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June 4, 2021

Online retailers tricking you? Don’t let speed and convenience convince you to spend more.

Did you overspend again? If you are constantly over budget, you may be falling for online retail tricks. According to Digital Commerce 360, U.S. shoppers spent more than $861 billion online in 2020, which represents 44% year-over-year growth.

Many shoppers have switched to making purchases online during the pandemic, but that can have an impact on your wallet. Online retailers are savvy when it comes to getting consumers to spend more than they intended. Here are some tricks e-commerce sites use to get shoppers to spend more and how to avoid online retailers tricking you.

  1. Upselling you during checkout.

When you receive an offer for an additional product when you go to checkout, that is upselling. The retailer knows you are in a frame of mind to spend, because you are in the process of checking out. By showing you a relevant or related item when you are in the frame of mind to spend money, they can get you to spend more than you initially planned.

  1. Advertising themselves as a “Discount” store.

While stores like Walmart and Target are known as bargain stores, not everything in the store is available at the lowest price. Don’t just assume you are getting the lowest price for an item, because you are buying it at a bargain retailer. Do some research before you buy to secure the lowest price, especially if you are purchasing a big-ticket item.

  1. Offering a free gift with purchase.

One strategy some retailers employ is offering a free item once the consumer spends a certain amount, and typically setting that amount to be slightly more than the cost of their best-selling product. The goal is to get you to buy more than one item to reach the freebie.

  1. Advertising coupons and special savings events.

Some e-commerce retailers will market weekly coupons or special events as limited-time-only opportunities to get you to spend more. Even if they run the same sale regularly, they want to create a sense of urgency to motivate you to spend more.

  1. Offering free returns.

This is one way to generate new business. If you have never ordered online from a retailer before, you may be reluctant, because you haven’t seen the fabric or quality in-person or you’re not sure what size you should order. Offering free returns motivates shoppers to buy items they are unsure about.

  1. Providing discounts when you buy more.

Some retailers will provide discounts when you buy more. The more you buy the lower the cost per unit. This looks like savings because you are spending less per unit or item, but you are spending more than you initially planned.

  1. Creating Buy One Get One Free offers.

Some retailers get you to purchase items you weren’t planning on buying or buy more than you were planning buy offering a BOGO deal. Sometimes it’s buy-one-get-one free and sometimes you have to purchase two or more of an item to get one free.


Online retailers are great at getting you to overspend. They have researched ways to motivate you to spend more than you planned. If you have fallen for these tricks, you are not alone. If you are short on cash due to overspending, Uprova.com can help. You can request between $300 and $5,000 in personal loan funding to cover a wide range of expenses. Learn more about how our loans work and all the financial terms you could encounter.

The content of this website is for informational purposes only. Nothing on this website constitutes financial or professional advice. Consult a professional for advice suitable to your personal circumstances.

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