Online Shopping. Never has there been a consumer method so fraught with success, convenience, and peril all at once.
With everything seemingly at your fingertips in the comfort of your home (or anywhere, really), you can navigate the nuances of the retail environment with ease.
Still, there are rules.
EveryGuyed has assembled some helpful tips for shopping online that are sure to make your journey through the digital retail landscape all the more enjoyable.
Do Your Research
Just like shopping in the real world, the two main things you’ll want to consider are price and fit. Price is obviously the benefit of online, comparison shopping is easier by mouse than by foot. The trade-off online is sizing, but with a bit of research, you should be able to find the right fit.
One of the great successes of the online shopping environment is that you can look at the same item at any number of sites in order to compare cost; something you can’t do as quickly, or easily, in a mall.
Sure, you get that same sense of urgency when you see something that you got to have, but as little as five minutes spent cruising comparable items and sites can yield huge savings for very little effort.
Make sure you do some research in terms of sizing, since many sites are likely to charge you for returns. There’s nothing worse than getting that item in the mail only to find out it fits your waistline 10 years ago.
A good comprehensive retail site should have all the dimensions you need, and if they don’t, go to the manufacturers site and check.
Another great option here is to shop out in the real world, find the items you like and know fit, and then scour the web for them after.
So you found a great item at a great price and you know you want to buy it, there’s just one thing, is their website great too?
We’re not trying to scare you into thinking that every site is a scam in the making, but you need to be careful, and one of the easiest ways is to just look at the site.
The more comprehensive, styled, and informative it is, the more likely it’s legitimate.
Look for icons of major credit card vendors, PayPal, and secure checkout services.
Also, do a quick Google search of the company name, if it’s a scam, rest assured people will be spreading the word and you’ll find articles on it.
Once you’re in the process of buying it, a good site will give you a chance to examine the total cost, including processing fees, shipping, and other potential additions.
Often if you’re goods are coming from out of country, shipping fee’s can skyrocket, and big ticket items like electronics and designer shoes can be tacked with a heavy duty when they cross your border.
Sadly, sometimes you just have to accept that you can’t afford an item once all these costs are tallied. Take your time to look into them, since you might end up spending more than you thought you were saving.
A good rule of thumb is the bigger the retailer, the better the return policy.
So that obscure little online shop where you found a great deal probably isn’t going to accept your sob story or an email when your clothes don’t fit like you imagined.
Not that they won’t take them back, but refunds are often subject to fees, and exchanges mean that you’ll probably pick up the tab for shipping the item back.
The more expensive an item is, the more people look to the Internet to find sweet deals.
This means that the luxury goods market on the Internet is positively riddled with fakes.
Even legitimate retailers have been caught selling goods that were counterfeit, without their knowledge.
The only way to protect yourself here is to buy these big ticket items in person. You’ll probably part with a little more cash than if you buy online, but you know it’s real, and luxury retailers also put a lot of effort into their retail experience, so enjoy it, and your piece of mind.
- Do Your Research: check multiple sites, and look to manufacturers to list certified retailers of their goods
- Consider the Real Costs: Shipping fees, exchange fees, and duty/taxes all add up, always consider the total you’ll end up spending, not the sticker price.
- Beware of Fakes: The more coveted and expensive an item is, the more it is counterfeited. The only safe way to ensure it’s legit is to buy it at an authorized retailer, online or in person.
Use the following forums to verify authenticity…
Got a shipping fee fiasco story? A favorite site for great deals? A counterfeit horror story? Let us and the EveryGuyed community know!