The sneaky way to earn online shopping discounts

Playing hard-to-get with online shopping sites can earn you more coupons.

Mar 3, 2020, 12:40 am*

Internet Culture

Lauren Rae Orsini 

Lauren Rae Orsini

You can get discounts from some online retailers just by walking away from them.

If the shop notices you’ve abandoned your shopping cart during the checkout process, they may send you an email—coupon included—to encourage you to finish up.

It may be passive-aggressive, but shoppers looking for the best deals don’t seem to mind. According to Reuters, Land’s End, Best Buy, Home Depot and Zappos are just some of the online retailers who use the coupon method to lure distracted shoppers back to their carts.

“The top retailers are all doing it,” Megan Ouellet, director of marketing for Listrak, told Reuters.

Sometimes, shopping cart abandonment is unintentional—shoppers get sidetracked, pulled away from the computer, or just conflicted about the final fee. But as the coupon practice grows in popularity, people are starting to deliberately abandon carts.

Over at Reddit’s r/frugal, a subreddit dedicated to saving and scrimping, redditors are making a master list of retailers who practice cart abandonment incentives, including Hanes, Overstock, Proflowers, and Newegg.

Redditor JohnTesh, who identified himself as an online retailer, reminded others the technique comes with certain limits:

“Almost all of us do this, but remember you have to get far enough into checkout to log in or enter your email address for it to work,” he wrote. “Also, many of us analyze profitability of the coupons per customer over time, do don’t be surprised if it works sometimes and not other times, or if the offers change. We try to figure out the most profitable thing that motivates you then offer you that.”

This advice comes just in time for the holiday season, when more online shoppers than ever are looking for deals. It’s just one more way to get your family and friends what they want without breaking the bank.

Photo by Eric Schmuttenmaer/Flickr

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*First Published: Nov 16, 2012, 2:39 pm