Online Shopping: Things You Need To Be Aware Of
Shopping Online has become an important part of our everyday life. Virtual stores allow people to shop in the comfort of their homes without the pressure of sales staff. The online market provides a new and more convenient place to exchange almost all kinds of goods and services. Both businesses and customers regard online sales as a cheaper and more convenient way to shop. However, as with everything related to the Internet, online shopping has benefits and risks.
Advantages of Online Shopping
Searching for discounts is undoubtedly one of the biggest advantages of e-commerce. It avoids salespeople and sometimes aggressive crowds, all from the comfort of your couch. In addition, it is easier to browse the latest sales at once than to browse the shelves.
With online reviews, you can easily obtain internal information about the product or store you are interested in. This also benefits small businesses. According to the 2020 local consumer reviews survey conducted by marketing consulting firm BrightLocal, 87% of consumers read online reviews of local businesses.
No Shipping Charges
According to a recent survey by BigCommerce, headquartered in Austin, Texas, free shipping drives more sales. 84% of respondents stated that they made a purchase specifically because of free shipping, and 77% of consumers stated that they gave up their purchase because of the “unsatisfactory” delivery method. Amazon Prime is a valuable option for many Attractive services because your free shipping is guaranteed.
Online Shopping Disadvantages
Many return policies usually require you to pay for refunds and purchase fees, even for defective items. If the company does not provide you with a return shipping label, you will have to pay out-of-pocket costs through the postal service.
Sales tax and other expenses
Not all products purchased online are taxable, but general goods such as jewelry and clothing are taxable. In addition, international and interstate transportation costs may make the purchase more expensive. For example, when you purchase on Etsy, a popular e-commerce site for global manufacturers and creators, sellers must pay a 5% transaction fee, which can be added to the price of the item they purchase.
High probability of fraud
Beware of websites that require more personal information, not just your name, address, and credit card number. According to data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there were 4.8 million reports of identity theft and fraud in 2020, most of which occurred online. If an online website asks you to provide information such as a social security number or bank account number, it will usually display a red number. Point out that the place you purchased is unreliable and you may become a victim of fraud.
Make the most of online shopping skills
Online shopping thrives on the desire for convenience but is often overshadowed by failure. To ensure that your e-commerce experience is positive, please consider the following actions.
One of the disadvantages of not visiting the store in person is that you have a digital relationship with the business, rather than having a face-to-face experience with the store owner. Therefore, it is important to know who you are buying from and to determine all the necessary details of the product you want to buy. Regardless of the service you use, please read the detailed rules regarding the return policy, taxes, and any other fees. In many cases, if you buy directly instead of through a third-party source, you can reduce the cost of additional fees.
Protect yourself from fraud
If you suspect suspicious activity on your account, please check with your bank for verification first. Then, contact the FTC, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or your state’s consumer protection agency to file a complaint. It is recommended to always pay online by credit card because credit cards usually provide a zero liability policy and you are not responsible for most fraudulent charges.
Tips for saving money on online shopping
In addition to preventing fraud, identity theft, and returns, you can also adjust your habits and improve the way you save money on online shopping. If you are a non-resident, there will be tax-free shopping weekends in 16 states in 2021, where you can buy necessities such as clothes, school supplies, and shoes for free. Taxes are levied based on possible shipping costs.
Using coupon-based apps to combine credit cards with rewards portals, or in stores that offer cash back rewards, doubles the effect when combined with money-saving apps. For online shopping, some apps can track every purchase you make online, so you can view your delivery status in real-time on the map. It is also beneficial to save all email receipts and subsequent updates in a specific folder of the email account. This way, if you decide to return something, you can easily access the label.