There isn't anything like shopping online as far as selection and price are concerned. If you don't know what you are doing, though, online shopping can be risky and expensive. Read the information and tips presented here to be a well-prepared and savvy online shopper.
When shopping online, it is critical that you spend a little time looking into the site that you are considering buying from. You can find information about the site from other sites and the Better Business Bureau. Not researching them could lead to you getting the products you did not order or getting billed more than you should have.
Never try to shop directly from a link someone sent you in an email, unless it's a widely known and respected site, like Amazon.com. Too many consumers get tricked into scams via hyperlinks in questionable emails. Visit the URL of the site mentioned in the mail, instead of clicking the link itself.
When you're shopping online you have to be sure that you know who you're buying from. If you're buying on an online auction site, only buy from people that have positive feedback. On other sites look to see if they are a reputable company by looking for reviews on them online.
If a website is not secure, do not make a purchase. Simply look up at the web address when you are shopping. If you notice an "https" instead of an "http," you can feel confident enough to insert your credit card information. However, if there is no "s" in the address, move on to a different site to be on the safe side.
If you shop frequently at a certain website or online store, it may be worth it to sign up for their email updates which usually have special offers and sales. This can translate into savings for you as you may get a discount on the item or even free shipping, which can add up to bigger savings if you buy from the site often.
Be careful where you submit your credit card information. When you are shopping online, always use secure sites. These are sites that have taken steps to protect your valuable information. A secured website will begin with HTTPS instead of the standard HTTP. There will also be a locked icon, either in your address or status bar, depending on which browser you use.
Make it a habit to register for price alerts. This goes even for purchases that you've recently made. Price alerts will let you know when a product has dropped to a price you like. And if you've recently purchased at full price, you can ask for a price adjustment to meet the new deal.
When shopping online, always stop to read product reviews. Other customer's reviews are one of your biggest assets. They will tell you whether clothing sizes run small or large, if there are any common issues with a product, or if it isn't quite what the website describes. Taking these reviews into account could save you some big headaches later on.
Discount websites are the best places to get deals when shopping online. Websites like Overstock.com get their merchandise from manufacturers that were unable to sell their products at retail stores. This is how they are able to sell their products so cheaply. Try to make purchases through these sites before looking at "normal" sites.
Look for an address and phone number for any retailer before you pull out your credit card and make a purchase with them. There are many people that will take your information and use it fraudulently, so you have to be very careful. Even if everything else looks legitimate, avoid any sites that don't have contact information.
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Sometimes you can get the best deals by buying directly from the manufacturer. Not only will it bring you peace of mind as you are buying direct from the source, but many manufacturers offer discounts and coupons which you can use or get at retailers like Walmart, Amazon or Target.
If you plan to buy on eBay, remember to do your research. First, check out the seller's feedback and make sure he's been around for at least a year and that he's doing a good job as a seller. Check out shipping costs and the details of the item as well - especially if it is used or not.
Learn about the store's return policy. Sometimes when you order online there is a possibility that you will want to return or exchange an item. If that is something that may happen, find out what the store's policies are so you do not end up being disappointed with an item you don't want.
Use search sites geared towards shopping. It is easy to "Google" a product, but a nightmare to sort through all the results. When you use shopping specific engines like Shopstyle, you can search based off criteria centered around shopping. You can do searches focused on brands, styles and specific sizes, thus narrowing your results and saving time.
Before making any type of online purchases, you should read the fine print very carefully. This means that you should be clear about how much is going to be charged before you confirm anything. Tax and transaction fees are sometimes added to the price after you decide to make a purchase.
If you're reluctant to shop with your credit card information, try using prepaid credit cards. These cards can be used anywhere that a regular credit card can be used. You simply have to register the card before you start using it. That way, you don't have to worry that anything will happen to your bank account or credit card.
Search various deal sites for coupon codes that you can use when you are shopping online. There really is no point in spending more money that you have to on something that you want, and many retailers send out special codes to their best customers that can be used by anyone that can find it.
If you think the prices for an item in store may be cheaper than the prices online, think about what you'll spend in gas. It may not be worth it to drive out to a store just to save a few dollars. This is especially true for stores that offer free shipping.
As you can see, there are many advantages to shopping online. The benefits are great to those who are home-bound, live in remote areas or those who who hate going into stores and dealing with crowds. One words of warning though, it can be easily addicting and you will find yourself mesmerized by a world of products and items that you never even knew you needed.