Love shopping online but worry about becoming victim to the next biggest scam? Ordered a ladies size 12 and received a pair of pants that would be better suited for a six year old? Our online shopping guide is for you.
Fiona Adler, founder of WOMO.com.au, Australia’s number one award-winning business review website, shares her tips and tricks to ensure a safe and sound online shopping experience.
1. Avoid suspiciously low prices
It if seems too good to be true, it probably is! Sometimes we make the decision to save money and start hunting for the very cheapest option available on the web. Unfortunately, this often results in us landing on a less reputable website – and a much heightened risk of the goods never turning up, or running into problems if they’re wrong. Go cheap, but not the cheapest!
2. Buy from a reputable business
Customers run into the most trouble when they buy from businesses that don’t actually exist! To avoid this, only buy from online businesses that you’ve heard of! Ensure they have full contact details on the contact page (a phone number, physical address, and email address) and also an ABN (Australian Business Number). If the website looks shoddy, has spelling mistakes or poor quality images, proceed with caution.
3. Look for customer reviews
The best way to find out what a business is really like is by looking for reviews from other customers. Often websites will include reviews from customers about the specific products they sell, but also about the website itself and what the overall buying experience was like. Ensure these reviews are from a third party, such as WOMO.com.au, and are not simply testimonials that the business has handpicked or worse, manufactured.
4. Check the returns policy before you buy
Don’t make the mistake of ordering first and checking the returns policy second! Once you’ve put those card details in, you’re locked into their T&Cs. Choose a few sites that have a good policy and track record. Consider what’s most convenient to you and then make your final decision.
5. Take advantage of measurement tools
Numerous online retailers have tools to help you determine which size to order yet most of us dive in with a ‘one size fits all’ frame of mind. Even though measuring yourself may seem like a hassle at the time, it will be less of a headache than returning the item. Also, as long as your size doesn’t fluctuate, you should only have to make these measurements once.
6. Check the description carefully
Often online photos can be misleading and may not even be an exact photo of the item you are purchasing. Sometimes the colours look different and it can be difficult to judge the scale of things. Carefully read the description to see what materials it’s made from, the size/shape of the item, and the uses for the product. Sometimes it can be useful to take a screen-grab image of the product description in case you need to refer to it at a later date – some businesses have been known to change after being alerted to a discrepancy.
7. Use the megaphone at your fingertips – When you’ve had a bad (or a good) experience with an online retailer, make sure you let others know about it by reviewing online! On WOMO.com.au a new review is posted every five minutes and all of these add to the permanent track-record of a business. Not only will others come across your reviews when they search on Google – and hopefully avoid any issues you may have had – the business may decide to react to your feedback and change its ways! Never underestimate the power of the consumer!
We want to know – what are your favourite online shopping sites?