4 Great Tips for Shopping on the Internet

4 Great Tips for Shopping on the Internet

Save money, time and stress by shopping online, but there are some things you should know first.

Get the most out of your online shopping experiences with these tips on how to protect yourself, where to shop and what to look for. Just in time for the holiday season!

Safety first. Don’t shop online if you don’t have anti-virus and malware protection on your computer or other device, and never shop on a site if you can’t verify that it is secure. If your personal information is obtained by a malicious party, you could end up a victim of identity theft. Attackers are capable of creating sites that look real and very similar to popular, legitimate sites, so be sure to always check for signs of security in the address bar. If there´s not a padlock symbol or a letter “s” after the “http” (look for https:// instead of http://), don’t trust the security of the site.

Bargain hunt. Pull up several tabs in your web browser and visit a few sites that sell the item you are looking for, so you can literally do a side-by-side comparison. Sign up for the email list of your favorite retailers, so you’ll be among the first to know about sales and specials and search for coupon codes before you complete any purchase (retailmenot.com and currentcodes.com are great) and you may get a discount, free shipping, etc. Also be sure to sign up for private sale and flash sale sites, where you can find deep discounts on higher end items, travel packages and local attractions, events and eateries.

Read the return policies. If the retailer you are purchasing from doesn’t have a stellar return policy, think twice about purchasing. The best policies offer free returns on everything (most exclude clearance and final sale items), but some make you pay and others have a very limited time during which returns are permitted, which can be troublesome when a trip to the post office is required. Bonus points for stores that allow you to purchase online and return/exchange in store.

Know what to buy. Anything for babies and small children, small appliances, home decor items, bedding, etc., are great to shop for online. Actually, most things are suited to online shopping. But if you’re looking for items where fit is an issue -- be it a particular clothing item (jeans come to mind) or furniture -- you might want to stick to bricks-and-mortar stores, since you’ll be able to try on and take measurements. If the price is better online, try on in store and return home to purchase the same item from the Web site, and get the bargain without the risk.

What kinds of products do you tend to prefer to buy online?


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