With the advent of e-commerce, festive shopping has become so much easier.
It's no longer imperative to navigate through long queues and infinite traffic jams to shop for one's home or to buy gifts.
During this season, all of us get easily lured by online retailers offering incredible deals and discounts that sound just too good to resist. While getting carried away with these attractive offers and jubilant spirit of the season is easy, but a smart shopper needs to be on the guard.
With the advent of e-commerce, it's no longer imperative to navigate through long queues and infinite traffic jams to shop (Photo: Shutterstock)
So, before you press the 'Buy Now' tab, follow these simple tips and become a smart e-shopper:
COD or Credit Cards: First-time online shoppers may prefer to go in for cash on delivery before they get entirely comfortable with the concept of e-shopping. This way they know that they are paying for the product only after they receive the physical item in their hands. However, if one is an expert online shopper, paying through credit cards is better as there are always good deals on purchases made through cards. Also, one can accumulate points on shopping done through cards and these can later be redeemed for buying other goods.
Shop Securely: If you are using a card to shop online, it is imperative to always log out of your account after you're done. Register your cards with Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode when prompted. They add an extra level of security when you shop and ensure that every transaction is transparent and authentic.
Check Credentials: First and foremost, one must do a stringent background check on the website from which one is making the purchase. It is essential to see if the registered office address is available on the site or not, along with a valid landline number. The absence of these details could mean that you're buying from a company with dubious credentials and there are more chances of you never getting a delivery or receiving something sub-standard.
Invest in quality: It is imperative for those looking to spend on big purchases like state-of-the-art home appliances, decorative items, expensive gifts for loved ones and apparel and jewellery to invest in trusted brands and not be swayed by unrealistic offers made by websites you've never heard of before. A good balance between competitive prices and assured quality is most essential when shopping online.
Get the best bang for the buck: Most of the complaints related to e-commerce are on issues like late delivery, quality of the product etc. You must carefully read the details like the date of delivery, availability of the product and the version of the product while shopping. Often, you might get tempted to buy an older version simply because a particular website is willing to sell it at rock-bottom price. It may make more sense to spend a little extra and get the latest variant instead of getting tempted by a marginally lower price now and coveting the newest invention in just a few months. You must remember that you're paying that low price because what you are getting in that amount is also at par. Before making a purchase you should carefully read the reviews on the seller if it's a marketplace. You should also ensure that what you are buying is an original product and not a fake.
Also read: The great Diwali shopping
Ensure optimal post-sales services: Customers must make sure of the warranty they are getting on high-value white goods like air-conditioners, televisions, refrigerators, micro-wave ovens etc. One needs to check whether additional services like warranties are being offered on these purchases if they are bought through online channels.
Make an informed and well-researched choice: For high-value purchases, before purchasing do a little research and read reviews online or talk to friends to find out about the quality of the product as well as post sales service and select at least three brands in the same category that you would like to own. Once you have the brand list ready, then go to various online sites and compare the offers of these brands only. There is so much noise in the market, it's very easy to get confused and make a wrong purchase because of these freebies or offers. So the wise move will be to first check about the quality of product that you are intending to buy and its post sales service and then look for the best price available across platforms.
Shopping online during the festive season can be a very overwhelming experience as you are surrounded by offers everywhere you click. Each advertisement and sales pitch is more astute and irresistible than the others.
Even if you've saved a neat sum through the year to splurge now, it's essential to remember that you need to get what you are paying for. There is no point spending your cash on something that you don't really want simply because it's very cheap.
It's better to invest wisely in one good thing and have a good customer experience than buy five cheap things and be hassled by each one of them. If you remember that shopping smart goes beyond just the price tag, you're sure to enjoy the festive season to the hilt!
Note: Author Ankur Singla is the Founder and CEO of Akosha.com.