Thursday, January 4, 2018

Nine Mistakes That Online Shoppers Are Guilty Of

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Buy what you want with just a click. Online shopping has become a great convenience. You can search and shop for almost anything from anywhere around the world from the confines of your room. As convenient as shopping online is, it does not mean you should click “buy” before adequately educating yourself. Here are some mistakes to avoid to ensure a safe and satisfying online shopping experience:

1. Not Shopping Around

Once you see an item that you like, would you buy it straight away? Why not search further for a better price and save. In the current competitive market, online retailers tend to offer products at more attractive prices. By spending a fair amount of time looking through various online stores, you can, not only compare prices, but also gather more information like delivery time and shipping costs to help you make a more informed purchase decision.

2. Forgetting to Search for and Shop with a Coupon

Coupon codes are a great way to save money. Why pay full price when you can save a percent off your product? The majority of online stores offer these money-saving codes, which can be found with just a quick search. Some websites like iPrice, readily provide their coupons by highlighting it on their homepage so that consumers can easily find and use them.

3. Skipping Reviews

There is no greater fury than a customer scorned, either by a bad product or bad service experience. Many tend to make their displeasure known online. However, it is also the forum for those satisfied with their purchase to give praise to their favourite product. Bloggers and vloggers are readily available to provide useful information like how-to-use the product and their opinions after using the product. Always read reviews on the item that you intend to purchase. This can give you better insights on the product quality, what the product is used for and user experience.

As there are many opinions out there, one way to avoid being overwhelmed by it all, is to look out for the three-star reviews. These tend to offer more pros and cons, whereas five-star reviews could be inflated and those with one-star could just be from customers who are never happy.

4. Purchasing from Unknown or Insecure Sites

An important part of online shopping is to be able to trust the website. You can get clues about the security by entering the company’s website url in the browser. A good indication is if url begins with https rather than http, the added 's' shows that it is a secure site. Another clue to look for is 'padlock icon' before the website’s address indicating that the site uses encryption to ensure security. One more clue, you can get if website is secured with SSL certificate such as (Extended Validation) EV SSL of Comodo and that clue is you can also see business/company name in the browser. A good rule of thumb is not to purchase anything from suspicious looking or unknown websites – let alone linger on one. Such websites pose high potential in not only messing up your order but worse of all, compromising your credit card or debit card information.

5. Not Using Your Credit Card

Shopping online with a debit card will help limit your spending as you can only shop with the amount you have in your bank account. However, using a debit card runs a higher risk of identity theft and hackers being able to access your personal bank account and money. Should hackers gain access to your bank account, getting your money back will be difficult and in some cases, you may be forced to close your account.

Using credit cards to shop online is generally more secure than debit cards. With the rise in identity theft and fraud, credit cards offer better consumer protection against unauthorised transactions. Some avid online shoppers even use a separate credit card for all their online shopping. With this, any would-be hacker would have access to that one credit card and a call to the credit card provider would help remedy the situation.

A good habit to practice is to review your credit card statements regularly and keep a track of all your transactions. Should you spot anything that should not be on your bill, do contact the credit card provider immediately.

6. Making Online Purchases on Public Wi-Fi Connections
While shopping over public wi-fi at a café or other public areas may be a good way to pass the time, it is not recommended due to security reasons. Such public wi-fi access areas are often not properly secured and can be easily compromised by hackers. Your personal information and credit card details are at risk. So, it is best to do your online shopping when at home or on a secure private network.

7. Not Reading the Return Policy

Found the item that you were looking for, bought it with just one click and discovered that it was not the correct size. Only then to find out that it is stated in the terms and conditions that the item cannot be returned nor exchangeable once sold. A common mistake but a frustrating one.

When shopping for clothes and shoes, always be aware that different retailers, brand and model has the potential to be different. Checking size charts can give you a better idea of how different garments fit. Keep a reminder of your current measurements and typical sizes by your favourite retailer near your computer for quick reference while shopping online.

As good practice, do go through the return policy of each online retailer before you make your purchase.

8. Getting Caught in the Free Trial Trap

As retailers are always eager to keep you updated and informed of the latest promotion or trends, any online shopper regularly receives promotions and free trial offers. This makes signing up for membership or newsletters easy. If you do so, just ensure that the membership perks or the offers are genuine and they are benefits that you will actually use.

Be especially wary of free trials that require your credit card details. Some retailers may sign you up for a long-term subscription without your consent.

9. Falling for “Attractive” Deals and “Exciting” E-mail Links

A majority of consumers at some point of their shopping experience can admit to have fallen for the “attractive and exciting discounts” which one can enjoy by just signing up the retailers’ online form. However, this is followed by a daily influx of emails proclaiming a never-ending slew of offers and discounts. Such emails can tempt you to spend more, turning one purchase into several more.

If you really want to have updates on the latest sales and promotions, one suggestion is to use a separate email account so that you can check your inbox periodically and not have them be a distraction many times in a day.

Online shopping can mean a world of discounts, infinite number of products (and brands) and an easy purchase experience. But if it compromises your personal information, identity and budget, keep in mind these pitfalls mentioned to avoid long term repercussions. By all means, do search, compare prices and save with great deals in order to enjoy a good and safe shopping experience.


Azhann Rosmin

With a deep love of story-telling and literature, Azhann enjoys writing as much as a kid enjoys ice-cream. With a full and fluent grasp of the English language, he writes almost as good as he spins stories of gasps and awe.

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