Essential online shopping tips

These online shopping tips will help you get what you want, faster and cheaper
Photo by CC user intelfreepress on Flickr

Since 1995, when the first Internet retailers attracted 16 million shoppers, online shopping has been a growth industry. Innovations such as payment services, coupon deals, and apps are everyday to us, but have made a huge impact on the numbers of online shoppers. While countries around the world have varying levels of online shopping, some estimates put the online shopping population at 1.75 billion people.

Why is online shopping so popular?

Most of you probably shop because of the convenience of shopping at any time of day from the comfort of home. You can buy everything from avocados to refrigerators online. It saves time, travel costs, and sometimes taxes. Add delivery to your front door and it’s a wonder anyone goes out anymore!

Online shopping is also helpful for pricing items. You may end up going to a physical store, but doing some research beforehand can save you going from store to store to find the best price.

The relative privacy of online shopping is another of its attractive features. Sometimes, you just don’t want to be seen purchasing items that are either personal, such as prescription drugs or lingerie, or that might open you up to theft, such as jewelry, electronics, or artwork.

If you hate crowds or the pushy techniques of sales associates, then online shopping is the perfect way to complete your wish list.

Online shopping has also opened the doors of the world to shoppers. You can buy hand-made finger puppets from China, premium chocolate from the Skelligs in Ireland, leather pumps from Italy, or an antique armoire from New Zealand.

Sellers up their game

As great as online shopping is for buyers, it has many benefits for retailers as well. Perhaps the greatest is the exposure of products and services to a worldwide marketplace. It doesn’t matter what size your company is – for the price of web hosting, you can open your sales potential exponentially with an online presence that is open around the clock.

With omnichannel, retailers can offer their products in the format most accessible to customers. Omnichannel selling uses brick and mortar, catalog, television, and whatever else you can imagine to reach customers. Adding online to this definitely increases sales potential.

Of course, more exposure also means more competition. Online retailers need to offer shoppers a reason to pick their product or service. A sampling of services includes allowing customers to order items online and pick them up from a brick-and-mortar store, virtual mannequins for clothes shopping, and selling via smartphones.

Online shopping tips

With all this online activity, you need to be aware of ways that your shopping experience can be maximized. These tips will help you get the best deals while shopping securely.

For convenience and safety, you should use and bookmark your favorite sites. For example, when you decide to purchase a DVD, a winter coat, and a juicer, you want to avoid an online search for those items because you could end up with malicious sites in your results. Go to a reputable, trustworthy site such as As seen on TV, which attracts shoppers because it can offer you all the items on your list and more. You know that you’ll get a great price as well. Bookmark the page so that you can return to it easily and safely in the future.

If it’s too good to be true, pass it up. Getting ads in your email with requests to click on a link should be ignored. If an online ad is offering huge discounts, you may face a threat to your computer if you try to check it out. You can block fake sites with up-to-date security software.

Companies will sometimes base prices on your spending patterns, so you can end up paying more than other shoppers. The companies do this by saving cookies. You can avoid this pricing tactic by erasing cookies on your browser. While shopping, use a private window, and log out of your account when you are finished.

You can use social media to find deals. Facebook, Twitter, and email subscriptions are great ways to get notice of sales. Many retailers will offer special discounts to their followers and subscribers. You can also compare the prices of different retailers with an online comparison website such as Bizrate, and look for coupons on sites such as RetailMeNot.

You can find more variety and flexibility than ever before with the growth of online stores. You can feel secure and get great deals, so start shopping!

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