Whether you’re buying a last minute birthday gift, getting an early start on your Christmas shopping or just treating yourself to some retail therapy, here are some tips on How to become an intelligent shopper.
1. Returns Policies
It may sound obvious, but when out shopping, remember to ask the cashier or sales assistant what their returns policy is. Returns policies vary from store to store, and it is becoming more common for stores to only offer an exchange or credit note instead of a full refund.
Tip: When buying an item in the sales, ask the sales assistant what the returns policy is for sale items. Some retailers only offer an exchange or credit note on sale items. And if they’ve been discounted due to being soiled or damaged, it’s likely they’re non-refundable.
2. Online Returns Policies
Don’t forget when shopping online to check the retailer’s returns policy too! You may have to pay the postage cost when sending items back. If you’re aware of this beforehand it may help you make decisions when buying online. Retailers may offer you the option to return your online purchase to your local store.
3. Keep hold of your receipts
If you need to return any items, having your receipt will make this process easier. If you have a habit of losing receipts, consider paying for your items by card. The retailer may accept a credit card or bank statement as a proof of purchase.
Tip: If you often lose receipts, why not keep receipts in a small folder at home so they’re always to hand?
4. Are you treating yourself to new clothes? Try before you buy!
If you plan on buying clothes or shoes when you hit the high street, make sure you give yourself enough time to try them on. Sizes can vary between different retailers and you can avoid a return journey by seeing if clothes or shoes fit before you buy them.
Tip: Don’t trust the size on the hanger, check the size label too. And always check that the shoes you have picked are the same size and are a proper pair!
5. Do you know what you’re looking for?
If you’re heading to the high street with a shopping list, why not go online and do a price comparison first? This way you can see which retailer is offering the best deal.
If you’ve seen something on the retailer’s website but you can’t find it in their store, ask a sales assistant to point you in the right direction. You may have simply walked past it without noticing! Remember some items could be exclusive to their website so you may be unable to purchase them in store.
6. Are you in urgent need of an item?
Need a new handbag? Split your favourite jeans? Or need to buy a last minute birthday present? If you’ve seen what you want online, call your local store and see if they have it in stock. The shop could reserve it for you and you could pick up the item at a time that suits you. This also saves time waiting for that online purchase to be delivered.
7. Are you an unsure shopper?
If you don’t know what you are looking for, just ask. Sales assistants are trained to know about the products the retailer offers, so they’re the best people to advise you.
8. Thought about click and collect?
Worried about not being home when your package is delivered? Or perhaps you don’t want it being left with a neighbour? Many retailers now offer the option to click and collect, you can order the items you want online and then collect them from your local store at your own convenience. Leaving you without the hassle of missing your delivery or disturbing your neighbours!
9. Buying Christmas presents or gifts?
Often shops can issue a gift receipt that doesn’t show the price of the item. For example, this is particularly handy if you’ve bought an item of clothing as a gift for someone, and it doesn’t quite fit them or they’d prefer a different style. Gift receipts allow them to return the item without knowing the amount paid for the gift.
Don’t forget: Unless the item is faulty you’re only usually offered an exchange with a gift receipt and they‘re most likely to be time-limited.