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3 Smart Ways to Increase Your Savings When Shopping Online

3 Smart Ways to Increase Your Savings When Shopping Online

Researchers now predict that in US alone, over $ 523 billion will be used on online shopping (total sales) annually by 2020, representing a 56% increase from the $335 billion recorded in 2015.[1] This is an era when online shopping is gradually becoming the norm and increasingly replacing the traditional form of store-based shopping. Unfortunately, an increase of online shopping is simultaneously prompting the increase of random purchases. The budgeting process is gradually losing its effect on modern shopping, and most people often remember a budget limit after making an online purchase. It used to take time, effort, and careful planning for people to buy even the most basic of their products and services, thus reducing the expenditure to a level that can be matched by income generation. Spending time before making a purchase often increased consideration of ways to increase savings and helped avoid unnecessary expenses.

Today unfortunately, similar goods and services not only lack the physical comparison with competing alternatives, but they can also be purchased with a single click. The immediacy of making a purchase omits careful consideration and budgeting. Today, almost anything is available within an instant, and the only possible delay is when it is being shipped from and to any global jurisdiction.

Without budgeting, contemporary online purchases are characterized by:

  1. Excessive expenditure/spending
  2. Absence of comparative review of competing products/services
  3. Short-term considerations of otherwise temporal needs
  4. Increment of instantaneous needs
  5. Lack of adequate appraisal of product/service features in comparison to need
  6. Lack of financial foresight to increase savings for every purchase

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    The biggest loss experienced from modern online shopping, therefore, is the savings account where, without reliable budgeting, expenditure can and often does outweigh the income. If the World Wide Web is only starting what will be its phenomenal and greatest growth phase, then it is only wise to advance your consumption behaviors and tendencies.[2] The article purposed to reviews the three most essential strategies, all synthesized from a comprehensive critical review of contemporary literature, and backed by numerous scientific and empirically credible research studies conducted by highly-esteemed scholars and researchers. As such, using the three strategic steps below, generated by based recent empirical research studies across the globe, can nonetheless help you increase your savings even when shopping online.

    3 Research-Based Initiatives to Increase Savings during Online Shopping

    1. Exploiting Cost-Saving Avenues

    Economic professors from London and Washington DC conducted a study in London posing the question of how “consumers save” during shopping, as part of the “consumer shopping behavior” (Griffith et al., 2009, p. 99). In the study, as published by the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Griffith, Leibtag, Leicester, and Nevo (2009) observed how little modern consumers consider ways to save when shopping, such that the “potential and actual savings” is often decimal (p. 100). The study highlighted ways in which modern consumers can and should save on their shopping cost, including:

    • Strategically determining when to buy and how much to buy to save overall costs
    • Buying products in bulk, which provides lower price per unit bought
    • Purchasing outlets that reduce transport costs
    • Exploiting seasonal quantity discounts for specific services of products
    • Watching out for temporary price reductions, particularly among companies that offer reward programs for their customers

    These same findings accrue in online shopping and can therefore help you acquire significant savings. For example, you can opt to purchase a service/product using coupons and promotion codes, which reduces your checkout costs. Other opportunities to increase savings during online shopping includes exploiting free shipping offers, although it is important to determine the credibility of such offers, but the use of cost savings avenues has been established by many other empirical studies. Example of studies include Deaton (1998) on “getting the price right” (p. 37), Seock and Norton (2007) on “channel choices for purchasing: (p. 571), Katawetawaraks and Wang (2011) on influences of “online shopping decision” (p. 66), Rudansky-Kloppers (2014) on “factors influencing customer online buying” (p. 1187), and Yu and Wu (2007), on the “determinants of internet shopping behavior” (p. 744). All these empirical studies agree that using strategic measures/avenues to save cost while purchasing online can aggregate to immense savings for you every time you shop online.

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    2. Overcoming Behavioral Uncertainty

    A research study published in the first issue of the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising applied the Transaction Cost Economics theory to analyze the shopping behavior of Chinese consumers. The study was commissioned by the School of Business in the National University of Singapore. Following the study, Teo, Wang, and Leong (2004), concluded that, consumers’ online shopping behavior is characterized by six unique and distinctive antecedents, among which were:

    • Convenience (to be explored hereafter as studied in India by Ganapathi in 2015)
    • Economic utility of product/service consequent of short-term considerations when purchasing otherwise temporal needs (as explained in the introduction above)
    • Product uncertainty due to the absence of comparative review of competing products/services as well as increment of instantaneous needs (as explained in the introduction above)
    • Behavioral uncertainty among consumers (important for the present discussion)

    With over 198 million consumers in the US shopping online in the first three months of 2014, online shopping is slowly becoming the only way people shop globally.[3] Teo, Wang, and Leong (2004) established that, based on the theory of Transaction Cost Economics, online shopping triggered behavioral uncertainty among the Chinese consumers since purchasing decisions were not organized, strategically predictive, or justified by valuation. Rather, the decisions were based on momentary appeal of the products/services being offered. It is therefore critically essential that all your online purchases are deliberate, strategic, value-based, and are strategically founded on the economic utility of whatever you purchase. Only then will you aggregate the occasional, yet avoidable, whims of purchases into considerable savings.

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      3. Avoiding Self-Serving Convenience and Random Purchases

      The digital age has come with an outstanding level of laziness and passiveness among consumers. Focusing on Indian consumers in Chennai, Ganapathi (2015) recently investigated how consumers in Chennai city behave during online shopping. Importantly, the Assistance Professor identified the factors that significantly influence these shoppers’ behaviors. According to the study, regression analysis indicates a significant relation between online shopping behavior and convenience, where the little purchasing decisions are often pegged on what is most convenient for the consumer.

      The findings reported by Ganapathi (2015) concur with those reported by other scholars and researchers across the globe, including Teo, Wang, and Leong (2004) in China, Rudansky-Kloppers, S. (2014) in South Africa, Andrew and Vanitha (2004) in the USA, as well as Bulter and Peppard (1998) in the UK, among many others. As such, the first step to increase your savings is to ensure that your purchases are shaped by what you need, and the best available for their price range, and not what is more convenient to you. After all, you will never be obligated to shop for anything, at any time, and at any online shop. It is your personal and deliberate decision to shop.

      In conclusion, the aforementioned article has highlighted online shopping can easily lack the physical comparison of products/services with competing alternatives, omit critical budgeting, and lead to excessive wastage of resources. The lack of budgeting in contemporary online purchases is characterized by excessive expenditure/spending, absence of comparative review of competing products/services, short-term considerations of otherwise temporal needs, increment of instantaneous needs, lack of adequate appraisal of product/service features in comparison to need, and lack of financial foresight to increase savings for every purchase.

      The article has provided a comprehensive critical review of contemporary literature, punctuated by numerous empirical studies from almost every continent on the globe.

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      As such, based on the foregoing review on saving costs during online shopping, you will be better advised to:

      (a) exploit available cost-saving avenues

      (b) overcome negative behavioral uncertainty, and

      (c) avoid self-serving convenience and random purchases.

      Only then, will your expenditure leave an adequate gap in your income, to generate significant savings.

      Featured photo credit: Freepik via Freepik.com

      Reference

      [1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-wolfson/from-halloween-to-amazon-_b_12628616.html
      [2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/walterloeb/2016/08/09/the-future-of-retailing-the-revolution-to-technology-is-now/#250a091d383e
      [3] http://www.businessinsider.com/the-surprising-demographics-of-who-shops-online-and-on-mobile-2014-6

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      Last Updated on October 16, 2019

      11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

      11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

      Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

      Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

      Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

      In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

      1. ScheduleOnce

        ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

        ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

        ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

        Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

        Available on Web

        2. Calendly

          Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

          You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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          Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

          3. Assistant.to

            For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

            From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

            While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

            Available on Web

            4. Acuityscheduling

              Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

              It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

              Available on Web | iOS | Android

              5. Pick

                Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                Available on Web

                6. X.ai

                  For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                  This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                  Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                  Available on Web

                  7. YouCanBook.me

                    is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                    They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                    Available on Web

                    8. Doodle

                      Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                      It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                      You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                      While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                      Available on Web | iOS | Android

                      9. WhenAvailable

                        WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                        Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                        Available on Web

                        10. Rally

                          Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                          Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                          Available on Web

                          11. NeedtoMeet

                            Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                            NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                            While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                            Available on Web

                            Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                            In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                            To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                            Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                            A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                            Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                            If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                            Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                            With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                            The Bottom Line

                            Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                            Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                            Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                            Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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