3 Things to Consider When Shopping Online

12 Aug

Online shopping is growing. According to Statista, 205 million U.S. citizens either browsed, compared prices or bought merchandise online at least once in 2015, up from 198.2 million in 2014. What’s more, online shopping numbers are expected to reach 224 million in 2019, putting the U.S. at the forefront of the e-commerce market.

girl wearing vintage glasses

What could be better than spending a lazy afternoon scouring the internet for the best online deals. You don’t have to get up, get dressed or wrangle your kids into the minivan.  You can do it in your pajamas and in the comfort of your home. Even better, you don’t have to carry those heavy shopping bags. All your purchases will be delivered to your door.

However, even with the ease of online shopping, there are several things you need to consider aside from which colored top will match the wedges you’ve already purchased.

girl wearing pink dressAre you getting the best price?

You’ve probably been bombarded with various advertisements for deals and discounts available at different online retailers. Like with any other business, online retailers are looking to make a profit. They’ll do what it takes to get you to purchase from them. You should therefore ensure that you’re getting the best price.

  • Compare prices from different retailers

What are other retailers offering for the same product? Compare prices from different online stores to ensure that you’re getting the best deal.

  • Be wary of cookies

Many online retailers will ask you to enable cookies for the site. These remain stored on your computer and compile data about your location as well as browsing and spending habits. This information, as pointed out in a recent study by researchers at Northeastern University, is used to determine what price the website should present you with. According to the study, different users are shown different prices for identical searches based on their online behavior and location.

If the website requires you to enable cookies in order to make a purchase, be sure to delete them as soon as you’re done.

  • Search for discounts

Search for discounts, deals and coupons online. You can save a lot of money by taking a little more time for this.  Make it a fun activity collecting coupons and hold a contest for your teens to see who can find the biggest discount.  There are even plenty of sites with rotating offerings of the best online deals across various product spaces.

Are you getting the best product for your budget?

Just because a product is cheap doesn’t mean that you’re getting a great deal. Just as you would in a shopping center, you need to be sure you’re getting the best value for your money.

While you won’t be able to view the item physically when shopping online, you can find out more about the product and the particular brand or model. Read online reviews and product descriptions. Read both positive and negative reviews to get a balanced view. You should also seek offline reviews by talking to other parents and friends you trust who’ve had experience with the specific products or brands you’re interested in purchasing.

Is your information safe?

Identity theft has risen in the past few years as more consumers complete transactions online. A recent study showed that over 13.1 consumers in the U.S. were victims of identity theft in 2015 and lost a total of $15 billion amongst them.

It therefore makes sense to be careful with your personal information as you shop online. Take the following precautions:

  • Shop only from websites that are secure. This is indicated by an ‘s’ displayed after ‘http’ in their website address i.e. https://
  • Look for a padlock on the address bar. If the padlock is closed, then the site is secure.
  • Look for trust certificates on the website such as TRUSTe.
  • Read the security and privacy policy of the website to ensure that your information will not be shared by a third party.
  • Install or update your spyware to prevent hackers from accessing your private information through malware

Getting the best value for your money can make your online shopping experience worthwhile, and taking the time to be safe while shopping will further enhance the experience.  Teach your kids to save and be safe online while shopping.  Enjoy!

Hovering high and low, Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

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