Online Shopping Tips

Online shopping

Online shopping can be fast and fun. It can give you the best selection of items and often the best deals. There are some simple tips to keep in mind that can help you find the best deals on the web. Even though purchasing items online is not difficult, security is an important concern. Paying attention to small details can help you protect your personal information and assets so that you can confidently shop online in security.

Simple Tips for Online Shopping

Shopping online is popular among people of all ages. It is convenient and allows you to search a wide variety of sites without leaving your home. Follow these basic tips to help make the most of your online shopping experience.

Find The Best Deals

Shopping online is popular, partly because it makes comparing prices at different retailers so simple, requiring no more than browsing different websites. There are many ways to find great deals online such as:

  • Use online coupons or promotional codes. Sites like RetailMeNot offer endless promotional codes and coupons and can direct you to some of the best deals online. These sites allow both merchants and consumers to post the latest deals and promotions in order to pass the savings to you.
  • Always compare offers on different sites. You can easily find out what merchants are offering incentives such as free shipping, deals of the day, or a certain percentage off purchases. These factors can help you save on purchases and can result in dramatic savings. You can check out a site such as NexTag or Shopzilla to comparison shop all in one place. You simply enter the item you are searching for to be given a list of retailers and their prices.
  • Sign up on a store's site to receive coupons and sales information via email. Many retailers will give you a discount if you sign up on their site.
  • Shop at a site such as eBay for great deals on past season merchandise or discontinued items. You can often find new items for a fraction of the cost on eBay.

Stay Safe Online

Steve Watts, SecurEnvoy
Steve Watts, SecurEnvoy

Keeping your identity safe while shopping online is one of the biggest concerns of shoppers. Steve Watts, security expert at SecurEnvoy explains how to stay safe while making purchases online. He emphasizes that it is essential to "become security-savvy." This means that you need to "look out for the little padlock at the bottom of a webpage when you are checking out, and see if the website is using a secure page (https://) for the transaction, rather than just http://."

Some other security tips that Watts shares include:

  • Be on the lookout for "symbols such as the VeriSign secured tick."
  • When you go to the checkout page, "websites that have a green address bar, show that they are using the highest level of encryption."
  • Sites that use additional security "such as Verified By Visa make it that much harder for a transaction to be committed by someone who has stolen your card details."
  • Always use different passwords for each shopping site you visit, Watts adds that "a clever way to do this could be using the a few letters from the site followed by four easily remembered digits."

Watts also notes, "If a deal online sounds too good to be true, it probably is." He adds, "Some criminals set up fake websites offering TVs or other high-value good at a lower price than other sites, to entice consumers to provide their card details." Watts points out, "The card isn't charged and the TV never shipped. Perhaps the consumer is told it is out of stock, so they aren't immediately suspicious, but the criminal has walked away with the card details, which are worth even more."

To add an extra safety measure when shopping, Watts suggests to "have a credit card that you use just for shopping online which doesn't give you a large credit limit." He also notes that you should "check your bank and credit card statements regularly and flag any suspicious transactions immediately."

Do Your Research

In addition to comparing different sites for the best prices, you may want to review the return, refund, and shipping policies as well. Since you are shopping online not in person, you may want to be careful of the requirements for returning or exchanging an item that isn't exactly what you thought it would be.

You will also want to research the site you plan on purchasing an item from. Since almost anyone can open an online store, it important to keep a few essential shopping tips in mind. It's important for consumers to verify that any merchant they are doing business with is reputable. While there are no guarantees, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

  • Select established and reputable online retailers.
  • Choose sellers with verifiable street addresses and telephone number.
  • Look for merchants who regularly sell the type of product you are purchasing.
  • Verify that the merchant is an authorized seller of the product.

Ask For Help

Every online store should have a customer service department. If you have a question or concern about an item that you plan to purchase, don't hesitate to send and email or call before you complete your order. Many sites even offer instant chat, making it possible to get answers fast.

Shipping Concerns

To ensure the safe delivery of your item, there are several things you can do. If you have concerns that you may not be home when your package is delivered, request that the shipper receives a signature before leaving the package. You could also have your items shipped to a work address, if you are elsewhere during the day.

Always make sure that you print out the confirmation record for your purchases. This record will include a reference number and a tracking number for your shipments. The confirmation record makes it possible to locate your order with ease.

Inspect Your Purchase

Once your item arrives to your door, it is essential to look over your purchase carefully. Make sure that you receive what you ordered and that everything is in the package. If you discover a problem, contact the seller as soon as possible.

Smart Shopping

It is easy to stay safe and find the best deals online safely by following a few basic tips. Simply using common sense and not trusting deals that seem too good to be true can help you can shop smart while finding bargains.

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