Online Shopping Tips to Avoid Problems!

Online shopping is the future

For many years now people have been claiming that online shopping will overtake brick-and-mortar shops, and in some industries it has. It’s not hard to see why — online shopping is often cheaper and almost always more convenient than in-store purchases.

However, this convenience and lower cost has its fair share of hidden pitfalls waiting to trap unwary buyers. Here are a few tips for truly getting the most out of your online purchases:

Look for Discount Codes

The joys of couponing are alive and well in the world of online shopping. Rather than printed barcodes, however, most online shops allow discount codes you can enter at the checkout to take a percentage off the total sale.

While some of these are unique, single-use codes designed for individuals, it’s often possible to find valid, evergreen discount codes for most sites through a simple Google search. You can also find some great time-sensitive ones that usually offer a greater discount, but you’ll be searching long and hard as they’re usually out of date by the time you find them.

A good way to make sure you get discount codes before they expire is to join the site’s mailing list. While nobody likes spam, most online businesses are careful not to flood you with emails for fear of bad PR. Instead they’ll usually send one e-newsletter a week, or maybe even only one a month, that contains news and often limited-offer discounts.

Be careful of delivery costs

Delivery prices can be a hidden nightmare when it comes to online shopping. Many stores are more than happy to charge a single delivery fee to cover multiple items. Others, however — particularly cheaper discount stores — will charge a unique delivery fee per individual item.

It’s also important to check the shipping rate itself. This is particularly important on a site like eBay, where you will often find an item listed for substantially less than other places only to realize there’s an inflated delivery cost. It’s not unusual to find some items selling with a hundred or more dollars worth of delivery fees attached.

Luckily it’s not unusual for places to offer free delivery for purchases over a certain amount, particularly within the US, such as what amazon.com regularly does.

Read the refund policy

One of the biggest deterrents for buying high-ticket-items online is the lack of customer support after the purchase is made. Major sites like Amazon offer good money-back return policies on many items: sites like eBay may or may not offer a return, depending on the seller.

Online electronics retailers are perhaps the worst affected by this. It’s always possible to find high-end electronics such as expensive cameras and televisions at seemingly unbelievable prices online, but there’s a cost to the saving: No store warranty or guarantee. With these sites, if anything goes wrong with the item you have to go through the company the makes the product itself, or perhaps worse, often through the manufacturer of a specific part.

This can lead to a long, stressful, roundabout process of trying to get an item fixed or refunded which can even end up costing you in delivery fees to have the item sent to and from the repairer.

Read online reviews

There are many dodgy businesses online. It’s relatively easy to set up a site to look like a legitimate business, take people’s money, and never deliver. If you’re not sure about a particular website, always, always check for any testimonials or reviews. You’ll usually find out pretty quickly if they’re legitimate or have a shockingly bad reputation. Don’t risk it.

Online shopping can be an amazing, convenient way to say money when you shop, but it’s unfortunately not always smooth sailing. Do a bit of research, exercise a bit of care, and you’ll come out the other side a happier and better off customer for it.