Online shopping can be an incredibly freeing and convenient experience. After all, it can be done without full dress, in-person sales pressures, parking and travel woes, or any of the other drawbacks to traditional, brick-and-mortar shopping excursions. However, there are a handful of pitfalls online shoppers should keep in mind to be sure that the experience is always a great one. Here are eight quick tips for every online shopper to consider.
1- Rely on Familiarity
When it’s possible to, relying on familiarity can greatly limit risks. This is with regard to matters of trust and security as much as product/service familiarity. Therefore, shopping and utilizing websites you already know can often limit the possibilities of unforeseen frustrations.
2- Exercise Due Diligence
Sometimes, it’s necessary to do business with a website or online company which we’ve no prior knowledge or experience. By exercising due diligence in these situations, the online shopper can also limit the potential for future headaches. Utilizing trusted review sites, the resources of the Better Business Bureau and even word of mouth can thus help to educate before business is done and money exchanged.
3- Utilize Coupons and Codes
It’s easy to overlook, but many websites and companies offer an abundance of cost-saving, crowd-drawing incentives to shop their particular wares. These great savings opportunities often come by way of coupons and codes which are entered at the website upon checkout. Look for these codes at the company website or call their customer service phone line and just ask. Many companies will offer additional consideration, even honoring expired offers in some cases, in order to gain the sale and the inquiring party as a customer.
4- Avoid Public WiFi
Shopping online virtually always relies on digital transfer of banking info. While there are many ways, including failing to utilize antivirus protections, to create vulnerability, using public wifi for such transactions can be a particularly ill-fated choice. Information transmitted here is much more vulnerable and available to others, so if possible, it’s best to get to a trusted internet source before buying or sharing personal/banking info. If using such a connection is a must, the Federal Trade Commission provides some helpful insights on the matter here.
5- Utilize Trusted “Cash-Back” Sites
There are a growing number of websites today that actually reward provable purchases on various websites and through select companies. “Ebates” is among the most trusted in this market right now. By signing up with such a program, the company essentially benefits in areas of market research by further understanding purchases, and the shopper then gains rewards, often monetary, in return for their otherwise typical shopping activities.
6- Smart Password Management
Passwords and identity verification stops are a constant matter of life for the online shopper. While these necessities can quickly become burdensome and frustrating, there are ways to better manage, store, and create passwords. As to creation, it’s often reported that complex phrases provide the strongest passwords. With regard to storage and management, a simple text document on a separate storage device, a handwritten diary safely stored at home, or even a number of trusted electronic password management programs can be utilized for maximum effect.
7- Shop When Clear-Headed
Presence of mind truly is everything. For example, one could truly memorize and otherwise heed all tips cited here, but a moment of online shopping whilst not in the clearest of capacities can undo it all. Shopping and good decisions made therein are always best attempted when we are at our mental best.
8- Know Ideal Buying Times
Over the years, a lot of research has been conducted into what products and services sell the best and at what specific times. As a result, certain market patterns have become well-known – at least to those who take the time to research a little. As it turns out, Mondays are typically best for electronics purchases, while Wednesdays yield the best jewelry and grocery deals, and the weekends typically boast the big appliance savings.
Online shopping truly is a paradise if you know some of the basic things to keep in mind while doing it. On the other hand, ill-advised decisions in this area can also bring some terrible regret. With these eight quick tips, every online shopper’s experience is much more likely to be a bounty than a bust.