Online shopping 101
With the advent of the internet, online shopping has grown in popularity. It is convenient, allow shoppers to easily price match and you get items delivered right to your doorsteps. While it seems relatively easy to do, there are a few things you need to know in order to not regret making that quick easy purchase. Have you ever ordered something online and when it arrives it’s simply not what you were expecting? It has unfortunately happened to me many times. I’ve learned from my mistakes, and want to share with you how I now effectively shop online, without regretting or returning my purchases. One of the first things to consider is whether you are using a desktop computer or hand held device (cell phone iPad etc.). Most websites are equipped to give a desktop or mobile view. The mobile views often offer limited access to the entire web page. Make sure you get to see the complete website with whatever device you are using.
Make a list
Before you start browsing, write down what you want to buy online and stick to your list. Many websites contain pop up ads which can easily distract you from what you initially went online for. Some also offer suggestions for other items they think you may need. Don’t end up buying a pair of shoes when you intended to buy toilet paper! See where I’m going with this. Stick to your list.
Shop from reputable websites and check your reviews
Unfortunately we live in a world with many people who are dishonest. Buy from established companies that are known to offer good service. There are merchandisers that will give people incentives to write a positive review when their products are not worth buying. Thoroughly check the reviews on places like Google and YouTube to see what other people think of the website. If something looks too good to be true, almost always it’s not worth your time. Credible websites will allow all their reviews to be seen whether they are positive or negative.
If you are shopping for shoes make sure you know your correct shoe size. The next time you go to the mall simply walk into a shoe store and get your feet measured. If you are shopping for clothes, a tape measure should be your best friend. Measure your bust, waist, hips and arms etc. Be thorough. Write down your measurements so you have them on hand when you sit in front your computer. A good website should have a size chart guide for each item of clothes being sold. Follow the guide and compare it to your measurements to increase your chance of buying something that will actually fit the way you like it.
Read product description
One disadvantage of shopping online is that you can’t touch the item before buying it. It is therefore imperative you read carefully the product description to know exactly what you are getting. For clothing items check the material type and compare it to items you already have at home. Check the dimensions, colors and textures. Zoom in on the item and examine the fine details.
Go to the websites information section if there is one available and read carefully the terms and conditions of use. Check for contact information, shipping cost and return rules. Remember that you may have to pay duty/custom fees on some or all of your items. Call or email the company if you have any questions. This is a good way to verify the legitimacy of the information that is written on the website.
Your cart is now full and ready for checkout. What’s next? What will be your method of payment? A good website should have security measures in place to protect your sensitive information. To prevent your credit card number and identify information from falling in the wrong hands, due to your device being lost, hacked or stolen; never save your information online or on your computer. A good tip is to use your PayPal account at checkout, if the option is available; this offers a second layer of protection.
You are now online shopping ready! Happy shopping. What are your online shopping horror stories? Leave a comment below.