January 22, 2009

The Online Shopping Guide and Tips

Since the offers are not so forthcoming these days since being off season of sorts, I thought of writing about a general and simple guide on buying online, especially in India. Since buying online is the order of the day these days, it is our duty as a buyer to have adequate knowledge about it, so that it would make your life a whole lot easier. Here I have tried to compile some tips from the experience I have gained all these years as a regular online shopper.

Comparison Shopping
One essential tip you would need to follow while shopping online would be to do the comparison shopping, this plays a vital role in saving you at least some extra bucks. If you are planning to buy a product online, don’t restrict yourself to just one shopping portal to shop for it, just visit as much shopping sites as you can and look for the price of the same item and decide where you will get them for cheap. But while looking for them, also look for the hidden costs like shipping charges and which site offer them for cheap too.

Offers and Deals
Another great advantage of shopping online is that you get good offers and deals or at least that is what is being said by these so-called shopping portals. But in reality many have some hidden pre-conditions applied to it, you will need to find out the real truth in them by reading the hidden terms and conditions applied and decide on whether to go for it or not. Even here the comparison shopping both online and offline would help you make that decision.

Shipping Charges
As said above one major hindrance when it comes to shopping online is that of the exorbitant shipping charges that most of the shopping websites charge us. Do lookout for the shipping charges before you actually order the item online. Look for such shopping portals which offer you cheap or nominal shipping charges.

Return Policy
You will need to also find out about the return policy of the particular shopping portal that you are planning shop online. As you may then find out that you would not be able to do so due to their no-return policy. Thus read their terms and conditions about it before actually buying online since you don’t want to end up getting a defective product and not being able to return it back. Some sites like Indiatimes have a rather customer unfriendly return policy where we will need to do it with great difficulty with packing, returning, etc. Do lookout for it before buying online.

Secure Shopping
Online security is the most essential part which we often times tend to ignore when shopping online. With the news that we hear every day about credit card details being hacked due to using them at unauthorized or insecure shopping portals, it is up to us to use it wisely and use it only at secure and authorized shopping portals, especially in India where this awareness is yet to catch up among us. Check for the security seal that most of the sites display these day. Also check whether they are offer 128-bit encryption or not. If you are not sure about these technical stuff, just avoid using your credit or debit card at sites which you are not much familiar with. Use them only at known and reputed shopping sites in India.

Read the Fine Print
Reading the fine print is one activity if followed can give you good results especially with shopping online for freebies or offers or anything for that matter. Just make it as a point to read those unwanted yet essential terms and conditions of the shopping sites that you shop with. This is one good habit which would surely help you in a great deal even long term.

Don’t be fooled by the extraordinary product description or on the looks of the product you buy, as the product you will receive may look and have an entirely different description especially in India and this, I have experienced myself multiple times when shopping online. Think twice before buying a product online about the quality of the item you may buy, as there have been many instances where you would receive very inferior quality product although it may sound very cheap on the outlook and description.

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