Sunday, October 7, 2012

Shopping Online
Online shopping is one of my favourite things about the age that we live in. Shopping online is shopping from the comfort of your own home (or anywhere else for those who have a portable computer) and is a blessing to those who live in small towns that just haven't got the range of physical shops that a city does. While shopping online can be fun, it can sometimes be a little confusing and difficult for shoppers to know exactly what they are buying. I've written this article to help make things a little simpler.
I think the thing that scares most people away from online shopping is that they are scared the site won't be genuine and that they will be giving someone access to their personal details and money. I think this is a silly reason to discard the possibility of buying something online because there are so many measures you can take to ensure that the site you are using is safe.
How to tell a Site is safe:
-If the site has a "Veri-sign trusted" logo on it. (not all trust-worthy sites have one on the home page)
-If it is a well-known site. If people you know have used it and they got what they were supposed to get, then it should be trust-worthy
-The web-design looks legitimate. A site that looks cheap and tacky is probably not a good place to spend your money.
-If you add an item to your cart and click on the "checkout" button, you should be taken to a new page where the URL now says "https" instead of "http". (Note: this is only after clicking on the "checkout" button.
-Sellers on ebay and etsy should have a feedback rating.
When buying clothes, the sizing can be hard to follow. There is Chinese sizing, American sizing, UK sizing and a few "One-size" items. The easiest thing with the sizing is to check a size chart and use a tape measure. "One size" normally means "One-size" in china and "small" in other countries. So be sure to read the fine print. Also, because sizing can be difficult there are some things that should just not be bought online. Unless the seller has a good return policy things like bras (unless they are the stretchy sports-bra kind), shoes or any garments that are very fitted should probably stay out of the shopping cart.
I tend to buy things that stretch, because they can possibly stretch to fit me, things that are meant to be loose fitting (because they allow more room for sizing discrepancies), skirts/pants with elastic or drawstring waists, And accessories (because bags, scarves, earrings, necklaces and belts don't actually have to fit).
To ensure that you get what you paid for be sure to read up on all the details about the item and look at all the pictures. Look at the weight/measurements of the item, find out what is or isn't included, if you are buying a DVD check the region is compatible with your DVD player and remember that the colours aren't going to be exactly the same as those on your screen. I like sites that offer plently of pictures of the item (if it's a bag, I want to know what the inside looks like. I like to see the back of a dress that I'm buying.) and specifications, this way I can be sure that I am getting exactly what I want to get.

Learining to use search filters can help you find exactly what you want in shorter time than what it would normally take you to scroll through everything. I normally use the category filters (eg womens clothing>skirts) and price filters (Eg. price +postage= lowest). The trick with filters is to not over do-it (if you select too many filters you will narrow your selection an awful lot), but to narrow it down enough that you can find what you want to find.
So you've picked out ten items at reasonable prices only to discover that it's an overseas site and it's going to cost you $20 to ship it to your town... If you divide the shipping cost between the items is it still reasonable? Before you start shopping I suggest you check out the shipping cost (there should be a table or a calculator to enter your post code into) and the return policy. Some sites offer free postage on orders over a certain amount, and some online stores offer an "in-store pick-up" option where you can pick up your parcel from your nearest store of that name. As for return policies; if the item is able to be "picked-up in-store" then you can possibly return it in-store too. Clearance items might not be returnable. And, some sites will allow you to return something, but you'll have to pay the postage to send it back.
This depends on the site. I normally use paypal, but some sites only allow a Visa card (credit card or a prepaid visa) or a gift card for the store. Some sites also have the option of B-pay.
The Internet is the best place to shop around, because it's so convenient. Rather than having to travel back and forth (physically) between shops, customers can have two windows open at once (or three or five or seven...) to compare prices online. I've found that while some sites do have really cool stuff, they aren't sites that I can afford to buy from, so I look at what stuff they've got for sale and I look at it elsewhere.
Buy giving feedback (or "reviewing" the item- as it's called on some sites) you are helping yourself, and other possible future customers of the online shop in question. This is your chance to tell the store whether or not you were pleased with your purchase and what they could do to improve their store.
Before reviewing or giving feedback, contact the seller/store. Some supplier's will try their best to ensure that your needs are met, and that you don't need to give negative feedback. If the seller can not offer you a postage-free return or money-back, then you are entitled to negative feedback. If you can't get the item back to the seller, you could sell it on a facebook buy/swap site, give it to someone who can use it (as a present maybe) OR, donate it to charity.
Sometimes shopping online can feel a bit unreal. Because, you can't physically touch the items or feel the money leaving your hands it might feel more like some sort of game than reality. Please remember: Online shopping is real. You are purchasing things. You are spending money. Don't let it get out-of-hand.
Some of these are Australian.
For clothes-
For Jewellery-
For accesories, books and homewares-
For CDs and DVDs (and guitar tuners) -
For Books, CDs and DVDs-
My Favourite online department stores- and
Clothes and Accesories -
Clothes and Accesories-
1. Is the site secure?
2. What's the shipping cost/ return policy?
3. What payment method do they take?
4. What's the sizing like?
5. What are the item specs?
6. Compare prices to other stores
7. review cart; Do I really want all of these items?
8. Purchase
1. Am I happy with product?
2. Do I want to keep it or am I going to return it? (skip step three if keeping it)
3. contact seller and arrange return. If item cannot be returned organise to sell or giveaway item.
4. give feedback.
So that's it. My guide to shopping online.
Your Favourite Blogger,



Anonymous said...

I really appreciate this post. I have been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thx again

Bryan Douglas said...

When online shopping was new, many people had doubts about it. That’s natural, it’s because back then scamming was a whole lot easier. Today, many companies, small or big, have their own online shopping. This means that having an effective e-commerce system is now part of a company’s advertising campaign. You wouldn’t want to buy from someone online if their system’s a mess, right?