Top five ways to shop online

Here's how to enhance your internet shopping experience.

The internet has changed the way we shop. With millions of outlets to choose from, cheap deals on a range of products and items delivered straight to the front door, it is no wonder that online shopping has become a multi-billion pound industry in the 21st century. In fact, it is consumers in the UK who have become the biggest spenders in the world, with over £70 billion disbursed with in 2013.

If you’re looking to enhance your internet shopping experience then there are few considerations to take into account. First of all, shopping on our debit cards can be dangerous; without seeing physical money in our hands we can spend it easier. The temptation of running wild on a credit card is also present in some cases. Remember to plan out a budget and stick to it rigidly.

Apart from setting the budget, there are other ways to search out suitable products and find the best deals. Here are some useful tips to do so online.

Search efficiently

Google is the place most shoppers start a search, simply by typing in their required item on the home page. A good trick is to bring up the specified ‘shopping’ results from the top of the page which allows you to sort them with the lowest priced items first. If you’re looking for a specific product then use the advanced search page to rule out unnecessary results. Remember that some results won’t appear on search results pages. Check on individual websites and look internally to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Comparison websites

The internet allows you to find the best prices for less effort than on the high street. You can simply browse different sites to look for cheaper deals from the comfort of your own home. To make this easier, there are special comparison websites which present the price differences side-by-side on a number of items from car insurance to baby products. There are many for your grocery shopping too, sites such as MySupermarket provide the big four supermarkets and you’re able to take advantage of deals and home delivery as you would using their own sites.

Read User Reviews

One disadvantage of buying online is that you will not be able to actually see the goods first hand. For clothing or shoes in particular, this can put some people off who would rather try things on in store. To counter this and increase your confidence in the purchase, read reviews left by other consumers; they will have a more objective view on things and not have an agenda to promote items; see TrustPilot for a great site for unbiased reviews on companies as well as products.

Used products

A great way to find deals is to buy second hand. eBay and Amazon are two of the biggest websites on the internet and are home to millions of products listed by independent sellers. Naturally, used items are cheaper and on eBay, there is also the chance to win goods via an online auction for less than the RRP. You can also contact the seller easily on these sites who should be able to answer any queries or concerns you have about the transaction.

Delivery

The privileges that come with online shopping are reduced slightly by the delivery costs. You must budget these into your overall spend. Look out for cheap delivery deals offered by certain companies, often if you spend a certain minimum amount or buy multiple items. They will use professional courier services such as Rapid Parcel who will guarantee an astute service, often with online tracking facilities included. They also offer insurance deals if you’re worried about the condition of the goods in transit.

Stay vigilant

It must also be noted that criminal activity has blighted some people’s experience of online shopping. Credit card fraud in particular is rife in some parts. Because of this, you should only buy from reputable companies; if unsure, contact them directly or read about other shoppers’ experience with them. Also, read any item description carefully so not to be disappointed when it eventually turns up. Overall, stay vigilant online, stick within your budget and look for the best deals to really make the most out of it.

See also: How vouchers revolutionise the world of online shopping

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Online business

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