Online shopping has become such a natural part of the connected experience, that it is easy to forget there are still many South Africans yet to become part of the e-commerce culture, even more so now than ever before. But what should first-time online shoppers be aware of?
As a brand that has revolutionized our online retail space with multiple touchpoints. Here are our tips on how you can embrace online shopping:
Even before you start buying online, it’s time to get down to basics. While it’s incredibly easy to buy a product online, the buyer beware principle still applies. Thanks to social networking, you can reach out to friends and family to find out if they would recommend a product. Also, read the reviews on the selected item (usually listed under the product on the site you want to purchase it from) or just do a general search online.
Compare products and prices
Much like in real-world stores, it is always advisable to browse around and see what the going rate for a product is. While low-value items do not significantly differ from site to site, you will notice that electronics and appliances do. In some instances, a television set or washing machine might be cheaper by a few hundred Rands on Site X versus Site Y. For instance, if you visit the Teljoy site, you may find the items more affordable because of the unique selling model of rent-to-own, rather than the full cost of buying a product in the usual way. You can also make use of the price and product comparison tool on the website, which makes it so much easier to find the right product at the best price for you.
Create a profile
Once you have found a reputable site that has the product you are looking for, it’s time to create a profile. Also sign up for the monthly newsletter to ensure you receive specials for that one item that you have your eye on. And while nobody loves to read the fine print, it is useful to read the Terms and Conditions on a site when it comes to delivery times and fees, return policies, and the like, to ensure it meets with your expectations.
Okay, this is the one you’ve been waiting for – what about the security of the site and the safety of your credit (or debit) card details and other personal information? Fortunately, online stores have invested significantly in keeping your data and their systems safe. After all, it is in their best interest to not have a messy media scandal. A safe site would have what is known as secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption. The address in the address bar would start with “https://”, preceded by a small “locked” symbol.
Online shoppers should also beware of doing their shopping via open and often free WiFi in public spaces or in cafes, restaurants or other places that offer this service, as hackers could be occupying the same space waiting to intercept a user’s online traffic and get hold of usernames and passwords.
Once you’ve got the security principles down, you should go out there and have fun browsing, comparing, and searching for the hottest deals for the product you are looking for. The convenience of online shopping is unmatched. Be safe and enjoy it.