IT’S a supermarket’s job to make money. That’s why they use sneaky tactics to get you to pay more for your online shopping.
Often the untrained eye will miss these tricks – but as Britain's Coupon Kid, I have years of experience of spotting these shopping ploys.
It can be simple things such as hiking up the price of delivery, or slightly shadier things like putting the most expensive items at the top of searches.
As shoppers, you should know what to look out for, and how to get your basket of goods for the cheapest price.
Here are a few tricks that supermarkets may use to get you to spend more:
Putting expensive items in first view
When doing your online shopping, it’s easy just to add the first things that come up into your basket.
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But supermarkets may be putting their highest priced items at the top – with better deals further down the page.
When searching for blanket terms like “bread”, “rice” and “cheese” on a mixture of supermarket websites, 7/10 searches came back with no offer in the top row, or had a comparable item with a cheaper price per 100g lower down the results.
You can change this by switching the results from “relevant” or “favourite”’ to “sort by price”.
Beware of "sponsored" Items
When going onto online shopping websites, you might find “sponsored” items or advertisements for products.
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Grocery websites sneakily pair these sponsored items to the things you’re searching – even if you’re not looking for it directly.
For example you might see sponsored cream when you search for strawberries, or pasta sauce with pasta.
And yes, you’ve guessed it, the sponsored product is usually not the best value. You can often get other brands cheaper just by doing a normal search.
Paying over the odds for delivery fees
Delivery fees can be pricey, however if you’re a loyal shopper to the same online supermarket, you can often sign up to a delivery scheme.
These get you free delivery on your orders in exchange for a subscription service of around £5-10 per month.
If you do two or more grocery shops online in a month, then it’s worth the cost. Otherwise, you could be paying upwards of £10 extra a month just to have your food dropped off.
Major supermarkets including Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Iceland and Ocado all have them.
Hiding coupons and vouchers
It’s not out of the ordinary to find coupons and discounts for online grocery shopping, but they aren’t very well publicised.
Sometimes, you could be getting freebies or money off your online shopping for entering a code at checkout.
If you’re a Sainsbury’s shopper, you can find up to date vouchers on its “freebies and competitions” page – which is regularly updated.
At Tesco, you can find a range of coupons in the monthly magazine. These usually have coupon codes that can be used for online shopping too.
And for every other supermarket, just having a quick google search for voucher codes before you shop might yield some savings.
We’ve all been victim to a questionable substitution when your chosen product is out of stock.
On the extreme end, shoppers have been given fish fillets instead of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food, and Duck Pâté instead of Duct Tape.
But with a few supermarkets, you can turn off the function where supermarkets substitute your products.
That saves the awkward faff, and potentially extra money spent on items you don’t want when it’s too much effort to send it back or get a refund.
Look for a substitution tick box next to each item, or head to your account settings to see if you can change substitution preferences.
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Elsewhere, we have looked at the yellow-sticker discounts that could be costing you MORE.
And one expert reveals the supermarket aisles you need to go down to get the best deals.
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