This 'Do Nothing' Online Shopping Trick Might Be The Key To Scoring Major Discounts

Want to save time and money when you're shopping online? HuffPost's "Am I Doing It Wrong?" podcast has everything you need to know.
"Abandoning your cart" can often score you a discount.
LaylaBird via Getty Images
"Abandoning your cart" can often score you a discount.

Online shopping has made buying the things you need (or desperately want) as easy as clicking a few buttons. But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean you’re doing it right, and there’s a good chance you’re spending time and money that you don’t need to be spending.

There are now a slew of widgets, plug-ins and bots to aid in your quest for a killer deal, but one of the best ways to potentially nab a discount is by putting an item in your online cart and then ... doing nothing.

This can trigger what is known as an “abandoned cart email” being sent to you by the site you were visiting, with a coupon for the item you left behind or some other freebie if you complete the sale.

“Seventy percent of online shoppers abandon their carts,” Emily Ruane, the head of HuffPost Shopping, recently told us, Raj Punjabi and Noah Michelson, the co-hosts of HuffPost’s “Am I Doing It Wrong?” podcast. “That sounds like a lot, but think about how often you walk into a store and ping through things and then you’re just like, ‘Bye!’ It’s kind of like that but ... no one is going to chase you once you’ve left that store and say: ‘Wait! Here’s 20% off!’”

But they might online.

That’s because online retailers want to do whatever they can to close the deal. So, if sending you a coupon for 15% off or free shipping means you’ll go back to their site and finally hit “buy now,” many of these stores are more than happy to oblige. And, as Ruane told us, if the item is something they’re trying especially hard to unload, the discount could be even bigger.

Ruane noted that it’s not always clear which retailers will sprinkle some magic on whatever item you’ve abandoned in your cart. But she added, “If it’s something you feel confident will remain in stock, there’s no harm in trying.”

This is just one of the many tricks we learned during our chat with Ruane. We also discussed the truth about Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day sales, how you can best support the communities you love while shopping online, why reading three-star reviews is often more valuable than reading one- or five-star reviews, and much more.

After you’ve had a listen above or wherever you get your podcasts, subscribe to “Am I Doing It Wrong?” so you don’t miss a single episode, including our investigations of the ins and outs of tipping, how to score the best deals on airline tickets, interviewing for a job like a pro, getting the best sleep ever, slaying your next trip to the grocery store, apologizing, vanquishing your credit card debt and finding love online.

Need some help with something you’ve been doing wrong? Email us at, and we might investigate the topic in an upcoming episode.