always click “Block” or “Don’t Allow.”
While they try to spin it as “Set your local store for correct inventory,” I see it as; “Tell us where you live so we can charge you more.” If you live in or near to a well-to-do area (i.e., an area with a high median income), this could mean higher prices for you.
If you do live in an affluent location, try changing up your zip code to see what prices you get.
7. Use Milled so you can stalk all the brands’ email offers without giving up your data.
Milled keeps track of subscriber emails and deals from big e-commerce brands. If you’ve been reading KCL for a while, you know we usually recommend readers sign up for email promos and those tend to be the best. But…
Rather than signing up for Sephora’s email list, for example, go on Milled and search for Sephora to check out their latest email newsletter and zoom in on any promo codes.
I went on in September of 2020 and saw an offer for a free trial-sized Bobbi Brown eye base if I used promo code EYEBASE. I can use that on Sephora.com without having to sign up for emails.
Don’t scroll up — I’ve got your links right here: