Step back with me and see whether or not you’ve changed how you shop over the years. For example, five years ago where did you do most of your shopping?
I live in a town where the nearest mall with large department stores and specialty shops is 30 minutes away. So I do the best with the resources in town or do without. Convenience is the key for me.
Over the last several years without being too conscious about it I found myself shopping online more and more. First it was books with Amazon.com. As Amazon expanded so did my range of online shopping. I suspect that I’m not alone, as verified by the explosion of online businesses.
Now not only do I check with Amazon about virtually anything I’m looking for, I Google to check out my options. Why? For me, online shopping saves a lot of time, increases my options, and thereby is very convenient. I can read as many customer and authority reviews as my brain can stand to learn what brand, what model, what price and what vendor to choose for the product or service in mind.
However, I’ve learned that shopping online is different from usual shopping in stores. Here are 5 suggestions to consider when you do online shopping.
1. Be patient. For me, shopping online somehow differs from shopping in department and specialty stores. I have a sense of urgency about ordering something online once I start. Whereas, in stores, there are so many other things for sale, on display, that the environment itself helps to distract you from focusing on one thing. I also don’t expect to find what I’m looking for when I go to any particular store. Rather I expect it will take a number of stops or even a number of shopping excursions.
2. Break up your online shopping over several days. Marketing online is getting better and more clever. What you see and read can be more persuasive or hypnotic than displays in stores. By taking breaks, you break the “trance” which can allow for doubts and questions to come up. You may remember other features or values that are important to you. When you move away from the computer, the information that you gathered will have time to be sifted in your mind. You’ll also have time to get other people’s opinions and experiences.
3. Online vendors have to be very competitive. What this means for a shopper is that you can find better and better prices. So once you’ve decided on a particular product, start price comparisons, checking to see whether shipping is free and whether sales tax is included.
4. Google for discount codes for the product. Have you noticed that most sites have a blank for a promotion or discount code? You can often find them online and save yourself some money. For example, you write in a Google search “swivel sweeper g2” and you add “discount code” or “promotion code.”
5. Always find out warranty or guarantee information for products that may be defective or break down within the first month or two from the purchase date. Sometimes solid companies don’t mention a guarantee but because they operate with integrity, you can get a refund for an unsatisfactory purchase. Make a list of these companies.
6. Make a practice of reading expert reviews and customer reviews. This task again is time-consuming and should not be completed in one sitting. Expect that the reviewers will not agree. However, you will be better informed about the pro’s and con’s about a product. It’s like signing an “informed consent” form: you may not totally like the idea but at least you complete a purchase having more and better information than when you started your search.
7. Many things you want to buy need to be physically handled or put on to get a sense of how it feels. Obviously shopping online you don’t have that possibility. So consider calling stores ahead of time to make sure that they carry the item you want, and check it out in person. Then you can decide whether an online purchase makes sense to you.
8. Learn from your online shopping experiences. Reflect on what ended up being solid purchases and those that didn’t. Figure out a better process for you to make shopping online a satisfying way to get what you want.
These are the suggestions resulting from my online shopping experiences especially from doing research to write my blogs for various products and service for online shoppers.