For convenience, for prices, for speed when receiving the order, for lack of time… There are many reasons to buy online, hence it is becoming more popular and many stores jump to the digital market already.
Everything that has to do with the internet, and with any technological innovation in general, doubts or fears arise, nothing that we cannot solve with a little caution and following the same guidelines as in a physical trade.
Although each online store is different, here are some guidelines to follow before, during, and after buying online. They are not infallible but they will give us more security and we will find less unpleasant surprises.
Would you enter a dark store, where everything is lying on the floor and there is no one, not even a clerk who can help? The same happens with online stores.
Leaving aside how advance or modern is the design of the website you are visiting, there is a minimum requirement for online stores to have, that is showing clear or truthful information, such as clearly showing the catalog, profile, see what we have selected to buy at all times, get information about the product, purchase, shipping, etc.
One of the most important aspect is that the online store should offer a secure connection, which guarantees that the information you provide is under confidentiality and is not available to anyone.
Most pages and websites have already adopted secure HTTPS connections, which are highlighted by web browsers displaying a green lock on the address bar. What’s more, the most modern browsers warn us if there is no secure connection and/or if the corresponding certificate is not reliable or has expired.
You need to pay attention to this information, especially if we are going to buy online.
Another aspect to keep in mind is what types of data we are asked for. Normally, you can window shop without being registered and, once you decided to purchase something, you can start signing up as a user.
The usual thing is that you provide your complete name, an address where to send the purchase made, and a telephone and/or contact email.
Because of this, you need also to have information about the website that you want to make purchases. That’s why it’s convenient that the contact information of the website is visible on their homepage. Better not have to go to it, but it is convenient to have it on hand in case a problem arises, especially in the first purchase. The best online store should have their contact numbers or even chat support posted on their website.
More aspects to take into account: Does the online store send the purchase home or should we go for it? What types of shipping do you offer, what geographical limit do you have, what is the shipping cost? How long will it take for the item to arrive?
It is useless to buy online at a good price if then, with the shipping costs, it costs more to buy it physically. Worse is if you find out about the final price after paying and not before going through the checkout, something relatively frequent if we buy travel tickets, for example. You really need to know the final price that you are paying, instead of being surprised at the time you realize you paid a lot compared to what you initially expected.
Finally, it is important to know the seller. I am referring especially to second-hand sales or new sales that are made through large stores such as Amazon or eBay, which sometimes serve as an intermediary between buyer and seller.
Maybe you trust eBay, but is the seller really trustworthy? In the case of Amazon or AliExpress, make sure that the seller is the portal itself or, failing that, that the seller has good comments from previous customers, has contact information and offers guarantees in case of problems.
Nobody likes to give their money to a stranger. It is understandable that one of the main reasons for not buying online is the payment system.
Currently there are many security measures to prevent your banking data from falling into the wrong hands or being used for anything other than making a particular online purchase.
In the first place, most online stores have secure gateways or virtual POS terminals, either from banks, intermediaries, or those responsible for your debit or credit card.
During the purchase, in addition to providing the data of your card, you will have to accept the purchase by adding a code that we will receive in the telephone number associated with said card.
If we do not fully trust the online store, it is possible to make the purchase with an added security using services such as PayPal or prepaid cards that several banks offer specifically to buy online. In addition to the secure payment, it will be easier to obtain a refund if there are problems with the purchase.
In short, the same precautions that are used to buy in a physical establishment serve for one online. In addition, it is advisable to be cautious and not provide data without focusing on the purpose of doing so.
Based on personal experience, purchases on popular sites or sites that have been there for so long and are still working such as Amazon and Newegg are always secure. I also use my PayPal account instead of my credit card, if the store has that option.