An essential guide to online shopping

The internet has given rise to a number of online activities, especially during the current pandemic.  Among these is the rapid rise of online shopping as most people were inclined to buy most of their necessities online during the recent lockdown that was imposed as a measure to curb the looming coronavirus.

The seeming new mode of shopping is mostly preferred for its convenience, variety and endless choice of options, among other incentives for buyers. However, regardless of its ease, most people still find it hard to shop online because they aren’t sure how to go about it.

 

Below are some tips that can help guide you into the world of online shopping.

 

Do proper research 

 

It is important that when planning to do online shopping, you do proper research on the online shopping portal. This should be done before purchasing or making any payments for any product. It is also advisable to go through all the customer reviews on the company. This will help in establishing if the website and their products are legit.

Immediately check items upon delivery

Apart from looking for the necessary details of the online company such as their address and email address, Norah Mutesi, an entrepreneur who accesses a number of her clients online, says when shopping online one should check delivered items immediately upon delivery.

She also says that if possible, contact customer service for any required details. 

Online shopping is mostly preferred for its convenience  Net photos

“Never forget to examine your new purchase as soon as it arrives. It is better to be safe than sorry. That’s why it is also important to first discuss prices and refund policies, especially when placing orders with a site for the first time.”

Opt for cash on delivery

Payment for products bought online is mostly done through e-payments, this is what most sellers prefer. However it is key, especially when buying from a certain website for the first time, to choose cash on delivery. This helps to deal with unreliable sellers who tend to take payment from customers, but never deliver the products.

Make a shopping list

Mutesi says just like ordinary shopping, online shopping requires the buyer to be prepared.  She recommends making a list of what you want to buy prior to embarking on the real shopping. 

“This helps to prevent overspending because in most cases without a proper plan, you end up buying products you didn’t even plan on buying in the first place,” she says.

Mind product authenticity

Crème Kantengwa, a frequent online shopper, advises that when it comes to buying shoes and clothes or even wigs, only buy them online if goods are returnable. 

“This is because there are high chances of such goods not fitting you. Also, check with the manufacturers of a product for authenticity, some online shops exaggerate prices or advertise non-existent goods,” she says.

Another important factor she points out is to check reviews from other clients and the rate. “Their experience will tell if the online shop is worth your money.”

Avoid public Wi-Fi connections 

Because hackers can easily access public Wi-Fi connections, IT experts advise that it is safer to make purchases from home or private connections than from a public space. 

Ronald Mutabazi, a software developer, says it’s important to stay away from making purchases while connected to cafes, airports or other public hot spots. He also warns to look out for social networking sites deals, noting that these tend to be scam.

Utilise discounts 

When shopping online, a buyer has many chances of getting discounts which is a good package for those buying in bulk especially. Many online shopping sites offer a huge range of discounts, therefore, look out for these offers to save up some money. 

However, before shopping ensure that those discounts are really good and not put up just to get clicks. Most of the time, discounts are not applicable on all products. So, you must identify if the products you are planning to buy have discounts and then apply the right coupon code.

Read the terms and conditions of the product

Before purchasing any product online, make sure to read the terms and conditions.  You must also read the product warranty and quantity description, properly.

You can also choose to check out the company’s return and exchange policy. Go through the cancellation, return, exchange and refund policies of the company. If the portal does not allow you to return or exchange the product, avoid purchasing from such portals.

dmbabazi@newtimesrwanda.com

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