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Online shopping is on trend, and almost everyone with a laptop and an internet connection might have tried it. Are you a smart shopper? This article describes the tips to be a smart shopper along with the merits and demerits of online shopping.
Introduction With the development of technology, and with the introduction of portable gadgets, more, and more online shops/websites are coming up. Thanks to the internet, that with the help of it people can manage to buy stuff sitting at home. Yes, this has added to our laziness, but it is convenient too. Actually, shopping has become much easier with the introduction of online shopping. Everything from food to cloth to tickets to gold is available in online shops. This has helped us to meet our needs even during our busy schedules. Well, it is not a perfect thing to do online shopping always and for every product. Like everything, it also has two sides. Understanding its advantages and disadvantages and doing it the right way is in your hands.
How to be a Smart Online Shopper? Shopping is a passion for many, but one needs to be wise when they are doing online shopping. It seems to be quick and easy, but we never know there could be a trap. To be a smart online shopper, we need to know about the various aspects related to each site from where we are intending to buy. There are trustworthy sites and at the same time scams too. Some websites are set up just to steal our financial information, so be very careful and choose the reliable ones only. Here are some tips which you can follow to be a smart shopper.
- Read Reviews & do your Research : Another advantage of the internet is that we get to read the reviews of every product, movie, website, dealer, shops etc online. When we have that facility, why are we not using it? We should definitely make use of the reviews available online before jumping to conclusions. The right thing to do before shopping online is to read the reviews on the particular site from where you are intending to buy. By reading the reviews, you will come to know about the quality of their products, trustworthiness of the site, delivery lag if any, and so on. This will help you understand what to expect from that particular online shop. Accordingly, you can choose the best shop for your purchases. Don't go behind advertisements and fall into scams
- Start with Small Purchases : It is always suggested to start with a purchase of a smaller value when you do not have first-hand information about the online shop. Once you get the first delivery, you will have a better understanding of the site's product and service. If you find it to be good, you can proceed with other purchases. If initially, we make a bulk purchase and if the products didn't turn out to be as expected, we will have to run behind the seller for repayment or exchange. Why should we get into troubles, when we have an option to check
- Know the Policies : Before making any online purchase, we should clearly read and understand the policies related to the site such as delivery terms, repayment options, exchange facility and so on. It is always a must to know the return window as it varies from company to company. Some shops do not allow exchange offers, hence we need to be careful. On the other hand, some may allow only exchange option and no refund will be provided. We should be wise enough to understand all the rules and traps in order to know the risk involved in. Proceed, only if you are ready to take the risk; this avoids future frustrations
- Be Careful with Exchanging Sensitive Information : One needs to be extra careful when sharing sensitive information over the internet. We know that there are various types of scams, virus, and hackers around us which can tamper the information we provide. There are chances of our credit or debit card being misused. It is always better to prevent such situations rather than acting after something wrong happens. To be on the safer side, it is always better to opt for cash on delivery option (COD). This way, you are not sharing your debit or credit card information over the net. You are paying only once you get the product in hand. Isn't that safer?
- Look for Deals and Promotions : A constant watch on the online shops will help us to understand the various deals and promotions online and can make use of it. Some sites offer a discount to its customers for their first purchase or for the customers who cross a certain amount. Look for the discount codes on the website before check out. Certain websites also offer loyalty points which can later be used for purchasing a product from their site. It is your duty to understand the various shops, its deals, and promotions and advantages over the other sites, so as to make use of the best deal. Online coupons, discounts, loyalty points etc help you to save money
- Compare Products: One of the advantages of online shopping is that we get the option of comparing the products, price and other features with other competitor shops. You can open various websites at the same time and check out for the product features and after-sales services or freebies they give away with each product of theirs. Prices also vary from shop to shop, hence by comparing you will come to know about the shop offering the best products at a cheaper rate. This helps you to take the wise decision
- Advantages of Online Shopping : Shopping is not a tough and tedious task anymore, for those who considered it to be very tiring. You do not have to be in the noisy crowd, you do not have to wait in the queue, you do not have to drive, with just a click in your mouse, you can purchase the stuff you want, sitting at your sweet home. Isn't that very convenient? Let us learn in details about the various advantages and merits of online shopping
- Easy & Wide Access : Online shopping has made it very easy that you can shop anytime, from anywhere provided you have an internet connection. The shops are open 24*7, hence you get the convenience of carefully selecting the items without the fear of the shop being closed. You can also utilize your leisure times for shopping. Another advantage is that you have a wider access. It is not practically possible to go in person to three four shops and select the best product. But this is possible through online shopping. Simultaneously you can check out the various websites and compare the prices and purchase the one that you feel to be the best
- Value for Time: People don't get enough time these days due to the busy work schedules. It becomes difficult if you have to spare some time from the busy schedule, especially during weekdays to go to the shop and purchase stuff. You will be tired by the end of the day and would postpone the shopping to the next day. What if this becomes an everyday practice? This is where online shopping comes for help. You can go home, relax and shop online and the stuff will be delivered to your doorsteps. Or else, you can shop from your office during your break time, and save your time. No traffic jams, no weather issues, no parking problems; you are buying from your home and getting things delivered to your home
- Online Deals: Through online shopping, you get exposure to the online deals and promotions. These are definitely much better than the ones the nearby shops offer. Certain sites provide some products for as cheap as Rs. 1.00 for a limited time. There will be a minimum amount of purchase, but it is still good that when you are getting things at that cheap rate. Who would want to go to the shop and pay more when they are easily getting much cheaper products through online? As you have the advantage of purchasing anytime, you can keep a track of the online offers and purchase only when you find the best deal
- Easy to find Rare Products: Not all products are easily available in our country, hence we can depend on online shopping for those rare products which will be abundantly available in other countries. You will also be able to find unique products online at a relatively cheaper rate. The advantage of purchasing products which are not available in your country of residence also makes online shopping a great success
- Guards Privacy: Sometimes people feel shy or embarrassed to purchase certain things in public. In such cases, you can go for online shopping and select the desired product and purchase it. You can be sure that your privacy will be maintained
Disadvantages of Online Shopping Some people consider online shopping to be bad. True that it also has advantages and disadvantages like any other thing. Now, let us learn about the disadvantages of shopping online.
- Delivery Time: Through online shopping, we won't get the product immediately as and when we purchase it. We will have to wait for some time or few days depending on the delivery time stated. When the shipment is coming from another country, the delivery time can also be 1 month. Products will not be delivered to all places as well, like remote villages and all
- Shipping Charges: A courier is involved in almost all online shopping, hence shipping charge or courier charge has to be borne by the customer. This is an additional charge incurred as we normally do not have to pay this when shopping at the nearby shop
- Return & Refund Policy: At times the product might get damaged or get lost in transit. Then we will have to end up fighting with the shopper. Secondly, some companies do not provide a refund or offer exchange facility
- Color & Quality: We never know the color or the quality of the material unless we get it in hand. For instance, we might have ordered a royal blue top, but when it reaches, it will be navy blue. The quality also cannot be decided by seeing the product online
- Minimum Purchase: Most of the sites demand the customer to purchase products for a minimum amount to facilitate check out
Conclusion Almost everyone has a computer or a smartphone these days. Hence almost everyone can benefit from online shopping provided they have an internet connection. In my opinion internet shopping is a very useful invention. The only problem is that one needs to be extremely careful while shopping.