Online shopping can be expensive…and potentially dangerous. In this article, we’ll offer some proven tips to help you save and more importantly, protect your information.
You wish to learn more about online shopping so that you can better function in that environment. The more you know, the more you are able to take advantage of the many benefits available. Consider the following helpful advice so that you can find out how to have fun with your online shopping.
Tip #1: Yes, There’s Amazon, But…
Look to Amazon.com to save you big, even on things that you may never think to buy online. Amazon has gotten so large that it’s more of a surprise when they don’t have something available. You can even do much of your dry goods grocery shopping right from their store, often at the cheapest prices around.
That said, do consider that there are some exclusive vendors that, for various reasons, don’t have their products on Amazon. Or, even if they do, you may surprisingly find a better deal on the vendor’s site than on Amazon itself. Such vendors can give you exclusive savings or bonuses that aren’t available anywhere else.
Tip #2: You Know This One, Right…?
When you are making any purchases online and you are required to make a user account, never use the same passwords that you use on other websites. Do not use your e-mail or banking password to make an account to buy shoes from a web retailer. If someone was able to see this password, they could have access to more than just your profile on the retailer’s store.
Tip #3: Think You’re Getting A Good Deal on That Used Item? Check This First…
If you want to buy a used product online, learn more about the seller first. You should visit their profile and look for reviews written by other shoppers who bought products from this seller. Do not hesitate to contact the seller to ask a few questions about the product you are interested in.
Tip #4: It Never Hurts to Search for These…
Coupon codes are a great way to save money when shopping online. You can easily find these deals by searching the name of the retailer followed by “coupon code” in your favorite search engine. You might get free shipping, or save a certain percentage off of your total. Either way, coupon codes are worth searching for.
Tip #5: It’s Not SPAM if You Save
If you shop frequently at a certain website or online store, it may be worth it to sign up for their email updates which usually have special offers and sales. This can translate into savings for you as you may get a discount on the item or even free shipping, which can add up to bigger savings if you buy from the site often.
Tip #6: Keep an Eye On This
Keep an eye on your account when you shop online, and make sure all charges are on the up-and-up. Although a company like Amazon.com is surely worthy of your trust, they can make mistakes too. With nearly everything completely automated, it doesn’t take much for a decimal or zero to add a huge change to your order!
In relation to this, be sure you read the fine print for any unmentioned charges or auto-ship.
Tip #7: A Professional Appearance and Safety Go Hand-in-Hand
Be careful which sites you patronize. It is difficult to know which are on the up and up and which are not, but there are a few clues. If the address does not make sense or the design seems off, go to a different site. In addition, if a bunch of pop-up windows begin appearing, close them out and move on.
Tip #8: The Middle of the Week…? Sure.
Look for major online retailer sales in the middle of the week. With physical locations, you tend to see more major sales happen at the end of the week like Fridays. In order to compete with those days, many online retailers like pushing their sales up a few days. Try keeping an eye on major online retailer sites for sales on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Tip #9: Do Price Comparisons the Smart Way
Do not just go to one online merchant to buy a product. Do some price comparison with other retailers. Compare the product costs along with shipping prices and their return policy. When you have this information, you can rest assure that you will purchase from a retailer whom you can count on.
Nowadays, there are actually a category of sites called “price comparison” sites. Basically, if you’re looking for product X, you go to a price comparison site, and depending on the popularity and availability of product X, the site will show you a list of online stores that sell the product, and what price each store sells it at. It’s sort of like those travel sites you can use to find the best airline deals.
Tip #10: Determine the Fakes from the Genuine
When shopping online, take the time to search for professional editorial reviews of products as well as user reviews. Unfortunately, some online stores have been paying for people to review their products. With a professional product review, you can double check that the user reviews are accurate. The ranking and reviews of the product should be similar between professional and user reviews.
Tip #11: Go to a Store, or Buy Online?
If you notice an item that you like and want to purchase while you’re out running errands, see if you can find a better deal for it online! Many things like shoes or video games are cheaper online, so doing a quick internet search could save you some money.
That said, it is worthy to note that by buying locally, especially from a small mom-and-pop store, you’re helping your local economy. Even if you end up paying more, it’s worth it.
Tip #12: Don’t Forget Shipping!
Remember that when you are shopping online, there could be significant costs associated with shipping your item. Always take these costs into account when you are looking for your best price. One website may have a high price, but includes free shipping. The same item on another site may be priced lower, but by the time the shipping costs are added, it is more expensive than the first site.
Tip #13: Not Fishing…Phishing!
Beware of phishing scams. No online retailer will send an email requesting you to send them any personal information in an email. If you receive an email like this, contact your credit card company using the number on the back of your credit card. This will ensure that the email is legit.
Tip #14: Coupon Sites Can Save You Money
Sign up on coupon sites that will send you alerts if coupons of your favorite retailers are available. This is a great way to not miss out on any deals that you can take advantage of. These deals usually come in the form of a digital coupon code good for a limited time only. So, sign up for alerts to take full advantage of them.
Tip #15: The Benefit of Credit Cards
Use your credit card when shopping online. Credit cards offer you more financial protection than other forms of payment such as cash or checks. If something goes wrong with your transaction you will have the power to dispute the charges or stop payment. Moreover, if your card is stolen, you will only be liable for a portion of the charges made to the card.
Now that you’ve read more about online shopping, you probably feel much better about getting more involved. It’s a new environment that is always changing, but you can keep up with the changes. The more information you find out, the better situation you’re going to be in as you navigate your way online and select “purchase.”