Promotional and discount codes for online retailers are easy to find
It's no secret that the internet has revolutionized shopping. Forrester research predicts that online retail will be a $248 billion market by 2014, and just about everybody with something to sell has a web site you can buy it from. Online shopping is convenient, but often doesn't offer much in the way of savings over making local purchases once the cost of shipping is figured in. But through the use of online coupon codes, it's possible to realize significant savings without trading away the convenience of not having to drive to the local shopping mall and hope a store there has the product you want in stock.
How many times have you clicked the "Proceed to checkout" button on a web site and seen a box like the one pictured above? How many times have you ignored it and paid full price?
Retailers use these promotional coupon codes to bring in customers through offers of free shipping, free gifts, and discounts - sometimes significant ones. Often these discount codes are sent out through specific targeted mailing lists (both e-mail and the traditional variety) - shoppers who have purchased from specific product lines, for example, or who are past users of the site being invited back to shop there again after a long absence.
The not so well-kept secret is that often you don't need to be one of the targeted recipients of these codes to use them. In fact, there are a variety of websites with names like RetailMeNot.com and CurrentCodes.com and a host of others whose reason for existence is to track all the latest discount codes.
Whenever I'm making a purchase online and see a place to enter a promotion code, I immediately open a new browser tab and enter a Google search in the form: "[retailer name] coupon code". I'm a big fan of NewEgg.com, the online electronics giant where I've been buying all my computer equipment for years., so I'll use them as an example. The first two results from a search on "newegg coupon codes" are TechBargains.com and RetailMeNot.com pages showing current codes for free shipping, a "Stop Mall Madness" 10% discount, and an assortment of savings on specific products or product categories. I can't apply multiple codes, sadly, but the potential is here for significant savings.
In summary: if the coupon code box is empty when you click "Complete sale", you've done something wrong!