If there is one thing that Americans love, it’s shopping online. Roughly 79% of US citizens shop online using either their computers or mobile devices, and that number just keeps climbing. Whether you’re shopping for a stylish hooded sweatshirt, a new toy for your dog, your groceries or even a lawnmower, you can find it all on the World Wide Web and have it delivered directly to your door.
The Internet has changed the way we shop. We have access to just about anything we could ever need, and we can get it without ever leaving the comfort of our homes. Online shopping is fast, convenient and affordable. It’s no wonder we love it so much!
Unfortunately, one of the downsides of online shopping is not having a chance to actually see an item in person before purchasing it. Photographs only tell part of the story, and sometimes, the quality of what arrives in our mailboxes does not match the quality we saw online.
While there isn’t anything you can do to force sellers to accurately represent their products and sell only high-quality products, there are a few things you can do to help ensure that you get what you pay for. Here are a few product-purchasing tips to help ensure quality when shopping online.
Be Mindful of Where You Shop
No matter what you are looking for, there are probably thousands – maybe even millions – of online retailers who offer it. Not all sellers are created alike, though, so it’s important to only do business with those that you can trust to provide products with qualities that match their descriptions. If you are shopping for something like a designer purse, for example, it’s best to purchase directly from the designer or an authorized retailer. This ensures that the bag you buy will be authentic and of the highest quality.
Even when you are shopping for products that are not likely to be counterfeit, it’s always a good idea to order only from trusted online sellers. Take the time to check reviews or look up the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Read Product Reviews
It is also extremely important to read product reviews when shopping online. While the seller will likely present a description that makes the product sound absolutely amazing, the real information lies in the reviews. Pay close attention to recurring problems involving quality. Have multiple people stated that the jeans you’re looking at run really small? Are a lot of past buyers saying that the product fell apart after just a few uses?
While the occasional bad review isn’t necessarily a sign that you shouldn’t purchase a particular product, scanning through the reviews and seeing that problems are common lets you know that the quality of the product is likely unacceptable.
If It Seems Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
One of the great things about shopping online is having the ability to compare prices from several sellers without needing to run from store to store. Prices can vary drastically from one retailer to another for several reasons, and taking the time to shop around could save you a bundle.
It’s important to remember, though, that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. While significant price differences are possible, be wary if one seller is offering a substantially lower price than someone else. In the case of something like wholesale blank t shirts, a company with rock-bottom prices may be selling seconds or irregulars. If you’re looking for the best, top-quality products, ordering from that low bidder will most likely leave you feeling frustrated and disappointed. In other cases, products with prices that are too good may be counterfeit, used, or somehow damaged. Sometimes, they might even be stolen.
Check Return Policies Before Ordering
Despite your best efforts and due diligence, you may still end up ordering a product that doesn’t live up to your expectations. If you ordered through a legitimate company with a fair return policy, this shouldn’t be a major issue. You should be able to send the product back for a refund or exchange it for another product. It’s inconvenient and takes some time, but you shouldn’t find yourself stuck having wasted money on a product that didn’t’ meet your expectations.
If you failed to check the return policy before ordering and find out that the company doesn’t accept returns, though, you may have little recourse. In some situations, your credit card company or bank may reverse the charge if a product you receive is significantly different from the one you ordered, but it’s much easier if you can just return the item to the seller.
When reviewing return policies, make sure the company accepts returns for at least 30 days from the time when your product is shipped. Most companies won’t reimburse you for your original shipping and handling charges, but many will send pre-paid labels so you don’t have to spend a dime to send back your purchase. Read the policy closely to make sure that you can get your money back or exchange for another product if you are not satisfied with your purchase for any reason.
In the digital age, just about everything, we could ever possibly need is just a few clicks away. While the Internet has made it much easier to get the products we need, it’s also created opportunities for less-than-scrupulous individuals to sell products that are lacking in quality, counterfeit or even stolen. As an online shopper, it’s important to be cautious when ordering in order to increase the likelihood that your overall experience will be a good one.
By being mindful of where you shop, paying attention to reviews and making sure you can return products that you are not satisfied with, you can be fairly certain that your online purchases will meet your expectations.