8 things to remember while shopping online
Shopping online is as easy as it gets (unless, the e-commerce websites of the world turn into a genie). All you have to do is browse through a wide range of products and pick what you need, pay for it. Then, you just wait for a few days and your order is delivered to you. No more going to the market, checking if it’s available or not, haggling for it with the shopkeeper and then, end up buying it with a gloomy face.
There is a reason these e-commerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart have such a huge turnover. Everyone wants to shop online; everyone wants to get the best discounts and everyone wants the quickest deliveries.
But with shopping online, comes the risk of buying counterfeit or bad quality products. The tried-and-tested method of checking it out at the shop in the person hasn’t quite translated itself virtually. At the present, if you don’t like what you have received, the best you can do is return it and order an exchange. But that’s a lengthy process and certainly something that people who order online are up for.
That’s why you need to keep these things in mind while shopping online.
And before I forget, get discount coupons here to make savings at Amazon, whatever you pick to buy. After all, saving on things is why we buy them online, right?
Things to remember while shopping online
1. Read product details carefully
Wherever you’re shopping online, whatever you’re planning to buy, go through all the information provided about it. For example, if you’re planning to buy a particular phone, then, check its specifications and other information. Most e-commerce websites have the option where you can compare similar products.
And don’t, I repeat, don’t skip the warranty information that is provided along with the product. If you are not able to see all this basic information, then, the seller providing the product can’t be trusted.
2. Comparing products
I talked about comparing products on the same website. Well, even before that, you should search the same exact product on various e-commerce website. Just type the product name on your browser and look into every store that provides it.
Often, the price of the same product varies over different websites. Some websites might deliver it sooner than the others. And watch out for any sales going on.
Even on a particular website, a product can be provided by different sellers with different price-delivery combinations. So, see what website and seller suits you the best and order accordingly.
3. Buying from genuine websites
When buying from a roadside stall compared to a mall, you are always worried about the authenticity of the item. Same goes with shopping online as well. You should refrain from shopping at websites that aren’t known, that aren’t verified by your browser and your antivirus. Not only do these websites cause harm to your PC/phone, but they also often sell fakes.
Ever come upon a deal that sets your eyes alight? There’s a chance that it might be too good to be true. Shop at genuine, verified e-commerce websites which still value the customers’ faith.
4. Customer reviews
Customer reviews are a great parameter to judge products online before buying them. At the start, you can see the average rating of different products to see which one is actually good. But if you’re seriously considering a product, a deep scan of the customer reviews is recommended.
And while you’re looking at the reviews, do check the sample size of the reviews. If it’s too small (say, 5-10), then, the product might not be very popular on the e-commerce website. In such a case, it can be risky to order it.
As a practice, while reading reviews for a product, I always start with the worst ones (the 1-star ratings). These reviews usually paint a real picture of the product’s quality.
5. Secure payment methods
One of the biggest issues with online shopping is the payment mechanism. The best e-commerce websites have the most secure of payment gateways. Plus, they provide an incentive to pay online with various bank discounts and offers. With the rise of e-wallets like PhonePe and Paytm, it becomes ever more critical for customers to watch how they are paying online.
A two-factor authentication is recommended so that you can stop any fraudulent payments from happening.
6. Personal Information
While registering at an e-commerce website, they ask for certain personal information like name, phone number, address, email-id and more which is okay to give. But if they ask for more sensitive information like pan number, bank details, etc., then, you might want to reconsider shopping at that website.
On the internet, your sensitive info can so easily be hacked and misused by people. You can do nothing other than being vigilant while providing information at a website. Question yourself- “Why are they asking me for this information?”
7. Customer’s rights
As a customer at an e-commerce website, it’s essential that you know your rights before you buy anything. Go through the company’s terms and conditions carefully and also check out the return & refund policy of the website. In case of any damaged goods, it’s crucial that you know all this.
Usually, these websites don’t accept a return of their products after a specific number of days or if the product’s been used. So, check these terms and buy accordingly.
8. Shipping costs
Usually when you make bulk purchases at any e-commerce site, they provide free shipping to you. But if it’s a small order, you might want to check how much its delivery is going to cost you. If you live at a faraway location, the order’s delivery charges might be higher. Certain products are not available that easily and take longer to be delivered.
Websites like Amazon and Flipkart also provide premium services that you can subscribe to and get faster, free deliveries.
Depending on how cheaply and how urgently you need that particular product, you can check and compare at different websites.
So, these are a few things that you should keep in mind while shopping online. Online shopping is not 100 percent risk-free but you can minimize the risk by following these steps. After all, we are going to shop online no matter what. We just want to get the best deal possible.
Story by Anushka Oza