Doing your shopping online can save you a lot of time: you won’t have to spend precious minutes walking around and looking for that particular item or fall in line at the cashier to ring up purchases. It also saves you money, as there’s no need to pay for gas or parking fees. However, many digital shoppers still make mistakes that result in them overpaying, or compromising their credit card information.
Are you doing your cybershopping right? Take a look at six of the most common online spending mistakes and see how you can avoid them in your future transactions.
Purchasing from unsecure websites and dubious retailers
In this era of digital retail, how safe are you? You may receive a lot of product offers with big discounts from various retailers, but be aware that not all merchant websites are legit. Some sites exist to simply steal your personal—including credit card—information. To avoid transacting with scammers, it is necessary for you to do some research before even considering making a purchase from them.
Read reviews about the store and check its ratings and overall online reputation. Be wary if the name of the store doesn’t show up, or if the store doesn’t have any reviews at all—it could be a new virtual storefront that has just been set up for the sole purpose of counteracting previous negative reviews. If the site meets the requirements in this regard, check to see if the site’s URL changes to “https” at checkout—this indicates that you have a secure connection. Remember that no matter what you’re doing online, security always comes first.
Not using money-saving tools
If you shop online but don’t use discount codes and vouchers, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Search for promo codes for products you usually buy, special items and services, and other things you need online, and you’ll find yourself saving a lot more. You can find great deals at places like Total Discounts to name one of just a few. Aside from using vouchers and coupons, you can also sign up for cash back programs to get back a small amount for each purchase.
Not shopping around and comparing prices
The internet lets you get the information you need with just a few clicks and in just a few minutes, so there’s no reason for you to make purchases blindly. Shop around—check out the prices for the products you want from different retailers so you can see if they’re priced fairly. There are also a number of smart shopping apps that let you know where you can get the best deal for an item so you don’t end up paying more than you should.
Ignoring price-protection policies and price-cut refunds
Many retailers offer price-cut refunds or adjustments that entitle you to receive the difference if the price of a product you bought gets lowered within a certain number of days. Product prices may constantly change because of demand, especially for online goods, so don’t forget to check out a retailer’s price-protection policies.
Not reading product and store reviews
It’s not enough to simply read the description and specs of a product; you also need to read the reviews about it and the retailer or store you’re buying it from. A good review should bring to light both the positive and negative aspects, so be discerning and don’t believe everything you read in product pages. To make things easier for you, check out the three-star reviews first—they usually offer a healthy balance of the pros and cons.
Not considering shipping costs
An item may be on sale, but how much will the total cost be if you have it shipped? Many online shoppers fail to consider the cost of having purchases delivered when looking for products online, resulting in them having to pay more than planned. To avoid being in the same predicament, you can filter your product search results based on the cost of the item plus shipping to wherever you are in the world. If the store offers free shipping, read the fine print to see if there’s a catch.