Reporting Your Online Shopping Trips

I recently bought a number of items from a humongous online retailer. (Can’t mention any names, but let’s just say the founder of the company is the richest person in the world.) Some of the purchases were packaged separately, delivered on different days.

So you may ask, What’s the best way to record this? And that’s a good question. I can certainly see that reporting online purchases can be confusing!

Since online retailing continues to explode, it’s very important that our panelists accurately record these types of purchases. So here are some tips that will hopefully make your scanning life a little easier!

  • Online purchases may come in one or multiple shipments and don’t always include a packing receipt. Consider printing out your email/order confirmation so you can refer back to it when reporting your purchase.
  • If your items do come separately, please scan them as you receive them.
  • If an item arrives with the UPC barcode covered by another label, try carefully peeling off that label and scanning the UPC barcode on the item (or manually enter the barcode number if the barcode is damaged).
  • If you buy something from the website of a retailer that also has a storefront, make sure to report the trip as an online purchase. For example, if you order something from Walmart’s website, select “” when you record the purchase (whether the item was shipped directly to you or picked up at the store).

Hope that helps! Have a great weekend.

20 thoughts on “Reporting Your Online Shopping Trips

  1. Ok I have a question and am hoping someone can help me. I’ve purchase a couple of items that are not on the list of items, how do I record them. One of my items is a weed wacker do I record this or not? And another item I had was water but that’s not on my list either.

    • Hi, thanks for the question. Our “mantra” is, if the purchase has a barcode, or can be found in the Barcode Reference Booklet (if you use a handheld scanner) or the Non-Barcoded Items listing (if you use the NCPMobile App), please record it.

      If the weed wacker has a barcode on the package, please scan it! The same for the water (although if you buy a multipack of water, look for the barcode on the wrapper).

      Thanks, and we hope that helps!

  2. I find a lot of online purchases don’t have a barcode that is scanable. Yet using the no barcode option doesn’t work because there isn’t a category for it.

    • Hi, if a purchase doesn’t have a barcode AND it can’t be found in the no barcode option, unfortunately, the item can’t be recorded. However, if you purchased other items, please include the price of this non-barcoded item in the TOTAL amount.

      Thank you for trying to scan these purchases!

      • That was a great question because I’ve run into that problem too – no barcode. Period. And it’s frustrating because you want to be helpful. Thank for the information. 🙂

  3. What is the best way to get a retailer listed in the scanner? Also, how do you enter a gift, when there is not any retailer listed. Shouldn’t there be a general listing for gifts in the scanner (it would just say gifts). Also, we should have either a link on the scanner for general merchandise. This would cover my comment #1.

    • Hi, what is the retailer you want added to the scanner? Keep in mind, we have somewhat limited space for store names.

      Also, please only enter gifts you buy for other people, not something you receive. If you bought a gift, or any item, but don’t see a specific Store Name, try to find the closest Store Type listing, and use that, if applicable.

      I will pass along your suggestion about the general merchandise listing.

      Thanks! And I hope that helps!!

  4. I notice that more and more things I receive from that “on-line retailer that shall not be named” don’t have UPC codes. Rather that have a private barcode that is useless to anyone but the richest man on earth. Do these items get accounted for in my monthly transaction log produced by the “Shop Tracker” app? Are my purchases being double counted because I put them in through the NCP app on my phone and then again when requested submit the Shop Tracker reports?


  5. I agree with the general merchandise idea. Another one to add might be “other” in the food category. Just some ideas.

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