Online shopping looks simple, fast and very easy so, once you start browsing through various online shops, you’ll definitely feel the need to make a purchase. However, shopping over the internet isn’t all fun and games so it’s best to do some research before you decide to hit the “checkout” button. Here’s some basic things you need to have in mind:
1. You Can Never Be Too Safe
There’s always the way to hack into the system and turn your supposedly safe shopping experience into a nightmare. Okay, visiting trusted sites only is a good start but, let’s face it, if hackers could manage to find their way inside Pentagon’s database, how much time and effort do you think they will need to take control over a simple online shop? Don’t use your company’s credit card or any of the other cards associated with your savings accounts – get a new card you’ll load before each purchase. PayPal is also a quick, safe way to get the transaction done without the risk of revealing any info that, if fallen into the wrong hands, might cause you to lose big money.
2. There Are Hidden Costs
Okay, so you see this dress and think, “Great, 30 bucks, I’m taking it!” but, you won’t stop to think about shipping and handling costs until you reach the checkout and already feel too attached to the garment to let it go. I often get quite disappointed when I realize that, with VAT and shipping costs added, my fabulous find doesn’t seem so fabulous anymore because, for that amount of money, I can get it in the shop, without the special online sale. Ten bucks here, five bucks there, eagerly waiting for the postman… Sometimes it’s just not worth it.
3. Customer Reviews Aren’t Always Helpful
You have 10 people from 10 different places saying how the item looks great and, once you finally have it in your hands, you wish you’d just knew their addresses so you can send them a pair of prescription glasses. Well, that’s just the thing about opinions and tastes – they differ from one person to another. That’s why you shouldn’t base your decision on what other people say. If you’ve already seen that item in a shop or you think it would be a good fit for you, go for it. If that little voice in your head tells you the cut is bad for you, don’t let the positive reviews influence your decision in any way.
4. Watch out for Scams
If you’re thinking about trying a new or less popular shop, do some research first. There’s like a million of scammers out there and they all want your money! Some even hire writers to write customer reviews in order to make the site look like it’s really working when in fact, they don’t sell anything but a chance to feel like a sucker. If there is no address, live help, a phone number you could call or nobody to answer your emails, move your business somewhere else. There are plenty of other reliable sites to shop at anyway!
5. Restrictions and Prohibitions
Unfortunately, not everything you see available online can be sent to your country! And it has nothing to do with your country not being on the list of countries the site provides shipping for. Most countries have their list of prohibited items and while some of them seem completely rational, some are plain bizarre. European Union is, by definition, a free market which in my books usually means goods can be moved between member countries. However books and real life don’t always have to be a 100% match and that, apparently, applies even if you decide to dedicate your early twenties studying a very up-to-date matter such as Economy. Certain brands can’t be shipped to your country and, if you really want that item, you’ll have to swing by their official site and see if you can order it there. Asos, for example, doesn’t ship Mango outside UK and the more you browse around, the more of those brands with “limited shipping options” you’re about to see.
6. If the Offer Seems Too Good to Be True, than It Probably is
Unless you’re shopping in a credible online shop, of course! But, let me just tell you what happened to me. I had my eye on that Miss Sixty Sharin bag I saw at Asos. Unfortunately, I came just in time to see it there marked “out of stock” so I’m guessing somebody has managed to steal it right in front of my nose. Anyways, I wanted that bag so I’ve started Google-ing for other shops that sell it and ran across this shop that seemed legit, well stocked and having a sale as a bonus. I’m talking popular Miss Sixty shoes 60% off, ladies! The pictures seemed great but there was something about them and I kept browsing and trying to make up my mind until I figured out what’s the problem – the label inside the shoe was different. I’ve checked all my favorite sites again, compared the images and, yes, the label was very different so I’m guessing the shoes were fakes. I’m not 100% sure but I’m not ready to waste 60-80 Euros to know for sure.
7. Measures and Backup Plans
There are bigger problems than metric systems to worry about, I am aware of that. However, a simple, standardized size chart would be the answer to our prayers and prevent all those boring returns. That’s why I always suggest shopping at sites that provide detailed sizing info. My honest advice to you would be to always use a tape measure or ask your friends if they would be interested to buy the item out in case you’re not happy with the size. A simple S, M or L doesn’t mean a lot if you’re shopping for a brand you’ve never tried on before and just like shoes, clothes can run a size small or big, too.
I don’t believe these little tips could be a revelation, especially for all of you experienced shoppers out there. However, if you’ve never done any online shopping before, having these in mind can’t hurt. Do you have some other practical tips to share, ladies?
Top Photo Credit: P i c t u r e Y o u t h