About to make a purchase online?
Millions are spent in a single day by customers on online services, from food delivery to buying clothes, electronic devices, beauty products and so on. You have a lot of options when you browse the web to find and purchase a product, but “with great powers comes great responsibility”, it’s important you use websites that are widely used by the majority of the people as most of these websites use a secure method of payment which can keep your personal details confidential.
In this article, we will talk about how you can make an online purchase safely, securely and even save your money while at it.
Here’s a list of 11 tips to help you make a better decision and save you from having a bad experience (11 things to look at before buying online)
- Use a popular online service:
Get started on a site you trust. Search results can be manipulated to mislead you, especially if you leave the first few pages of links behind. Knowing the site means less chance of it being a scam. Using familiar sites will have a higher rate of safety, proper handling of your product and good customer support. Websites like Amazon, Flipkart, Alibaba etc are known for delivering better customer service and safety measures with a promise to deliver your product as soon as possible. They assure you with a good user experience.
An unfamiliar website will not always be a fraudulent company but you have to be careful and do a little background check before making a purchase. One bad experience and you will always think twice before making a purchase.
- Avoid Oversharing:
While making a purchase online we are required to share our details like shipping address, billing address and then the card details to complete the payment setup. It is important you only share the details that are required and avoid sharing excessive details that are irrelevant.
DO NOT SHARE YOUR OTP. Use OTP (One time password) when you are making a purchase by yourself but never share it with anyone else. Apart from the basic details that a seller needs to deliver the product to your house, anything else is not only unnecessary but could lead to your details being compromised.
- Check your bank statement regularly:
When you are in the process to pay for your product, you are required to fill in your card details if your order is a prepaid one. Details like card no, CVV, account holder name, expiry date and then finally an OTP is required.
A safe website will safeguard your details but a shady website can sell your details or use it for their own benefits. A secure website’s URL should begin with “https” rather than “http”. They might also charge you more than what you bargained for so always be careful while making payments and regularly check your statement to be cautious.
- Use web security services:
A lot of anti virus softwares also provide you with safe web services which detect and ask you to avoid unsafe websites. I personally use Norton safe web search, it filters websites and blocks potential threats. They help you surf the web, make searches and shop more safely online. It detects viruses, spyware, malware or other online threats. They also provide a safety rating for a website and you can make the call to trust them or not. They also automatically block websites that can cause a malware attack. Always buy such tools as they safeguard you from incurring losses and protect your privacy.
- Avoid public places while shopping online:
When you use public networks, you are already under an online threat and hackers can easily access your laptop. Using a public network is just giving away your privacy and handing over your device to someone else.
Be aware that a scamster can be anywhere around you, while you are busy filling up the billing details to buy a product, a scammer could be right around the corner lurking into your device. So it’s advisable to avoid making purchases in public. You even get spam telephone calls after you complete a purchase on shady websites.
- Check the seller:
Websites like Amazon, Flipkart etc are not sellers, they are just ecommerce platforms that connect the buyers to the sellers. So it is important you check who is selling you the products, if they are reputable and if they are selling you genuine products.
Selling an original copy of a product is the new scam going around. People who don’t have much idea about a brand or their quality can be easily fooled and are sold a copy of an original for its original price.
- Read the reviews:
Always read the reviews of the product. No matter how promising the description is or what the price is, ALWAYS READ REVIEWS. Reviews are a way of communication between a buyer, the seller and a potential buyer. Reviews give you an idea of the experience a buyer has with the seller and the delivery service.
Always check the ratings given to the product you are interested in buying, look at what the people who already bought it have to say about the product. People even suggest you with better options. I can’t count the number of times reading a review has saved me from making a bad purchase. I don’t only want you to read reviews but also share reviews of the products that you have bought so that someone else can make a better and an easier decision.
- Be aware of being misled:
When you see a good product for a cheaper price, always check if it is a new product or a refurbished one. A refurbished product could be pre-owned or could be reconditioned. A refurbished product is not necessarily a bad product but some sellers don’t clearly mention it and you end up buying one unknowingly.
Many times the picture of the product you see before buying the product is very different from the product you receive, the quality that was promised is not what you get and end up paying for a product you didn’t want. Also always read the description of the product so you clearly know what you are giving your money for and is it worth it. Sometimes there are hidden details in the description which you can miss and the seller is successful in cheating you out of your money.
- Check for returns and exchange:
It is always better to buy products from a service that has the option for return or an exchange policy. When we buy a product, sometimes it is not what we expected it to be, either the size doesn’t fit or the colour is just not what you saw in the photo or expected it to be, so options like returning the product for a refund or exchanging it for the right size,colour etc can end with you having a good user experience.
Return and exchange policy is very important because buying online is very different to buying something from a store. You don’t get the handson experience you get, you can have a trial with the product or see if it is in a good condition before you buy. Even if the seller has sold you a good product, the product could be accidentally damaged in transport or by the delivery executive.
- Compare the prices, offers and coupons:
There is always a discount available on one website or the other. So when you are about to make a purchase, check for a better deal. Google provides a service called Google Shopping where after you search for a product it lists out the price of the product on different websites. There are also many tools that can help you with shortlisting websites that can assist you in buying the product you want at a cheapest price online like PriceGrabber, Shopzilla etc.
Many banks offer you discounts on selected products. Always check if your bank has partnered with the service provider to give their customers a discount or a cashback on the product for paying the bill using their card. A lot of tools can provide you with coupons that can help you get discounts on your product or maybe give you something for free. Browser plug in like Honey helps you get coupons online for the product you use and get you great discounts.
- Don’t buy quickly:
When we plan to buy something we sometimes ignore that there might be better options. We should always do proper research before buying something, read articles about its reviews, consult a friend or use the product if someone close to you has already bought it.
Dont get drawn towards a heavy discount and make a purchase that you will regret later. Sit back, relax, compare the product with its competition, see which brand offers more for a suitable price and most importantly think if you really want it because it is easier to spend then it is to earn.
Few additional tips:
- Watch product reviews on Youtube:
Product reviews on Youtube are very informative as they share their hands-on experience and give a detailed review about the product. There are all types of reviewers for all sorts of products. Product reviews are customer reviews or comments on a particular product. Many online businesses have created a review section on their website where customers can rate the product they have purchased. A product rating helps other users get a clear picture of the product before making a purchase.
- Read articles about comparison between the products:
There are a lot of articles which compare newly launched products with their competitors for the readers to easily compare and analyse the features of the product. The articles save you time and they also provide a detailed review of the product with their personal opinions about it.
I would like to end this article by saying that the online market is huge and has endless products. You can buy products from any part of your country or the world with just a few clicks. The tips mentioned above are very crucial as a lot of people are being cheated off their hard earned money and usually there’s nothing they can do about it. During the COVID times when the world turned to digital word to meet their needs, many scams took place which led people to suffer heavy losses during the worst time of this decade. Old people who are new to the world of the internet are the most vulnerable people as their lack of internet knowledge is being misused by these evil people.
But there are two sides of the coin, with bad there is also good. Online services were the reason many people could feed themselves and go on with their life during the lockdown. It helped people get the products they want without risking their lives. Delivery executives are the heroes of modern times who delivered our products through these tough times risking their own life. So go ahead and order that phone you have been planning to buy but take careful measures and look out for a good deal.