With more and more people are choosing to do their shopping online for various reasons, it’s really important for everyone to know about both the benefits and potential problems related to buying things without actually going to a shop. While the advantages are quite obvious, especially since we’re under all sorts of restrictions due to the pandemic, it’s the obstacles that we should focus on. Needless to say, the growing popularity of online shopping has also attracted a number of scams. So, let’s take a look at some of those potential pitfalls and how we can avoid them. 

Hidden shipping charges

It’s natural that we get attracted by an offer for a product that is much lower than the one at the local brick-and-mortar retail stores. Still, there is something else you should consider here, and that are the shipping and handling costs to get those items to your doorstep. These fees usually appear right before we click the “Complete your order” button. That means we’ve already gone through the hassle of choosing our items, filling up our particulars and credit card information and that we are too excited at the prospect of securing a bargain that we can easily neglect the shipping fee, which can easily make the product more expensive than store prices.

There is a good reason why merchants place the shipping fee information near the finishing line. Namely, some of them may charge you a separate shipping fee for each item shipped instead of a single fee for all items. Alternatively, they might offer free shipping only if orders exceed a certain amount or only to members who need to pay an annual membership fee. That’s why you should always check how much shipping and handling will cost you.


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Do you get exactly what you see?

The thing that puts many people off when it comes to online shopping is the fact that they never actually see the product before it arrives, especially when it comes to buying apparel. No matter how detailed pictures and product descriptions are, most of us would like to see the product we’re interested in before buying it. To avoid this issue, you should first check the return policy in place. If you’re not satisfied with the item you ordered, you should be able to return it and get a full refund. 

Even better, you should use platforms that allow you to see the product being used. For example, the new and innovative Shoppster platform allows viewers to see the product on offer 24/7, which makes it easier for buyers to reach a conclusion regarding their purchase. Also, such platforms often offer discounts to members and it is a good idea to use this benefit since the prices are occasionally slashed and you might really get the most bang for your buck.

Unreliable delivery times

Delivery times may sometimes take a hit, especially in the shopping season or when the time is in high demand, which is why you might have to wait for your item a bit longer. The best way to avoid this trap is to purchase from an online merchant that has a proper automatic notification system in place, which will inform you if their stock is running low. Some more reputable sites will update you on the status of your shipment through an email or text message. Finally, take note that most sites indicate the duration in terms of business days, not calendar days.

Secure Connections for Payments

Another element that raises concern, and rightfully so, is the security of payment channels. To begin with, avoid using unsecured, open Wi-Fi hotspots that are freely available in public places because they do not offer encryption, which means that anyone who is connected to the same hotspot can gather data which you transmit online, be it your login details or your emails. Next, there are the bogus hotspots that trick unsuspecting people into logging in. Once you are in, the hackers can record your keystrokes, or mine your device for sensitive information. 

That’s why you should use such a connection only for browsing, but you should never log in while using it. Finally, if you have to buy something while connected to public Wi-Fi, make sure the payment site is secure and encrypted. The web address should begin with “https” instead of the usual “http” and there should be a “lock” icon on your browser.

These are just four of man potential traps related to online shopping. However, they seem to cause the greatest concern among shoppers, which is why you need to be aware of these pitfalls. If you manage to avoid the traps, you’ll stand every chance of reaping all the great benefits of online shopping.

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