When online shopping started becoming a thing in South Africa and online stores were popping up everywhere, I was sure I’d never buy into it (pun intended). But clearly I didn’t take into account the fact that I hate crowded malls and driving in circles looking for parking. Needless to say, it did not take long for me to jump on the online shopping bandwagon. And once I started, I couldn’t stop. So I’ve learnt quite a few valuable lessons on the do’s and don’ts of online shopping over the years. So I’ve decided to share a few online shopping tips seeing that winter is upon us and hibernation is in order AND to make sure that when that courier company stops at your door, you’re beaming and not scowling.
1. Do your homework
I had a bad experience with a well-known retailer’s online store at the beginning of the year because I failed to do my research on peoples’ experiences with them before placing my order. When a week had passed by and my order still hadn’t arrived, I knew I’d made a mistake. After a month of still waiting (numerous phone calls and emails later) I cancelled the order.
Do your ‘background checks’ on the company first. Check their social media pages to read the reviews of those who have already placed orders with them. If the negative outweighs the positive feedback, then there’s clearly something fishy going on.
2. Compare prices
I’ve also fallen into the trap of believing that the first online store’s price was the best price. However good a deal might sound on the first site you visit, take the time to check the price of the same items on other websites you also frequent before you make your purchase. Don’t just assume the first good price to be the best one. You might find that very same item even cheaper somewhere else!
3. Read the returns policy
Before you checkout, make sure you’ve read the online store’s returns policy. Personally, I find this to be the deal breaker. If I’m able to return an item without much of a hassle, I’ll confidently make the purchase. It’s far better to find out before the time than to sit with an unwanted item and less money in your bank account.
4. Check the payment options
The more payment options an online store has, the more convenient it is for the shopper. Even though I’ve been doing online shopping for several years, I still don’t feel secure enough to enter my card details on the store’s website (just call me MRS paranoid) so the payment options I look out for are EFT (weird I know) and COD. The latter is much harder to find as not many online stores have this option and some have even removed it as an option from their sites. Ultimately it’s all about preference and what you feel comfortable with.
5. Subscribe to newsletters
Subscribe to your favourite online stores’ newsletters so you don’t miss out on any sales and special offers. Just be sure to set your email preferences when you subscribe so that your inbox is not bombarded every day.
I’m by no means an online shopping veteran but I’ve bought enough things online to have learnt a thing or two about what works best for me and my hard earned money. If you’ve got any tips to add, please feel free to comment below.
xxx Tulips & Phoenixes xxx