In today’s competitive world one thing that has become scarce in our lives is – ‘TIME’. Time has become the most important commodity for working as well as non-working segment of our society. In this age of growing popularity of shopping malls due to time and resources constraint, sometimes it becomes difficult to physically go out. Shopping is inevitable for everyone whether we like it or not, as shopping is done right from basic commodities to luxury goods. Hence the new concept that enables us to do shopping at a click of a mouse is ‘Online Shopping’.
Online shopping can be defined as – The process of viewing, buying/selling and ordering of goods or services done through electronic medium for instance a website, also the mode of payment is done through electronic means with credit card or an established credit account is known as online shopping. Some of the examples of online shopping portal are- ebay.com, amazon.com, indiatimes.com, buy.com, etc. The reason of increasing popularity of online shopping is because it is time saving and easy to use.
Shopping habits of people vary from each other even in online shopping. For example some like to do comparative online shopping, some like to buy by doing bargaining, some like to browse for the best offers from the online vendors before making any purchases, some like to shop when additional discount or rebate is offered to them, etc. Thus in online shopping, we observe different types of buyer’s shopping behaviour and philosophy.
Online shopping is done virtually through the web, so there is no direct contact with the seller or sales person also billing procedure is also through indirect means. Therefore certain things have to be kept in mind before any purchase, also certain precautions have to be taken.
MODES OF PAYMENT
a) Debit card
b) Various types of electronic money
c) Cash on delivery (C.O.D.)
e) Wire transfer/delivery on payment
f) Postal money order
g) Online payment by credit card.
There are many options available to make online payment but the best and safest mode of payment is through credit cards (in other words it is also known as plastic money). Degree of protection is maximum through credit card payment. Even though other payment means have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, still credit card payment is the best option available. Such payment allows us to keep our money in the bank account, earning interest till the payments for the purchases made comes for due. There are many online shopping websites that provide the facility to order through phone by providing credit card number. But in such instances one should have a note of the phone number, company, the date and time of the call, the information which have been asked and provided to the company and the name of the person who took the credit card number on company’s behalf. To ensure that the payment made on the internet is safe or not certain points have to be taken care of:
. Check out for an unbroken key or closed lock or other security options in the browser window.
. The web address which asks for your credit card information should begin with “https:” and not “http”.
. Not every website has SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or pop-up box indicating that we are entering secure area but some websites do contain it as a security indicator.
Basic Tips for online shopping:-
2) It is advisable for the buyer to have acquaintance with the website. Before making
any purchase, some research about the shopping portal has to be done. The site should contain their physical address apart from post office box. Also look out for seals from consumer protection organization like TRUSTe.
3) Look out for online discounts and coupons before making the final purchase.
Generally the coupon code is entered in the order form to get the discount. The newsletters of the website keep us informed about the on-going or upcoming discounts.
4) Before purchasing any product or services online compare the price and facilities
provided with other authentic online shopping portals. Many a times we could find big variation of prices of the same product/services.
5) Always check out the shipping costs and procedure. The total purchase price
including shipping charges should not exceed the price what we would pay for the same thing in a retail store. There are also certain sites that do not demand shipping costs for a certain amount of purchase made.
6) Do not provide your private information online, like social security number. They
7) There could be chances that we sometimes have to return back the product or want
the refund, so look out the website’s policy for return and refund. Different aspects like do they exchange the product if required, could we receive a full refund, etc should be studied beforehand. In case it in not listed on web then call or mail the seller and enquire.
8) Always keep a record for your online transaction. At the end of every transaction
details of it is provided on screen, if possible keep a print copy of that payment with you. Some online shopping website provides a link to web page which shows the delivery status. Confirmation about the payment is also sent through e-mails also.
9) One of the most important factor in online shopping is the shipping details and their policies. Ensure the time limit in which they would deliver the goods. If no time limit is stated online the product must be delivered in 30 days time limit or provide and “Option Notice”. Also see to it that have they listed any geographical location for shipping or are their charges reasonable.
DON’T SHOP ONLINE IF
. The offer provided sounds to be too good to be believed.
. The site that demands personal information before stating the offer which they would provide.
. Proposal of providing loan on the condition that you have to send certain amount of money to avail that loan.
. Providing a deal of giving valuable gift even on a low cost purchase.
. The online shopping website which offers investment proposals.
Although online shopping has emerged as a medium of time saving and resource saving option for shopping, it has become essential to check out the genuinity of the website before giving in money. It is the new found modern culture and is increasingly becoming popular when everyone has busy schedule. Thus the proverb “Look before you leap” is appropriate for online shopping.