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7 Facts Every Online Shopper Must Know

7 Facts Every Online Shopper Must Know

Have you ever bought a shirt or dress online only to later find out when it was delivered to you that what you saw online was quite different from what you received? In this scenario, what do you think would be your next line of action? Well, you can either throw your hands up in the air while running around your neighborhood yelling, “I’ve just been cheated!” or you could try to return the shirt you just purchased. Whichever one you choose, the deed had been done. You already have made payments even before your shirt was delivered to you.

If you have gone through such an experience as this, you’d find out that more often than not, it is usually a ‘not too good’ experience. You will begin to regret why you ordered and paid for what you don’t like. And I bet that nobody bargains for such an experience. This is why it is very important for you to be double sure that you are spending your hard earned money on what you truly want.

With the emergence of the World Wide Web in the early 90s, a lot of things became possible to achieve, including online banking and online shopping or e-commerce. The days of waiting on a queue to get that very important product at the stores then became drastically reduced; as online shopping evolved with the promises of salvaging so many people who don’t have time to check at different shops for what they wanted before buying.

It is therefore very expedient for every shopper to be armed with the very right information, before shopping online so as to save the stress of regretting the purchase. So, here are 7 facts you, as an online shopper, must know in order to have a successful shopping experience always.

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1. Shipping Might Not Be Entirely Free

Before you purchase an item online, be sure to ascertain if what you are buying has a free shipping tag. This is so that you don’t have to overshoot your budget. If what you have planned to spend on a product is 70 dollars, and the shipping costs an extra 20 dollars, it would be better for you to decide from the onset if you are ready for the extra cost.

Before you make a purchase, go to the site and read the description and product information to be sure it has a free shipping tag or not. However, one good way to be sure is to actually contact the product owner. This gives you extra assurance of the true cost of shipping.

2. Be Thorough In Your Search

Next you must do a thorough research on the product so that you have enough information about the products you intend purchasing. One of the advantages of doing a vast research on the kind of products you want is that it gives you the ability to locate the right kind of brands. By combing a lot of online stores, you become a smarter shopper. You can take advantage of the internet and its offers by going to possible manufacturer sites, as well as industry sites to know more about the products you want to purchase.

3. Product Reviews Always Help

If you have always ignored product reviews on several shopping sites, quit that attitude! Good product reviews are written for one thing: to give you an idea of what to expect when you actually start using the product. With this in mind, why should you as a shopaholic ignore such reviews?

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Whether there are reviews of praise or reviews of condemnation about a product, they both help you to make a very wise decision about the type of product to eventually settle for and purchase. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress and time.

4. There Is an Avenue to Compare Prices

There is an avalanche of stores for you to check out different types of goods. Therefore without doubt, the availability of several other online stores makes it very easy for you to compare prices of these different products. This eventually helps you to arrive at the best product with the best price.

The best price here doesn’t necessarily mean the store with the cheapest price for your purchase. Sometimes, cheap isn’t good. It simply means the price that fits your budget. These stores offer discounts from time to time that you can cash in on to get the very best of deals.

5. Looks Can Be Deceptive

With the advent of Photoshop and other photo editing software that can make an ugly duckling look like a swan, you can be sure that some of these product images have been fine-tuned in order to be more attractive and gain attention from potential buyers like you. Therefore you must have this at the back of your mind when you are looking to see what product to settle for.

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Also, some of these high quality products might be unavailable on the sites, so be sure not to waste your time with such sites. You must be sure you are dealing directly with the manufacturer or a reliable retailer or dealer. One way to ensure this is to contact the dealer directly and ask all necessary questions.

6. There Might Be a Long Period of Waiting

It is very important for you to know that there might be a delay in shipment. This can be due to several unforeseen circumstances on the path of the company, supplier or dealer. Sometimes you need to give room for the delay such as your order being too small for the supplier to send alone or goods being held up at the customs if you’re buying from an international seller. It could also occur due to your location or your mode of delivery.

Sometimes, our purchases don’t arrive on their specified delivery dates and this often makes us shoppers pretty apprehensive. After all the effort involved in searching for the product and debiting our credit cards in the process, what else would you expect? However, giving room for delay will lower your chance of being apprehensive when your purchase doesn’t arrive on time.

7. Beware Of Fraud

To avoid being scammed while shopping online, it is important that you avoid making online purchases with a wire transfer or a checking account. Although many reputable companies offer this option, this is also the great way for a fraudster to embezzle your money from your bank account. Don’t ask me how they do it.

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Verify the source you are buying from thoroughly. This’ll help you ensure that you are not giving your account information to a crook that will end up stealing your money from your account.

So there you are. These facts provided above, will serve you so well if you take the actionable steps given seriously. Shopping online can be a wonderful and fruitful experience for you when you are armed with the necessary and important information.

When searching for the next product to buy online, remove all the guesswork and have these facts at the back of your mind. They’ll not only help you stay relaxed when shopping, but they’ll guarantee that you get the very best of what you want, without overshooting your budget. That’s the trait of a successful online shopper, and you can be one too.

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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