When you think of shopping, the images that may pop in your mind are large carts and baskets, colorful paper bags, and a wide array of goods your local shopping mall has to offer. Shopping is an exciting activity best shared with friends and families during your free time. However, there are instances where you are too busy with your daily routine and going to the malls to shop for items becomes a hassle.
It’s a good thing that due to impressive technological advancements, shopping has become a lot easier and more convenient for consumers. Electronic commerce (commonly known as E-Commerce) refers to the trading of goods and services through the internet and other electronic channels. Through the decades of further innovations, the business strategy has helped a lot of merchants reach more consumers and other businesses and develop good relationships with them.
Online shopping is one of the most renowned advancement of e-commerce. With a quick and easy procedure, you don’t have to spend a lot of time and energy in shopping malls. Just go to the online shopping website, look for the item that you want to purchase, and fill-up necessary information regarding your payment and how they can reach you. Within a few days, your item will be delivered right in front of your doorstep. The question is, even with its convenience and benefits, is online shopping really worth it?
To enjoy your online shopping experience, here are some factors that you should consider when you grab a virtual shopping cart.
1. Internet Connection
When you plan to visit your favorite shopping website, make sure your internet connection is stable and secured. This does not only keep you from being exasperated but also saves you from cyber thieves. Your computer firewall should be turned on to prevent dangerous software, cyber criminals, and hackers from stealing your personal data such as financial information and passwords.
Never do any financial transactions using public networks because they are often unreliable and may collect information if they are not encrypted.
2. Shopping Website
Be careful in choosing an online shopping store that you will trust. If it is a renowned online shopping store that has received positive and plausible reviews through its years of existence and has already gained a great number of loyal consumers, then it is safe. You may also try asking for recommendations from your close friends who may have gained consistent positive experiences from their trusted online store.
If you conducted some background check and discovered that the store is either not been reviewed or has negative feedback, then it’s likely to be a fraud. Another tip to keep in mind is the lock icon followed by the HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) code located at the beginning of the webpage’s link.
It usually appears when you go to the page that requires registration and encoding of personal information. If you see HTTPS and not HTTP, it assures you that your information is secured and safe from stealing.
3. Privacy and Refund Policies
The return policy, on the other hand, discusses the terms of replacing or refunding items. You as a consumer have the right to return incorrect, damaged, and defective items.
4. Delivery and Shipping Terms
The sole purpose of online shopping is to give you convenience and not to cost you additional headaches Your shopping experience may lead to an impractical disaster if you settle for shipping fees that may cost you more than what you should pay for. To avoid this nasty situation, you should review their terms and check if they provide tracking and insurance.
You should also be aware of the kind of carriers they use so you may issue a complaint if the delivery is delayed. The shipping terms provide information on how long your item will be delivered based on your location, how to track your order and the taxes that you might pay.
The basic information that you are required to provide is your name, shipping address, telephone number, e-mail address, and preferred mode of payment. Avoid the websites that ask more information that is necessary. If they ask you about your bank account information, license number, or even the names of your relatives, then you might want to consider withdrawing your transaction.
6. Merchant Offers
Do they give discounts when you buy bulk orders? Do they have promos that can let you save some bucks in your shipping fee? Or do they accept coupons and gift cards?
Check if they have special offers that allow your shopping experiences to be more fulfilling. Just remember to avoid tempting offers such as extremely cheap costs that are barely believable.
Before purchasing one, check their return policy and know your rights as a paying customer. Refrain yourself from giving in to these “flowery” advertisements and offers that serve as bait for vulnerable readers.
7. Payment Method
For some, it is a bit scary to share financial information online, especially with unknown, unseen virtuala entity and the growing number of cyber theft cases just worsens the consumers’ anxiety.
So it is important to choose the right payment method and the information that you provide. It is advisable to use a credit card or PayPal, a reputable payment service. If you use a credit card for your purchases and your financial information has been stolen, the law limits your liability for unauthorized charges.
This is a security protection that you cannot get from using debit cards or check. You may also consider using one credit card that is exclusively for online transactions so you can quickly terminate it without affecting your other transactions when problems arise.
Even if you made transactions with a trusted and well-known online store, it is still a must to check your transactions periodically.