The Art of Buying Safely Online

Why do you want to buy online?

You would like to buy online because:

Convenience

  • You do not have to ride to the mall.
  • You do not have to drive around ten blocks to find a parking place.
  • You do not have to jostle around with the crowds in the mall.
  • You do not want anyone following your every move with a hawk’s eye.
  • You do not want some one to convince you into buying, something that you do not need.

Well, I think they are good enough reasons why you would like to get onto the net and go buy something online.

Standard Features of online malls
Most of them are visitor friendly. Let us look at one such Online eMall I came across.

Let us now see how these Online eMall websites are designed.  This is a generic website.  Of course you understand that this site does not exist and it is only for demonstration purposes I am mentioning it here.  Let us call it simply – Online eMall.

The customer-friendly Online eMall website is cleanly laid out. The website name is very clearly displayed on the home page.

A key feature of this Online eMall is, it  offers franchises.  Normally, the franchise’s name appears to your left, right beneath the Online eMall profile. Then you have the navigation bar that indicates the e-franchise home, orders tracking and a tab to invite friends to the site.

Then you see those small folder icons: The name of the folders indicate the contents and within brackets the number of items too. For example the first folder is Beauty and Personal Care and it is displaying 43. When you click on the folder, the column to it’s right displays all those items that fall under the “Beauty and Personal Care” category. Each item has a small picture of the product / service with pricing, availability and probable shipping time.

So, all the visitor has to do is click on the folder on the left, view items that appear on the right, add her choice to the shopping cart, fill the forms and pay, to have them delivered at her doorstep. But before she confirms the order, it is up to her to make doubly sure that she is ordering exactly what she expects.

When the shopping season approaches, the Online eMall  owners will update the site and announce really amazing products and services to it’s customers, at great prices.

Phishing
OK, so what makes you think it is safe to buy online? Haven’t you heard of those who collect your credit details and siphon off monies without you ever knowing about it?

Yes, I have heard about that and read about it too. But then there are always those elements around. All you have to do is take a few precautions and you are better off.

Now let’s see what those precautions are:

FAQ’s
Every online shopping mall would have a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and a privacy policy. Read them both carefully and if you are convinced that it is a good site and is taking care of your interests go ahead and do your shopping.

Warranties and Guarantees
Check if the the site is offering warranties and or guarantees on the products and services they are offering before you make your purchase decision.

Postal Address
You must take care to see if the postal address of the site is given on the web site. If it is not there, then their intentions are in doubt and I advise you not to do business with them.

Cash
There may be occasions that the company or any individual you are buying from asks for cash, say no. Tell them that you would prefer to pay with your credit card. That way you are protecting yourself from avoidable fraudulant transactions.

Help and Support
There are genuine sellers and are helpful. They would be more than happy to help you with your doubts and queries that you might have. Some of these sites do have a live chat service where you get instant answers. Some of them have Feedback forms for their customers and they always write you back about your concerns.

Search and Research
Use the search engines to learn about the online shopping mall that you are trying to buy from. This would help you learn more about them and you can make a buying decision based on that.

Reviews
If there are reviews left by customers read them. It would give you a better insight about this online shopping mall and how they go about treating their customers.

Return Policy
You should also make sure what their Return Policy is, so that you know exactly what to expect.

RESOURCES
There is this excellent site that tells you how to protect yourself from online phishing scams. Please click here to visit the site.

Happy Shopping!

Note:
This article was first published elsewhere on August 6, 2009 and the site is no more available.  Hence I am posting it here again.

https://web.archive.org/web/20101123150210/http://rightword.blogsome.com

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How to drum up your business?

Jose Feliciano, store – owner of Five Star Pets,a pet food store of Miles Town says that during a recession advertisement dollars are hard to come by. A small business owner, Jose feels that every dollars needs to be conserved to offer the best range to the thrifty customer that drops in.  Anne, a single mother and a part time sales person says sales at their store had begun to perk up ever since her employer, Jane had begun to advertise in the local news paper.

“It is always better to be seen at the convention, than the flea market”, says Liz, a gift and souvenir stores owner.  Incidentally Liz imports novelty and gift items from China.  Liz is on the road most of the time and conventions are the places where she feels she is able to drum up more business and get  to add new ones to her rolodex and eventually to her shipping list.

Conventions add value

Conventions are better organized and it is much easier to set up the show and it takes much less time to get the word out to potential customers.  It brings in a touch of professionalism to the business – especially to the one-man-army-bands. It helps to get to know the different market conditions.  The reps are there who bring in their new lines. Networking with the other players is easy.

Do conventions cost more?

Though at the end of the day, booth rentals and advertising costs, flyers, bill boards add up to  overheads, there is also the cost of the give-aways to count.  The get- to-know-dinners do add value to the relationship though it adds up to the costs.  But then they are all evened out by the business one does.  Out of towners obviously need to factor in their motel rents and parking charges.  Some of the convention centers charge additional fees for power and phone lines but then according to Peter Brown, a small business coach, “every dollar spent here is worth it.  You get a place, you get your buyer and he’s got the money.  You get to know the right guy who calls the the shots.  So it is that much easier and quicker to close the deal.  Everything under one roof and that includes your press-bureau too. I always advise my sellers to plan their presence.  That way they can keep their own expenses down”.

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