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Shopping online is increasingly popular. Convenience is a huge consideration for online shopping, but certainly not the only reason consumers are increasingly shopping online. Customers love choosing a retailer and taking advantage of the many benefits of online shopping like:
- Online shopping reviews
- Specialized selection
- Access to retailers
- Comparing retailers
Whether for one or many reasons, customers are embracing the idea of choosing a retailer, reading through the online shopping reviews and clicking the buy button to improve their shopping experience.
Stores don’t always keep the same hours as consumers. If you wake up at 5am, you don’t necessarily want to wait 7 hours for stores to open on a Sunday. With online shopping you don’t have to wait for anything – stores are available any time you have internet. With online shopping, you can also enjoy choosing a retailer and checking out whenever you want – no lines, no crowds, no broken registers or slow cashiers to worry about.
Online shopping reviews
One of the most heavily used aspects of online shopping are the online reviews. Using online shopping reviews, you can easily compare online shopping companies based on many factors. It’s easy to look at delivery times, product quality and the quality of customer service when you take the time to read the reviews with the intent to compare online shopping companies.
Store reviews also make it easy to see if a low price is truly a value. A low price advertised online may mean paying less up front and then dealing with more frustration due to delivery problems and customer service down the road. For many stores, you can get a good idea of what to expect by reading the online shopping reviews.
Taller than average? Shorter than average? You may have a hard time finding the clothes that fit your body type if you just shop in the stores where only average, typical sizes are available. Other specialty shops can be very expensive or have a limited selection in the brick and mortar building. Shopping online means you can find what you need without checking multiple stores. With online shopping reviews, you even have the option to compare prices on those specialty items before you buy.
Some purchases are best made without the whole world seeing what is in your shopping cart. From lingerie to special bedroom purchases, some things don’t need to be done publicly, and online shopping allows you to do that – even comparison shopping between multiple websites – discreetly.
Access to retailers
There are many customers who can’t easily reach a store to make purchases who appreciate the access that online retailers provide. Those with mobility limitations, without easy vehicle access or public transportation as well as those who have a hard time traveling without a support animal find that shopping online is more convenient and much more comfortable. Choosing a retailer online relieves a lot of the stress shopping creates for those with limited or complicated access.
Shopping online makes it easy to compare stores. Those comparisons let you quickly and easily see which products have the best reviews, where to find a top rated store and what you can expect to pay. Sometimes the best price on a website is a great deal. Other times it’s an invitation to frustration. Checking across multiple websites to compare stores lets you find the best deals from the best places.
Shopping online is incredibly freeing. You can shop at all hours, from any location and buy just about anything – all without any hassles or publicity.
8 Tips for Shopping Safely Online
More customers than ever are shopping online, but they aren’t the only ones heading online to look for great deals and easy marks.
Thieves and scammers are online as well, and the more comfortable you are with online shopping, the more likely you are to make the sort of mistake the thieves are waiting for. Unfortunately, threats online, like malware on websites, have been increasing every year. Fortunately, there are ways to stay safe when shopping online.
Use a Top-Rated Store
There are millions of websites selling things online, and only a modest few of those are considered to be top-rated stores. If you’ve never heard of the website, it doesn’t mean it’s bad, but you should be able to find mention of it by reading others’ online reviews. If there is no mention of the store – or if there are only negative reviews for that store, skip it and go with a retailer you know and trust.
Look for Obvious Red Flags
If you’re shopping online and something feels off about the site, leave the site. A misspelled URL, typos on the website, strange formatting or awkward language are all signs that you may not be dealing with a truly reputable retailer.
Use only Locking Website
When you’re shopping online, you should see a lock symbol at the beginning of the URL, indicating the site has a secure sockets layer encryption or SSL. You can see the little lock when SSL is in place or you can check to be sure that the website starts with an “HTTPS://” instead of just “HTTP://”. No lock? Don’t put any financial information, like your credit card number, into the site.
Consider a Wallet Site
When shopping online, you want to give retailers the absolute least amount of information possible. Never give them a social security number and there’s not usually a good reason to use your birthdate. You can leave even less information on a site by using a wallet service like PayPal or Apple Pay. That way only one site has your bank or credit card information and you can shop with confidence in many places without leaving a financial trail.
Monitor Your Statements
When you’re buying many different things every day , it’s easy to lose sight of what seems strange or odd on your statements at the end of every month. So check your bank accounts and credit card transactions weekly or even more frequently. The more you check, the easier it will be to keep tabs on your own spending and on any strange, potentially fraudulent purchases that show up.
Be Wise to Passwords
Change your passwords occasionally to be sure they haven’t been compromised, and don’t use the same password for everything you do. Make a complicated password – especially for banking and shopping sites – that isn’t easily guessed. Consider making a sentence or phrase for a password using symbols and punctuation to make your password easy to remember, but hard for anyone else to guess. An example of this might be “FromDusk2Dawn!”.
Keep Your Safety Settings High
If you aren’t using a powerful suite of software to protect you from malware and viruses, you are leaving yourself very exposed. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to be protected, but you do need to be sure that your protection software is installed correctly and is updated frequently.
Be Careful of Public Computers and Connections
Free WiFi at a coffee house makes it easy to connect and shop or do a bit of banking, but it can also present some possibilities for criminals. Open networks aren’t as secure as the private one at your home. Public computers are even more dangerous. Nobody stopping anyone from downloading software to gather keystrokes or data on these computers - be very wary of public computers.
How Customers Save Money Shopping Online
Shopping online is supposed to be a great way to save money. Retailers know this and they cater to customers who head online to find the best deals and potential bargains. But is the online price really the best deal you can get when you shop online? There are many other ways to shave a few – or a lot – of dollars off your purchase price.
Wait Before Buying
Unless you’re in a hurry, there is no need to rush into a purchase. In fact, there are significant benefits to loading up your cart and wishlist and then walking away. A wish list lets you collect the items you’re interested in, and some retailers are now sending emails about price changes. Put the new item on your wish list and then wait for the email telling you it’s on sale.
Alternatively, you can load up your shopping cart with everything you want to buy and then close the window and leave the full cart behind. (Just be sure you’re logged into your account with the store before you close the window.) You can expect an email or two in the coming days asking you to finish checking out. After a day or two of inactivity, many retailers will send you a coupon as well to entice you to finish the buying process.
Maximize Your Coupons
Coupons offer you additional savings from retailers, but you can use them even more wisely and save even more. First, be sure that you have enough coupons. One email address will yield one coupon. Three or four email addresses will produce three or four coupons.
You may have to make multiple purchases to use the coupons, but having multiples is especially productive if the coupons are only good on certain set amounts, $20 off $100, for example. If you need $300 worth of clothes, split your purchase into three sets of $100, use three coupons and you’ve saved $60 instead of $20.
You can make those coupons count even more if you wait and use them only when the item you want is on sale. This is called stacking coupons. The store takes 20% off for a holiday sale. Your coupons save you another 30% and you’ve paid quite a bit less than the sticker price.
Use Rebates and Online Codes
If you already have a relationship with a company (and they send you emails), you have coupons. If you’re shopping at an online store for the first time, you don’t already have a code to work with. You can still save at these new stores, however.
Your first step should be to sign up for the newsletter and promotions. If you can do this before making a purchase, they will likely send you an introductory offer with a bit of savings. But if you don’t get a code from the company, there may still be one out there. Coupon and rebate websites collect these offers and share them with potential customers who are willing to do a bit of digging. Actually, it’s not much digging. It’s usually just a few clicks on a coupon or rebate website and you’ve saved money.
Consider Your Options
If you are willing to accept the items others have returned, you may save up to 70 percent on your purchases. You can see the returns and damaged items by searching for “As Is” or “Warehouse Deals” on various shopping websites. The items may be perfect but come in an opened container or they may have a scrape or loose stitching. If you’re handy and comfortable with something less than perfection in packaging, this may be a great way to save money on expensive items – even furniture and electronics.
You may also have an option when it comes to shipping. Occasionally low prices mask high shipping costs. If you are able, skip the expensive shipping costs and pick up the items you’ve purchased in the store. Or have items shipped to the store and then swing by to pick them up. This isn’t always an option for those who live far from stores or if the retailer doesn’t have a storefront business.
Compare Stores and Seasons
Not all shopping is equal. If you’re looking to save money and get the very best deals, you’re going to need to be very familiar with the stores offering the item you’re looking for and the various sales that may occur. The Google shopping tab can give you quick information about prices as you compare stores. Just type in the item’s name and you’ll have a starting point for prices and availability.
Your big purchases should also be planned around the seasons and the trends. Consider buying in the off season or when retailers are clearing out old inventory to make room for the new. Patio furniture, for example, is best purchased in the fall.
Toys are often less expensive after summer but before the holiday season (when prices are raised and then lowered again by holiday sales.) Jackets are on sale toward the end of the winter and swim suits are great to buy at the end of the summer. Plan well in advance and see tremendous savings.
Shopping online is extremely convenient and offers you access to top-rated stores that you may not have otherwise. Not only can you enjoy almost unlimited selection of general and specialty merchandise, with online shopping you can also expect to save money and time as you have the ability to research, compare stores and look for additional savings before committing to a final purchase.