As Black Friday and Cyber Monday loom into view, a lot of us are getting ready to take advantage of some amazing savings to be found shopping online.
Thanks to online shopping, the marketplace is now global.
Transactions that once would have happened face-to-face can all be made online, with consumers getting the best choice, the most competitive prices and the ease of purchasing how, when and from wherever they want.
From a consumer point of view, the benefits are almost limitless. For a start, there’s no traffic, no jostling, no lines. You might not know exactly what you’re after and serendipitously discover a long-lost book from your childhood. Or you might know precisely what you’re looking for and be able to find the optimum cost, condition and delivery option.
But how safe is online shopping? How do we know which sites we can trust? What can we do if our items don’t arrive on time?
Here are my quick tips to help navigate the sometimes complicated world of ecommerce quickly and safely.
Make sure you’re secure:
Just as you’d put your seatbelt on before a car journey, checking a website is secure should be your first check before making purchases online.
You can tell a site is secure by checking for an “https” at the start of the web address. In most browsers this is accompanied with a little padlock symbol like below:
Take all costs into account:
Many people don’t get the bargain they were hoping for when shopping online. It’s all too easy to get drawn into the low prices without considering extra costs such as shipping and handling. When buying items from abroad, take import and export taxes into consideration or you can get hit with heavy bills that eat into your savings and can even end up costing you more than buying it at a store!
Don’t be afraid to dispute:
One of the most common insecurities that people have when it comes to shopping online is the risk of a dispute. Unlike a bricks and mortar retailer, people can feel powerless if they didn’t receive the service or products that they thought they would be getting.
Don’t worry though, most countries have organizations to help resolve commercial disputes and there’s even an International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network of government fair trade organizations, charged with tackling problems with international commercial transactions.
Check out my Online Shopping eBook for an in-depth guide to a hassle free and safe online shopping experience.
For more tips about shopping online, especially if you plan on using a smartphone or tablet, I’d recommend this video from AVG security expert Michael McKinnon.
November 22, 2013