Shopping Online: Convenience, Bargains And A Few Scams
Online buying and selling has become an important part of many people’s lives. Students and parents rely on the internet to acquire and sell textbooks at affordable prices, virtual stores allow people to shop from the comfort of their homes without the pressure of a salesperson, and online marketplaces provide a new and more convenient venue for the exchange of virtually all types of goods and services.
Both businesses and customers have embraced online sales as a cheaper and more convenient way to shop, but just like anything associated with the Internet, there are benefits and dangers associated with shopping online. Read on to learn how to protect yourself while you use this handy resource.
Mechanics: How Does Online Buying Work?
Shopping online is just like heading out to the store. You can buy all the same things from your home computer and can sometimes even get access to better sales.
Finding a Product
When you shop online, you have to start by searching for a product. This can be done by visiting a store’s website or, if you are not aware of any store that has the particular item you are looking for or you’d like to compare prices between stores, you can always search for the items with a search engine and compare the results.
Buying and Receiving the Product
After finding and selecting your desired product, the webpage usually has a “checkout” option. When you check out, you are often given a list of shipping and payment options. Shipping options include standard, expedited and overnight shipping. Depending on the shipping company being used and your location, standard shipping usually takes seven to 21 business days and expedited shipping can take anywhere from two to six business days.
When it comes to paying for your purchase(s), there are also different options:
- E-Check: This payment option is just like paying directly from your bank account. If you choose to pay by electronic check, you are required to enter your routing and account numbers. Once this is done, the amount is taken directly from your bank account.
- Credit Card: When you pay by credit card, instead of swiping your card as you would at a brick-and-mortar store, you type the required credit card information into provided fields. Required information includes your credit card number, expiration date, type of card (Visa, MasterCard, etc.) and verification/security number, which is usually the last three digits on the back of the card, right above the signature.
- Payment Vendors: Payment vendors or payment processing companies, such as PayPal, are e-commerce businesses that provide payment exchange services. They allow people to safely transfer money to one another without sharing financial information. Before you make a purchase through a payment vendor, you’ll need to set up an account first to verify your credit card and/or financial institution information.
Advantages of Online Trading
There are a lot of benefits to be gained from buying and selling online. These include:
- Convenience: It is very convenient to be able to do all your shopping from where ever you are located.
- Cost Savings: With ever-increasing gas prices, shopping online saves you the cost of driving to and between stores as well as parking fees. You will also save time by avoiding standing in line, particularly around the holidays, when stores are very busy.
- Variety: The internet provides sellers with unlimited shelf space, so they are more likely to offer a wider variety of products than they would in brick-and-mortar stores.
- No Pressure: In a virtual or online store, there is no salesperson hovering around and pressuring you to purchase an item.
- Easy Comparison: Shopping online eliminates the need to wander from store to store trying to compare prices.