Online shopping has revolutionized the way we buy things today. You don’t have to get dressed up, brave nasty weather and drive around a parking lot for the better part of an hour to find a good spot. When you shop from your computer or smartphone, you save wear and tear on your car and your nerves. You can even wear your slippers if it makes you happy. As easy as it is to find what you want online, you can make it even easier and more secure with these six tips for a better shopping experience:
Shop from trusted online stores.
While the online marketplace has opened up an incredible array of stores worldwide for you to browse, not all of them offer the courteous service and customer protection of established name-brand shops. Look for companies that have handled online, catalog and mail-order sales for at least a few years; they should have a proven track record of pleasing shoppers throughout the country.
Password-protect your mobile devices if you’re shopping on the go.
While it’s convenient to store your billing and shipping information with online shops you frequently visit, using your smartphone or laptop without password protection could leave you vulnerable if you lose the device. By adding password protection to your phone or tablet, you might spend an extra few seconds typing in a password when you unlock the device, but you’ll gain peace of mind knowing your data is secure. Keeping everything together in a cell phone organizer can help you keep track of your phone too.
Read product descriptions carefully.
While online stores are happy to handle returns, it’s better if you get precisely what you expected in the first place. Note sizes, shapes and colors of everything you buy, especially if you’re buying clothing. Different manufacturers have different size charts, so unless you’re buying a scarf or wrap that fits every size, double-check the chart. Measure windows and walls before ordering items such as curtain rods, shelving units and window boxes.
Send information securely.
Secure sites’ web addresses or URLs will start with the letters “https” instead of “http” when you get to the payment information section. You might also see an icon on your browser bar that looks like a closed lock when you’re on a secure page. When you send information on a secure site, it’s encrypted, preventing hackers from getting sensitive information such as your credit card number or mailing address. For most sites, only the payment section is located on a secure site, so don’t worry if most of the site has a standard URL.
Comparison shop if you want to find great bargains.
It’s always a good idea to compare prices, but if you’re going to brick and mortar stores, you might spend more than you save. Shopping online makes comparisons easy, so take the time to check other online shops for a product you like.
Don’t forget shipping charges.
Check the costs for shipping and handling before you make a final decision on your shopping list. You may find yourself spending more than you’d intended if you reach your budget limit before calculating shipping expenses. Heavier items may have increased shipping charges too, so pay attention when ordering bulky or heavy items such as furniture or tool sets. In many cases, the bargain prices you pay online will more than offset shipping charges, but it’s still a good idea to factor shipping costs into your calculations when buying online.
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