How to get discounts from almost any online retailer

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You may have noticed how that cute-ish dress you’ve had your eyes (or should I say mouse) on started popping out in web banners or even the Facebook’s newsfeed.

Retargeting or behavioural marketing is more of a fancy way to describe the tactic of showing ads to people who visited a website. Online shop owners can use Google’s and Facebook’s advertising programs to create real time banner ads with products you may consider buying.

From a more techie point of view this is accomplished using little files in your browser called cookies. They are created when you visit a website and are mostly used to store information about your visit. It’s basically a short-term memory each website stores on your computer to remember your last actions and settings. 

This is why when you return to website’s you have logged in recently you don’t need to re-enter your username and password. 

 
Information in those files can also be shared between websites allowing Facebook for example to know you have visited an online shop and display a personalized ad.

In an effort to stay somewhat relevant to their customers, ecommerce marketing managers around the world have started using retargeting to advertise dozens and dozens of products around the web. 

All of the banners have just one goal: To make you come back and finally buy one of those products. But this happens seldomly. Most of the times the reason you are not buying something is because you don’t like it, not because you forgot them in a virtually sewed shopping bag.

Most of the times you want to buy something, you know, you just do it. But ecommerce companies are ignoring exactly these customers and offer discounts through their banners only to those who don’t finish checking out. There’s nothing more disappointing (at least regarding online shopping) than having a friend tell you about that great discount that she got for the same product you bought full price just yesterday. 

You can trick online shops by acting like an uninterested customer and benefit from the discounts by following this steps:

  1. Go to the online shop and add the products you want to buy in the shopping bag
  2. Start the check-out process but don’t enter your billing details.
  3. Open another tab and visit a website like http://whoisretargeting.me that displays ads from companies who are retargeting you.
  4. Refresh the page until you see the ads for the products you’ve just decided to buy.
  5. Click the banner ad that will take you back to the shop and benefit from the discount by purchasing the products.

Not every company is yet using retargeting in their marketing campaigns, as this practice is pretty new even to established online shops. If they don’t use retargeting they are likely to offer discounts or free shipping when you sign up for their newsletters or become a Facebook fan or Twitter follower.

Even though it seems marketing’s job is to overly promote products we don’t need or want (at least not right now) some of their tactics can actually work for us. In their goal to persuade us to buy more, we respond by buying exactly what we want, but cheaper.

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