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Those of you with kids will know the mixed emotions associated with their children having recently gone back to school. We asked our customers how they felt about it - and they were overwhelming happy about it, almost 75% in fact, yet the majority worried about the cost. With good reason too, as they reckoned they’d be spending more this year than last, averaging between £100 and £300 each. That’s a lot of cash, particularly after the expense of the summer holidays.

The good news is the vast majority of our customers have really embraced buying their back to school items online – clever shoppers can pick up some real bargains, particularly as over 60% of our customers think the most expensive item they’ll have bought be tech gadgets, whether that’s a laptop, tablet or phone.

Creativity is required to find bargains, no one online shop has them all (even us!). So as a bargain hunter myself here are my top tips for shopping online, whether that’s for Back to School items, or something else:

  1. Research, research, research. Find out precisely what you want to buy. Go and see it in-store if that helps. Then start to shop around online for the best deal.
  2. Make sure to read product ratings. Good sites will ensure all these reviews are genuine.
  3. Once you know what you want to buy, start shopping around.
  4. Fully embrace bargain hunting, if you do you’ll find it a lot of fun.
  5. If you’re using price comparison sites, always sort by ‘price’ - otherwise they may try and push their preferred products, often those that have paid them to come up first.
  6. Make sure you factor in the cost of delivery – free delivery is nice, but check site hasn’t just added on a delivery to cost to the price of the item.
  7. Check the site’s returns policy, to ensure they have one - and it’s fair.
  8. Before you buy, check to see if there are any coupons for the product you want. You might get free delivery, a special price or even a free gift.
  9. Always print out your order after purchasing, you may need it as proof at a later date.

By Juha Koski, managing director, MadBid