Q: Online shopping seems really convenient, especially with the horrendous traffic and unpredictable weather that I dare not brave. But is it really safe?
A: I cannot say that online shopping is 100% safe, mainly because you deal with different merchants and there’s always money involved. But that shouldn’t stop you from clicking that “buy” button. True, online shopping has its perks: You can do it at the comfort of your home at the most convenient time. But while it can be a great form of retail therapy, it is always better to take caution and understand the e-commerce game before partaking in a serious shopping expedition (because, and believe us, it can be super enjoyable).
Below, some tips to make your online shopping experience worthwhile:
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH
The obvious thing you have to do first is to look for information about the merchant by using search engines like Google.
2. KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR RED FLAGS
Browse through the site. Consider a poorly-designed website a red flag. Online shops should be easy to navigate, provide detailed contact information, and allow feedback and comments from customers.
3. PAY ATTENTION
When browsing online for shops, pay attention to URLs. Encryption technology ensures that the data you send and receive do not get intercepted, thus securing payment processing. Look for the following to make sure your information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands: https (instead of just http), and the padlock and key symbols.
4. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Make sure the online shop has a Return/Exchange Policy. Read the store’s policies thoroughly and take note of the deadline for return or exchange and the documents required. In case the item you purchased is not in good condition, keep your receipt and immediately contact the seller.
5. ALWAYS DEMAND FOR A RECEIPT
Most online shops provide a number of payment options: PayPal, credit card, bank deposit, and Cash on Delivery (COD). Of course, COD is still the safest way to pay. However, not all online shops provide such options. PayPal is recommended as well as it has more or less established itself as a secure payment gateway. If you decide to deposit your payment, make sure to keep your bank deposit slip. Whichever way you decide to pay, ALWAYS demand for a receipt.
6. MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATION
You can’t touch it, you can’t feel it, you can’t try it on. Your only basis of judgment is the photo you see on your screen. This is why it's very important to gather as much information before purchasing a product. There are websites like TheMall.ph that provide a storefront for a myriad of legit online boutiques and vendors. The great thing about it is that these brands have been well-curated to make online shopping a breeze!