The Ins and Outs of Online Shopping
Whether you are a novice online shopper or an old pro at it, know that there are both good and bad aspects to clicking and buying via the Internet. Read on to discover what’s hot about online retail — and where you can get burned!
Shopping online is easy
Online shopping has revolutionized the way we make purchases. No more long lines at the checkout counter, hours circling the mall for a parking space or awkward dressing room moments. Now you can enjoy an afternoon of shopping from the comfort of your sofa in front of your computer.
Shopping online actually makes it very easy to purchase products. With a world of stores at your fingertips, it’s simple to compare prices and feel confident that you are getting the best price available.
One downside to online commerce is that you can’t touch and feel the products the way you can in a store. But great photography and reviews of product specifics from consumers can help you get a handle on what’s in your online shopping cart.
Another great benefit to online shopping Web sites is that many of them pull in the best products from across the Internet so you only have to search one site. Companies like Amazon, Overstock and Nextag let you look for everything from books to clothing to electronics all in one place. Plus a good Google search can lead you to just about any product you’d want to buy online.
You get dibs on deals
Once you’ve mastered navigating the online stores and making purchases, it’s time to get smart about your shopping. Discounts and deals are advertised in a multitude of places, so make sure you are in the know about how to find the best prices. One strategy is to sign up for newsletters and Facebook alerts from your favorite stores. These notifications will often feature special deals available only to online shoppers.
Also be aware that certain days of the week are known as the cheapest days for buying specific products online. Need new underwear? Log in on Saturdays for inexpensive intimate apparel, for instance. You can also sign up for services like Shop It To Me that publish great deals on designer brands. Some companies offer VIP programs that feature free next-business-day shipping and exclusive online discounts. Another tip is to do an online search for coupon codes for the online stores at which you are shopping. This can bring you unexpected savings on items you were already planning to buy.
There are so many ways to save while shopping online that people have written books with tips and tricks! If you do a little homework, you’ll be saving money all over the Internet.
Remember to watch your bucks
Now that you know the ins and outs of shopping and saving online, you also need to understand the pitfalls of online shopping. Problems like compulsive spending, credit card fraud and unexpected shipping costs can derail even the most accomplished shopper. These challenges can all be managed, however, with preparation:
- Know who you are buying from, and read return policies and customer information closely.
- Print or save copies of your receipts just in case you have an issue with your order.
- Make a budget and stick to it, so you won’t be tempted to overspend with a few extra clicks here and there.
- Stay focused when you shop online and know exactly what you are looking for.
- Finally, choose to shop with reputable retailers that offer secure Web sites to help protect you from credit card fraud.
Online shopping can be a huge time and money saver when you shop with a plan!
Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Morgan Lane Photography