It’s amazing how online shopping had been in the realm of science fiction some decades ago. Minus the goods being teleported, the previously only imagined convenience of buying things without leaving our homes has finally become a norm.
However, it’s still not perfect. Unlike science fiction where buyers could inspect items through an image orb, the system we have right now is still something that’s still similar to a gamble. You either get the exact item you were hoping for, or not. Thankfully, because of social media and online forums dedicated to online shopping, scams are being uncovered faster. But it doesn’t mean they’re not persistent. After all, even if they do get reported, it would most likely be after they had already managed to earn from some unsuspecting buyers.
Here are some online shopping tips that would not only protect yourself from scammers but will also help you become a smarter shopper:
Read what people who have bought them have to say, but be discerning. Know what specifications are relevant to you. This is especially important when you’re looking for gadgets or appliances. Reading reviews might feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to bother with all of them. Look for your specific needs. Don’t get distracted and side-tracked by reviewers’ comments on other functions. They could be good add-ons, but if they’re complaining about them, if you hadn’t been particular about those features anyway, don’t mind them.
For example, you want to purchase a phone that has a solar panel because you need it when you have to go to areas with no electricity for work. If the ratings are low because the camera resolution isn’t great or the audio from playing music is substandard, these don’t matter.
Understand also that companies hire people to write reviews to make their products seem better than the others. It’s usually obvious when something tries hard to promote one brand over another, not even acknowledging the strengths of the other brand.
Check the courier options they have.
Once you’ve selected the item you want to purchase, you would want to ensure that it gets to you safely. Choose the most reliable courier service. Even if you have to pay a premium fee, you will at least be assured that your package is taken care of properly.
Some retailers that offer free delivery charges might use the cheapest courier services that have a history of losing or damaging goods. The least you could do is make sure that you have a warranty for goods that break in transit. But even if you get refunded or your item is replaced, waiting for another week or so is an added hassle for you not to mention the communications and forms you need to fill up. The best move is really to just pay for a good courier service.
Compare with other online sellers.
Don’t be lazy in doing the math. There are retailers that market with the promise of saving you money. They say they don’t have add-on service charges. Some offer free deliveries. But compare their prices with other retailers. It might be that these charges are no longer added when you purchase because they’re already factored into the prices of the items.
Some retailers also get good deals with suppliers, so they could offer better prices. It’s pretty much why Marshalls and TJ Maxx, for example, could sell luxury brands at super discounted prices compared to other department stores. So don’t get contented with just looking at one online shop.
However, beware of rip-offs. Some retailers also sell at really cheap prices because the items they have are not authentic. In this aspect, you might have to rely on reviews. When you see at least two or three buyers complaining that they got counterfeit items, close that shop. One buyer might be mistaken, but having another support that suspicion means there could be truth in it. Better stay safe since you couldn’t see the product to check it out yourself.
Finally, at the end of your discerning what products are best, before you proceed to check out, you need to ask one very important question. If you had to go to the mall or store to buy it, would you? Because of the convenience of online shopping, people have been buying on a whim. Maybe you were just looking up something you need as a reference for your presentation, but you saw an ad about a sale flash on your screen. You found yourself browsing through the shop and adding items to your cart.
If you had been looking to buy those things for some time now, go ahead and proceed to payment. But if you realize you didn’t need them an hour before you started browsing, save yourself from the unnecessary expenses.