Consider these online shopping tips for a better shopping experience and less headaches. Online shopping is the norm nowadays. It is a time-saving way to get your goods to your home or office. From food delivery, personal care items, fashion and home essentials, even fruits and veggies; online options abound. You might even think this is one of the fun things you can do, while stuck at home.
1. Shop in Private
Don’t go online shopping using a public wifi network. It’s safer to shop at home using your personal wifi subscription or your own mobile data. If you need to shop using a public network, stick to doing so in well-established and reliable stores.
You may find the need to use your laptop or mobile phone to shop in a public network. Only shop in online stores where you’re already registered. This way, you don’t need to type in your personal details and credit card information. You never know when prying eyes are looking at your screen as you’re typing sensitive information. Doing your online shopping at home is one of the most important online shopping tips for a better shopping experience.
2. Check Your Shop Address
Make sure to bookmark your favorite shopping sites. This way you don’t have to search for them online again or retype their address on your browser. Pharming scams is where online sites are made to look like a popular online store. They might have a similar address only with an additional letter. Maybe the address will have a missing letter or a misspelling that’s not too noticeable. These fake sites are designed to steal your information.
These sites usually have juicy deals that lure you in to login to the site. This is how they get your sensitive information and use it for their own ends. You might find out later on that your credit card was used to purchase an item that you never ordered. Make sure that you are shopping in the right store with the right online address or URL (Universal Resource Locator).
A site address that starts with “HTTPS” and not just “HTTP” is a good indicator of security. In some browsers, an icon of a locked padlock is also displayed beside the URL. The browser bar may also turn green when you go to the online store’s home page. Look for these indicators before you sign-up for an online shop.
3. Secure Your Personal Data
A strong password is a good way to secure your personal data. It’s better to use different passwords on each site you register to. But if you want to remember just one password, having a strong password is one of the most important online shopping tips for a better shopping experience.
Don’t overshare your personal data online. When you register to an online shop, they only need information that concerns payment and delivery of goods. They won’t need your social security number or your birthdate, for example.
If an online shop requires information that is not related to your online shopping transaction, this should be a red flag for you. Check your shop address as you might be registering on a scammer’s duplicate site instead of the legitimate one.
Help prevent more people from being victimized by warning people about fake sites. Some browsers also allow you to flag a site and block it so you don’t get redirected to it again.
4. Research and Read Reviews
Do your due diligence and research about the products you want to buy. This way you can contrast and compare their information with what’s being offered on a shopping site. Most shopping sites also allow customers to leave product ratings or reviews so pay attention to that too.
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to gauge the reputation of an online shop or seller. Sometimes, small vendors and startups offer great products that only a few people know about. Social media has made it possible to search for public information about the background of any business. So check around and ask your tech-savvy friends and relatives too. Just because a vendor is small doesn’t mean they don’t offer good quality products.
Pay it forward as well. If you’re satisfied with a product, give a good rating. Post a good review on the shopping site where you bought it from. This will help other people learn more about a good product. It will also boost the reputation of the shop. This means the shop can attract more sellers whose products you might be interested in.
5. Keep Your Devices and Emails Secure
You also need to keep your own devices secure. Make sure that your laptop is protected from malware. Keep your anti-virus program and your laptop OS (Operating System) and apps (Applications) up to date. Observe the same for your tablets and mobile devices. If a shop has a mobile app for their online store, then use that instead for more secure transactions. This is one of the most frequently neglected of online shopping tips that provide for a better shopping experience.
You will frequently receive emails from shops that you have registered to. However, the most secure and reliable websites have been hacked many times. Hackers usually use the information they get to scam other people. One way is to send them emails that look like they are from a legitimate website or company. The emails ask you to share sensitive information or click a link that allows them to get your sensitive information.
Be wary of emails that have dreamy discount offers or sudden announcements that you won a major prize or gadget. If an offer is not in the style of an online shop’s regular email offers, don’t click the link provided. Don’t sign-up for any of the offers either. Don’t click on suspicious pop-up ads as well. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Make sure to flag these types of emails as spam as well so you don’t get them again.
6. Learn and Use Reliable Payment Methods
Credit cards are one of the most secure ways to shop online. Different shops offer many payment methods that not only use a credit card. There are also many different payment gateways to choose from. If you’re shopping on an international seller’s site, PayPal is usually offered.
For local sellers, try to learn about local payment methods. Electronic wallets (e-wallets, digital wallets) are a convenient way to pay for goods online. These are for people who don’t have a credit card or don’t want to use their bank account. Most of these have mobile applications and online stores are adopting them into their payment options as well.
Not tech-savvy enough to try out new payment methods? The safest route is to stick to what you’re familiar with. Make sure that you are on the right website and shop thru a secure, private network as much as possible.
7. Read the Terms and Conditions
Some of us don’t read labels when we shop in a physical store. We do the same when we shop online. Special promo offers and discount offers usually have terms and conditions attached to them. This is another of the most frequently unpracticed online shopping tips that make way for a better shopping experience. Be sure to read this part of the special offer. This way, you know what you’re getting and you know what to expect.
Terms and Conditions also provide information on what you can do if you encounter an issue with a particular transaction. It also gives you information on the duration of a particular promo or specific details about a discount offer. Many people end up complaining only to find out that their complain is not valid. They didn’t read and learn that their concern was covered in the terms and conditions of the offer.
8. Reach Out The Right Way
As customers, we have every right to complain when we are not satisfied with a particular product or service. Negative feedback always have a big impact not just for the short term but also for the long term. It won’t only affect the business but also the people working in that company. So think before you share and when you do share, do it the right way. Reach out to the other party directly first before peppering your social media feed with rants bout them.
You should only shop in stores or with sellers who make their contact details public or easily accessible. Sending an email is still the best way to give the seller specific information about your concerns. Keep in mind that each seller has a process for verifying and taking action on your concern. So be patient and don’t fret. The important thing is that a seller is responsive to you and takes the time to address your complaint.
Also, try to be polite in your emails. This way, people at the other end will feel more receptive to reading your message and acting on it. It’s also less stressful to write a more polite message than one with an angry tone.
Try to keep these online shopping tips in mind for a more secure and pleasant experience. Online shopping makes it easier to not be distracted. As long we focus on what we need to buy and limit our shopping time, we won’t ruin our budget.