Whether you want a movie on DVD, a new vacuum cleaner, a replacement water heater or an Apple iPad2, your first inclination may be to run down to your local store and buy one. But taking this approach can lead you to miss out on savings you’d get by prepaying for the item online.
As I mentioned in a previous post, you can get cash back for transactions you conduct with many major retailers by starting your shopping at the Ebates website. By going to Ebates and purchasing your item online, you can get the cash back and still pick up the item at your local store. For example, this week I had to buy a new water heater. I went through Ebates to access the Lowe’s website, then purchased the item and elected “store pickup” at checkout. By doing so, I got $7.29 back that I wouldn’t have received if I’d simply driven to Lowe’s and bought the item off the shelf. If I’d preferred to earn miles for my purchase instead, I could have used the Delta Skymiles Shopping or a similar website to complete the same purchase.
Lowe’s isn’t the only company allowing you to buy items online and pick them up in the store the same day. You can also do this at Home Depot, AutoZone, ToysRUs, Finish Line, J&R and Walmart. Sears promises to have your item ready for you within five minutes. Best Buy says your order may be ready within 45 minutes. When possible, order early in the day or the night before you want to get the item so you can minimize your waiting time at the store.
Most stores send you an email confirmation of your purchase that you take with you when picking up the item, and they may send an additional email to tell you when the item is ready for pickup. Have your driver’s license handy in case the store wants to confirm your identity. Some websites give you the option of specifying other people who are authorized to pick up your order for you.
In addition to the cash back or frequent flyer miles you can earn for shopping online, you may also be able to apply Web-only discount coupons to your order.