12 Tips Before Purchasing Anything Online

Knowing how to be a smart consumer is different when venturing into the world of online shopping. One problem is that you cannot feel or touch the merchandise, not examine any quality of an item except by using your eyes. This makes certain aspects of online shopping difficult, and so here are some tips to help you before making a final purchasing decision.

tips-before-purchasing-anything-online1) Return policies are very important, so carefully examine each stores return policy to make sure that returns are simple and easy should you not like the quality of what you receive.

2) Be sure to understand the shipping policies of the store. There may be some who also add handling charges, but in many cases the price of an item may be cheaper but the actual price after shipping charges are added can be the same or more as a competitor’s.

3) Be patient and shop multiple web sites. There are some very good discounts available online from stores you may never have heard of before. But for a cheaper price you can get exactly the same merchandise as more familiar brand name stores offer.

4) Be safe and make sure the online store you will be buying from is a secure, reputable, and safe web site. There are a number of companies that verify a web site is safe: Verisign, Better Business Bureau, or Safe Shopping, all which have logos identifying themselves on the web site. For European sites, there is the Trusted Shops logo.

5) Along with web site safety there also is the issue of privacy of the information you provide when making a purchase. Read the web site and company’s privacy policy before providing any personal information online.

6) What some savvy online shoppers recommend is searching for coupon codes, entered in near or at the beginning of the checkout process. The savings on using a coupon code can be significant.

7) It should be no surprise as to why Amazon is the most trusted website for online shopping – the best customer service of all online retailers. But do not think of customer service as something you deal with when something goes wring. Amazon has great customer service because of what it does for its customers when everything is going right.

Their Prime membership program allows free two-day shipping for an entire year for just $79. The price pays for itself quickly if you are a regular Amazon shopper. That Prime membership includes a ton of free online movies with their Amazon Instant Videos. And when you need help purchasing a specific item, their customer service agents are both friendly and knowledgeable.

8) When deciding on a store site to buy an item, be sure the web page has at the beginning of the web address “https:” which indicates the web page you are using is secure. This address is located at the top of the web browser in the address bar.

9) Unless you have absolutely no other choice, always use a credit or debit card when making online purchases to protect yourself from fraud and giving yourself a way to dispute charges or poor quality merchandise purchased online.

10) To minimize the possibility of becoming the victim of a scam, check the product out online at least three different web sites. Not only will you be able to compare prices, but if a product or service is legitimate it will likely be offered at multiple stores.

11) Use social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter to read reviews and what actual buyers and user of the product have to say about it. On the Internet, reviews and opinions can be paid for by the company, so be sure to look for any statements of paid endorsements.

12) Take your time, but not too much time. Researching a product on the Internet can be both fun and frustrating. Make a list of the important qualities of the product or service you are searching for and keep the list short. Your time is money, so make a wise use of your time by using search engines such as Google or Bing.

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