Online shopping 101: 7 timeless tips to staying safe and getting best deals

Online shopping 101: 7 timeless tips to staying safe and getting best deals
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Wishlist. Order. Checkout.

You probably recognize all of those keywords already. So, you have been shopping online and loving it too!

If you are like us, you also plan on shopping online well into the year 2021 and beyond. Given the convenience and ease which comes with this kind of shopping, we wouldn’t blame anyone that loves it.

Today, we are all about making sure you keep enjoying that experience. That is why we have come up with a guide to not only stay safe while shopping online but also get the best deals and offers also.

Safety Tips When Shopping Online

Do these to stay safe anytime you’re going to check out any item online.

1 Know the Vendor

Amazon and eBay are the eCommerce websites that almost everyone knows. Besides them, there are thousands of online vendors selling one thing or the other online also.

Before you use any of these vendors, know that they are reputable enough.

For starters:

  • Check that the website has an SSL certificate.
  • Ensure they use a respectable payment gateway.
  • Look for reviews and user opinions about them online.
  • Look for their refunds and returns policy.
  • Understand their delivery timeframe and processes.
  • Know how long they have been in the business for, among others.

That way, you don’t fall victim to scams looking to steal your credit card details or money.

2 Secure your Connection

Most people make the mistake of shopping online while on unsecured Wi-Fi networks and connections. 

You might not see how sensitive shopping online is yet. When you consider that anyone can hijack your credit card details, though, you might take more care here.

When next you’re shopping online:

  • Ensure you are on a personal and secured internet connection.
  • Get a VPN to help encrypt your network. This works wonders if you were on a public connection also.
  • Never enter your credit card details on a site without an SSL certificate.

3 Account Security

If you have created an account with your favorite online outlets, you are on the right track. After all, that is one of the best ways to get deals out of your vendors.

However, you could also be setting yourself up for a breach this way.

With an account, you have your personal information right there on the website. In addition to that, you must have saved your card details for easy access and referencing later. That is a hacker’s gold ore waiting to be mined.

You can make sure your account never suffers a breach from your end, though. All you have to do is:

  • Choose strong and reliable passwords for your shopping accounts.
  • Enable two-factor authentication on logging in.
  • Enable two-factor authentication for purchases also.
  • Check account activity to see if anyone has recently changed the delivery address or any other sensitive info.

4 Information Management

We know that some information will be required to serve you better and fulfill your orders. Thus, merchants could ask for:

  • Your telephone numbers
  • Credit card details
  • Address and 
  • Name

When more sensitive info is requested, know that it is time to walk away.

For example, no online merchant has any business with your tax identification number, social security number, bank account details, license information, etc. They are overstepping their bounds and there is no way to guarantee how they will use such sensitive information. 

You are better off shopping with a ton of other legitimate options on the internet.

Getting the Best Deals Online

Now that we have talked about staying safe, how about getting the best value for your money also? 

Don’t worry. You don’t even have to do anything extensive to make this happen.

5 Sign Up

We mentioned this somewhere up there but it also deserves a section of its own.

Many online retailers allow you to complete a purchase without having an account. This is great for shoppers who are visiting for a one-off purchase. If you would be buying stuff online from time to time, though, it makes sense to have an account.

Such an account entitles you to loyalty rewards when they become available. You also get notified of deals, discounts, and sales well before other people know. That, and you get the added advantage of premium customer support in case any issue comes up.

6 Change Locations

Have you ever heard of price discrimination?

It is this little trick by advertisers and eCommerce retailers to show different prices of the same item to different people. In other words, a single pair of shoes selling for $89 somewhere might display as $121 elsewhere.

The algorithm behind this takes note of your location, browser history, and (sometimes) purchase history to determine how affluent you are. Thus, you get a price higher than what you should have paid. 

Such scenarios are much common with online airports and hotel bookings.

7 Sometimes, Run!

If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

When you see an iPhone 12 Pro Max 256GB selling for $600, for example, you might be wondering what a great deal that is. Most often than not, this is an elaborate design to rip you off.

In the spirit of getting deals, don’t set yourself up to lose your hard-earned money.