Now more and more people are comfortable using the Internet, they’re spending more time online trying to do their essential tasks quickly and easily without having to go into their local town or city which can be a real hassle. With increasingly busy lives and less free time available to them, going shopping is nearly impossible and they turn their attentions to a variety of eCommerce sites and online auction sites to make their purchases.
These websites are usually run by the same people who run the high street stores and feature the same stock – even more than there might be in the stores because they don’t have to worry about space – while the online auction and exchange sites like Swap.com provide the opportunity for people to buy directly from other members of the public. These items could be gifts they have no use for and are still essentially brand new, or they might be second hand and sold at a reduced price. Even so, there is still great demand for the items because the web is filled with great bargain offers if you shop around.
While they are proving to be among the most popular sites on the web along with news, sport and social networking sites; many are still finding themselves with issues and end up trying – often unsuccessfully – to return the items they’ve bought. The main reason for this being, especially in the case of clothing and footwear, that they don’t have the opportunity to try the items before they buy them like they would in a high street store.
To avoid issues like this and other online buying problems, follow these five pointers before you click the ‘buy’ button:
Read the Size and Material Guides
Buying clothes online comes with its own problems, like the one mentioned already with sizing. The majority of sites either have a size guide which documents how the sizes measure in terms of length or chest and even in the more traditional small, medium and large along with the accompanying measurements. Alternatively they may come with a guide saying that the item “comes up large” (or small) and you should buy a size above or below what you might normally purchase. Read this information before you select your size to avoid any issues, especially if you want to have that item with you to wear soon.
Check the Delivery Information
One of the biggest gripes with people who buy over the Internet relates to delivery times and prices. Companies pay for couriers or use the postal system to deliver goods to customers according to their location and specified time frames and in many cases the prices and times are out of their hands. By reading the delivery information before you commit to your order, you know exactly how long you’re likely to be waiting for until it arrives and you will be able to understand why you’re being charged that amount for postage – and even find out if you can pay more to have it delivered quicker.
Understand the Returns Policy
If your item isn’t right for whatever reason, either because it’s a different size or colour, or maybe because it is damaged, you may be entitled to send it back for an exchange or refund. However, some online retailers will have a policy whereby they will only offer exchanges rather than money back and even that you may have to pay the cost of postage so be sure to read the information before you get in touch about returns to avoid any confusion.
Be Sure to Shop Around
When you’ve been shopping in town previously, you wouldn’t necessarily buy the item from the first store you visit. You would shop around and make sure that you’re getting the best product for the best price and buying online should be no different. One top might cost $30 in one store but only $20 in another, or they might be the same price in two different shops but one offers free next-day delivery while the other will offer the same timeframe but charge you extra. By doing your research over the web beforehand you can save yourself both time and money.
Read the Product Descriptions
When buying from these retailers be sure to read all of the information that comes with it. These details might seem trivial, but they can include important information including the materials used (in case you have any allergies), and also the condition (in the case of second-hand item bought from auction sites), so that you know the item might have a small hole in or may be genuinely new complete with the store tags.