People fear change. That’s just human nature: we like things how they are and how they always have been and if something new comes along our first reaction is to rally against it and resist it.
Online shopping was something that few people really grabbed hold of when it first developed as a concept. The idea that you could buy things at the click of a button and then pay to have them delivered without actually seeing the product or meeting the sellers was considered rather risky. And if you had told a housewife back in the 1950s that one day we would be buying our groceries online in bulk to be delivered to our doors once a week she would have thought us lazy and wasteful.
But few people have the time to trail around the shops these days. Or rather they do not make the time because they do not have to: not when online shopping is so readily available. Now, you can buy anything from a loaf of bread to a computer to a holiday online, all on faith that the product you have paid for actually exists and is of satisfactory quality.
Not everyone is online just yet
There are still plenty of people who have not yet crossed over into the world of online shopping. Some hold on to the enjoyment to be had from strolling around town on a Saturday afternoon with a friend, stopping for lunch or a coffee on the way and browsing the stores for the right purchase or perfect present. Others are simply fearful of online shopping because of the rather mixed messages we are being given by society: on the one hand, online shopping is safe, easy and convenient; on the other, giving out our personal details and credit card information puts us at risk of identity theft and fraud.
How safe are we online?
We have all heard horror stories: like the friend who booked a holiday cottage in France for her family and some friends only to turn up in France to find that the cottage never existed and that all their money had been sent (stupidly) to someone’s private account and into the ether.
So how safe is online shopping? Can you really give out your personal and financial details without fear of being robbed? Yes, of course you can, though a few basic security tips will protect your computer from unwanted viruses and ensure that your money is well-spent.
Tips for secure online shopping
Firstly, make sure you know who you’re buying from. Check that they have contact details that can be verified (obviously, if they’re a large, well-known company then this is not usually necessary). Don’t give information other than on the payment page when completing your transaction: never give out personal details in response to any pop-up.
Check that what you’re buying is really what you want: especially note the size, material and so on (or you may end up with a miniature version of what you really wanted to buy).
Beware that while the cost of the product itself might seem very reasonable, savings can quickly vanish when you take into account delivery fees, so check what they are before committing to buy.
Also check returns policies and find out how exactly you could return a product: would you have to pay for postage?
The safest method of payment for an online purchase is with a credit card. If something were to go badly wrong with your purchase you could be able to claim your money back from your credit card company.
Finally, keep all the details of your online shopping purchase including any receipt in case of dispute later on, just as you would keep a receipt from a real-life shop.
This is a guest post by Elly, who has a passion for writing about Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle across the world. She also tweets regularly on the latest updates in the fashion and retail industry, which can be found here (@Russell_Elly).