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Money

COVID-19 is driving up prices online – here’s how to save

One of the most radical changes caused by COVID-19 has been the startling increase in online shopping versus buying from brick-and-mortar stores. This change was already well underway pre-pandemic, but like with many cultural trends we took for granted, the sudden lockdown of businesses rapidly accelerated the process.

Since then, online stores have seen their fortunes rise dramatically. Amazon has enjoyed some of its most successful quarters ever, and common items are still regularly out of stock due to high demand. Tap or click here to see how you can find out when the supplies you need are back in stock.

This demand has also accelerated another, less fun trend: increased prices! It’s happening for all kinds of products across the board, but don’t worry, we’ll show you five easy ways you can save money online.

As online shopping goes up, so do the prices

Online shopping in the U.S. spiked during the month of June, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index powered by Adobe Analytics. The report analyzed 1 trillion online visits across 100 million product SKUs, and uncovered some interesting tidbits. For example:

  • A $77 billion increase in online consumer spending over expectations since March 1
  • $73.2 billion total spent shopping online in June alone.
  • Spending is up 76.2% year-over-year
  • Americans spent $368.8 billion shopping online during the first six months of 2020

This has unfortunately led to a price increase on some of the most in-demand items across the board.

  • A 4.2%: increase in grocery costs since the beginning of the year
  • A 6.2%: increase in computer costs since March, which had previously been on a downward trend.
  • A 2.7%: increase in the cost of apparel month-over-month, which is unusual considering how much time everyone is spending indoors.

While these price spikes aren’t good, it doesn’t mean you should shy away from online shopping altogether. Shopping online is still the best way to get the items you need without running the risk of a COVID-19 infection. Tap or click here to see the best surefire ways to protect yourself outside the home.

If you do plan on shopping online in the near future, you can try out these trusty money-saving tricks to keep your wallet full.

1. Save money using the Honey app and extension

Honey is a browser extension and app for Google ChromeFirefoxSafariiOS and Android that automatically scans the web for the best deals and promo codes for the site you’re shopping on. With this extension, you don’t need to do a separate search to find BOGOs or discounts — the app handles everything for you.

You can even track specific items you’re interested in and get alerts when prices drop or rise. It’s a great way to stay on top of the products you love. Tap or click here to find out more about Honey for your browser.

2. Set Google Alerts for the products you care about

Google is constantly scanning pages for indexing, which makes it a great resource for alerts on prices as they fluctuate. To set up a Google Alert for your favorite product, follow these steps below:

  1. Go to the Google Alerts page.
  2. In the box at the top, enter a topic you’re interested in following.
  3. To change your settings, click Show options. You can change the following settings:
    • How often you’ll get notifications
    • what types of websites you’ll see
    • Your language
    • Where in the world you want the information to come from
    • How many results you’d like to see
    • What accounts will get the alert
  4. Click Create Alert. You’ll get emails whenever Google finds matching search results that fit your topic.

Once your alert is set up, you’ll get regular email updates about the topic, including deals, price changes and more.

3. Compare your carts side-by-side across different services

Comparison shopping involves picking out the same items on two different platforms and seeing if the final total is different between them. Because service fees and taxes can vary so widely between merchants, it’s always a good idea to try this out to see if you can save some extra money here and there.

Plus, you’ll also get an idea of which services are worth keeping or not. If you find, for example, that Amazon is regularly charging you more for groceries over Walmart, it might be in your best interest to make the switch in the long run.

Tap or click here to see how Walmart’s new service might give Amazon a run for its money.

4. Defeat dynamic pricing with this easy trick

Not all prices are what you’d call “static,” or unchanging. Some websites rely on what’s called “dynamic pricing,” which shows you a price based on factors calculated at that moment. If you were to visit the site, say, in another browser, you might find that it’s lower or higher than before.

This is because sites that employ dynamic pricing rely on cookies to remember their visitors. In your case, you can override dynamic pricing just by copying the URL of the item you’re trying to buy and opening a private browsing window like Incognito Mode on Chrome.

Private browsing modes don’t use the cookies that your normal windows do, which means you’ll have a fresh set of eyes on the item you want.

5. Sign up for newsletters or follow your favorite brands on social media

Of course, it’s always a good idea to take advantage of coupons and promotions from brands and manufacturers themselves. And thanks to social media, getting in touch with them is easier than ever.

If you visit your favorite brand’s profile, you’ll not only find the option to follow them and get up-to-date information on sales and other deals, you’ll also get links to their official website where you can sign up for newsletters and mailing lists. It’s a great way to stay current with products you’re passionate about.

And, of course, you can also subscribe to our newsletters here at Komando.com, We regularly feature must-have deals on items ranging from home products to high-tech gadgets, and can help you save money as you navigate this digital ecosystem. Tap or click here to subscribe to Komando.com’s daily newsletters.

As you can see, you don’t have to shop less as prices go up. You just have to shop smart.

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