Buying and shopping online has become very popular in recent years. Every year finds more online stores offering us a wide selection of merchandise at great prices as well as the convenience of not having to leave our homes. With Christmas right around the corner, many people are choosing to do as much of their shopping online as possible. If you’re new to the world of online shopping, you may have questions or concerns regarding the security and methods used for online shopping. Here are some simple tips when buying online.
o Make sure the site you’re shopping from is secure. With so many online shopping sites available, we tend to look for the best buys and often forget about looking at the security of the site. Secure sites will use specific technologies (Secure Sockets Layers or SSL or Secure Electronic Transaction or SET) to ensure the site and the connection is secure.
Ways to ensure the site is secure may vary depending on what method is used. Look at the web address. Addresses that begin with “https” are secure as opposed to sites that only have “http” in the address. Another way to make sure it’s a secure site is by looking at the status bar or the bottom of the screen. If you see a locked padlock or an unbroken key on the bottom of the screen or a lock on the status bar, the site is secure.
o Shop around for good buys. Shopping online can offer a lot of convenience over shopping at your local mall or in other stores in your area. You will save time and the stress of dealing with heavy traffic, long lines in the store as well as being able to shop at your leisure rather than doing it during certain hours of the day. However, you still want to be able to save money. Don’t shop at the first site that pops up when you search online. Browse through several sites until you find the best buys.
o Watch Shipping Costs. While many people shop online to save money on their merchandise, they don’t often pay as much attention as they should to the shipping costs. They often use the philosophy that it’s cheaper than having to drive to the stores. This may be true, but you should always check on the shipping costs before making a purchase. Some online stores may offer cheaper shipping charges if you spend a certain amount of money while others may offer free shipping. Shop around for the best shipping options when choosing sites to buy from online.
o Check out Online Auctions. Online auction sites like EBay are very popular today. Amazon is another site that, although not an auction site, is very popular for online shoppers. They both offer new and used merchandise; however, so pay attention to what you’re buying so you don’t get used merchandise when you think you’re paying for new merchandise. Online auction sites are another place where you really have to look for the best shipping costs or you may find you’re paying more for the shipping than you paid for the actual merchandise.
o Make sure you know their return policies. The largest mistake online shoppers make is not knowing the company’s return policy before they make the purchase. They buy an item of clothing in what they believed was their size only to find out their sizing was different and the item doesn’t fit. When they try to return the merchandise, they learn the company will either only give a store credit or won’t take returns at all. This may totally discourage a consumer from shopping online in the future when simply knowing the store’s return policy could have prevented the hassle and disappointment.