There’s no doubt that the world is rapidly becoming digital, many businesses including companies, schools, churches and more are going digital. things are being done online now more than before leading steady increase in total number of internet users.
It took 4 years for the internet to reach 50 million users (according Magnify Skill), this appears a lot more impressive when you consider how long it took other technologies to reach the same user mark; TV took 13 years, while for the radio it took 38 years to get there.
By 2004, the internet attained 1 Billion user mark and quickly doubled that figure by 2011 (6 years). Currently, there are over 3.5 billion internet users (according to statista). That is to buttress how quickly the online world is growing.
Online shopping has contributed majorly not only to the growth of internet, but also to the growth of economy in many western world. Speaking of such, Amazon is currently the online shopping giant and considered one of the Big Four technology companies along with Google, Apple, and Facebook.
Amazon’s huge success has led to sprout of many other online shopping sites and there comes one of the common problems with shopping online; getting exactly what you paid for. In this post, we will be sharing 10 tips and practices that will help you shop more confidently online and get the best out of your online shopping.
10 Online Shopping Tips
i. Check for return policy
I always make sure to check return and warranty policy before buying any product via an online shopping site, this is especially important if you’re shopping for perishable or product with a given life span.
The return policy is usually located at the bottom of most online shopping site;
Not just checking for availability of return policy, It is good to go through the policy to be sure of
- how they handle returns
- how easy it is to request for return, refunds and repair
- warranty and exemption notes
- how long it takes to get your money back,
- other special product warranty
If everything about the company’s return meets your criteria, you can proceed to shop with them
ii. Read product description carefully
In a nutshell, product pictures can be really deceiving. If you fail to go through product description before purchasing, big chances are that you’ll end up buying what you don’t need. I’ve been a victim of this before when I shopped for Rubik’s cube;
I blatantly purchased miniature Rubik’s cube for kids below 5 years old because I didn’t bother to read the product’s description, I only went with the pictures. It was until I received the product and got really pissed, I quickly logged on to the site to file a complain before I saw it was clearly stated in the description that it was mini cube for kid, that was when it dawned on me how helpless I was.
It is very important you read product description carefully and select the product’s variant that best suits your need before proceeding to checkout. So if the product happen not to be what the seller stated, you can rightful open a dispute.
iii. Read through user reviews
User reviews is undoubtedly a good way of making sure you’re buying the right product, this is where people who have purchased and used the product you want to buy come back to leave comments about the product and it is very important in online shopping.
You might be wondering; ‘what if the product I want to purchase has no user reviews yet?’
What I normally do in this case is I search for exactly the same product on another online store and see if it has gotten any reviews and how good or bad are the reviews.
This might be a good way to know if you’re shopping for the right thing online, user review comes handy when I don’t trust the sellers description.
iv. Try cash on delivery
Pay or cash on delivery is one way of making sure you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for while shopping online but the downside of it is that big online shopping sites don’t support this means of payment, probably due to the risks attached to it.
One of the challenges with payment on delivery is that it makes the seller vulnerable to losses which occurs when the buyer returns the product without payment. The seller must have spent all the money for delivering the product, but ultimately it got rejected, this means revenue loss for the store.
There has been precedence of fraudulent activities in case of pay on delivery as there is usually no authenticity of the available customer information, the chances of fraud become more.
The good part is that some, especially local online shopping sites (the ones within your region) still support cash on delivery, feel free to try out this option.
v. Check seller rating
Big online shopping like Amazon, AliExpress, eBay, Gearbest and other Chinese online shopping sites have made it easy for people to create stores on their website where they can sell their own good and other retail products.
Whenever you’re shopping with any of the big online stores, be sure to observe the seller’s rating and what other customers are saying about the seller. Take note of;
- Quality of products they’re offering
- How fast the seller processes order
- How well the seller communicates with customers
- After purchase support
vi. Compare product price
This is practically comparing the product’s price with the price of the same product on another online stores. When the price is too good to be true, it is usually not true. It is nice to do a quick comparison of the product’s price also when you feel the price is over hiked by the seller.
Speaking of price hiking, this is very synonymous with Instagram dropshippers; they monopolize a less popular product making you think they’re the only ones selling it and hereby offer it at about x5 of the normal price. You’ll be amazed at how cheap the product is on big online stores.
I always do price comparison before making purchase online because, just like everyone else, I love affordable shopping. That’s also why I use available coupon codes for more discounts.
vii. Check for wide selection of the product you want to buy
Having a good selection of products to choose from is very essential when it comes to online shopping, it helps you to not settle for substandard product and also saves you from settling for what’s totally different from what you had in mind.
For example; Say you want to buy Blue color variant of the Honor 10 Lite from Gearbest but they only have the Black color model, you might be forced to change your preferred color choice which will lead you to buying something different from what you want.
viii. Check quality of customer service
Top notch customer care service should be priority when you’re looking to make purchase online, nobody wants to buy from online shopping sites that takes days to respond to their customers.
Or online stores that makes it difficult for their customers to get in touch, poor communication between customers and online shopping site can be really devastating and nobody like to be in that state.
So be sure to know how you can easily get in touch with an online shopping site’s representative before placing an order with them.
ix. Check online store’s customer review
It is important to know what others are saying about a particular online shopping site before getting involved with them. This includes how well they’ve handled previous disputes with their customers and overall product quality of the store.
You can use some online review website like Trustpilot to check for customer reviews on any online shopping site, here’s how you can do this;
Step 1: Go to trustpilot.com and search for the online store of your choice
Step 2: Click on the store’s URL as it pops up and you’ll be taken to the site’s review page.
As you can see from the screenshots, we used Gearbest for example and their overall rating says “Great” which means they’re safe to shop with, you can scroll further down on the page to see people’s comments. See top gearbest coupons on this page.
x. Check for refund policy
Sometimes, just having return policy is not enough, also see if the online shopping site has money back guaranty. I normally prefer to have my money back whenever I’m requesting for a return but some online shops don’t offer this option.
If you also prefer to have your money back other than a replacement, then ensure that the site you’re shopping has money back included in their return policy. We explain how you can see a shopping site’s return policy above.
Online shopping is quite fun, convenient and intriguing, one major reason why the majority of online shoppers choose to buy items online is the level of convenience that online shopping offers.
According to research by Entrepreneur; Shopping sites statistics point out that 58% of internet shoppers say that they buy online because of the 24/7 availability of the service. If you decide that you want a mug with a picture of your cat in the middle of the night, there’s nothing to stop you from ordering it right there and then, and have it delivered in less than 24 hours.
All these makes online shopping interesting but not getting what you ordered is the fun killer. By applying these online shopping tips, you’ll be sure of getting great online shopping experience. Do you have your own tip that we didn’t mention, let us know in the comment section.