Everybody shops online nowadays. While malls have steadily been on the decline for years, of course, in-person shopping isn’t going anywhere. People will always want to try on new clothes before they buy them.
But if you know your size, are comfortable with a few more variables and unknowns, and love the ease of shopping from your couch, online shopping is for you. Still, you should get to know some tips and tricks to increase your safety and enhance your experience.
Learn the Seller’s Mindset
The first thing you should do whenever you’re going for a shopping trip on the world wide web is to think like a seller. That’s not something you can just do: you have to learn how sellers think first.
Realize that only the seller knows the actual value of the item they’ve put up for purchase, so the price they’ve listed could either be fair or totally inflated. Learn what custom product manufacturers like UltraPatches and The/Studio charge their clients, think about the material of the garment you’re interested in, where it’s selling from, and more. You can get a pretty good estimate in your mind before you decide to go ahead and purchase something that’s too overvalued.
Vet the Store or Merchant You’re Buying From
It’s best to vet the merchant you’re purchasing from before you buy as well. You have nothing to worry about if you’re buying from a reputable national chain. But when shopping from small merchants, you need to do some research.
Forbes estimated that e-commerce grew by 50%, or $870 billion, during the pandemic. That means way more sellers, and very few of them have been around long enough to have scores of reviews. You can look for other signs, though: Are the photos taken by the seller or stock photos? Is the product description detailed and honest, or generic and overly optimistic?
Dig into these context clues before you buy.
Beware of Too Good To Be True Deals
Does it seem like the item is way too good for its low price? It probably is. Be as careful of undervaluation as you are of overvaluation when online shopping.
Use a VPN
From public forums as venerable as the New York Times to remote corners of the web, the call for all web users to get VPNs is commonplace now. A VPN, or a virtual private network, is a plugin you can install on your laptop that hides your virtual activity from malicious onlookers.
No one can see where you go, what you buy, or any payment information if you download a VPN—ideal for online shopping.
Read Up on Return and Exchange Policies
The nature of online shopping is that you don’t know exactly what you’re getting. Usually, it’s pretty darn close, but you never really know. That’s why you should read up on your sellers’ and vendors’ return and exchange policies before purchasing from them.
Safe and Smart
When you shop safe, you shop smart. Protect yourself before you endanger your finances.
You may be interested in: Key high risk merchant account fees for businesses