How To Optimise Your Online Shopping
[Written by *Adrian
King, Sales Manager of Australia Gift Shop]
This article has also been published in
Article Alley &
Internet shopping is now a common and convenient pastime on a global
scale. However, it is not always safe and the results are not always
satisfying, or even satisfactory. By careful observation and research, it is
possible to avoid frustrating and negative online shopping experiences. One
means of providing yourself with the best possible chance of experiencing
exclusively positive and enjoyable online shopping is to develop the routine
of employing a checklist of criteria for gauging the shopworthiness of
ecommerce websites. In other words, you can follow a routine checklist to
judge whether or not it will be worthwhile purchasing from the ecommerce
website of any particular online vendor.
The bottom line involves security and privacy with both credit card
details and personal information. This first criteria (or way of judging)
for shopworthiness on your checklist includes finding and reading the shop's
details to a business that shares your email address and other contact
details with the highest bidder. This openly invites spam emails from
unsolicited, though often rampant, email and Internet marketers. Also read
the company profile or "About Us" page and ensure that the full range of
business contact details are provided on the site, including not just an
email address, but also a real-world street address and a phone number.
These particulars can be checked through reputable and reliable sources such
as the official Yellow Pages phone directory online.
Be alert to any available details about their transaction security
(including the little lock displayed at the bottom of your browser window
when you are in a secure site). https:// (instead of http://) at the start
of a web address in the address bar near the top of your browser window is
another clear indication that the page you are on is a secure one, protected
by 128-bit encryption. This security is absolutely essential for the page on
which you provide credit card details, otherwise these details are open to
exposure to anyone attempting to intercept your activity on the net. Online
Payment Services such as PayPal and Paymate provide reputable and
trustworthy security for credit card payments and money transfers between
online shoppers and online merchants.
The second criteria on the shopworthiness checklist is the clarity and
detail of product descriptions and information (including product image
displays and stated delivery times). Reasonable purchasing decisions on the
part of net shoppers require sufficient information to allow for precise
product and price comparisons between goods or services in an online shop
and similar goods and services in other shops, both online and
bricks-and-mortar. Using a currency converter, which is typically made
easily available by professional international ecommerce/shopping sites, is
often essential for making price comparisons. A vendor's product displays
and shopping cart need to clearly state the currency of the marked prices.
Also ensure that you are aware of any add-on taxes and shipping costs.
A third checklist criteria for judging shopworthiness is prior knowledge,
whether it be recommendation by a trusted source (such as a reputable
magazine or website), a reputation which precedes a vendor, or previous
first-hand experience with a particular merchant. This covers faithfulness
of product descriptions to goods delivered, promptness of delivery,
communication & response to you as a customer. Reputation involves the
trustworthiness of a brand, order fulfillment, fulfillment of customer
expectations and general customer service. If you have prior knowledge of a
particular online vendor, does that knowledge engender trust and confidence
in the vendor?
Shopworthiness checklist criteria number four is ease of site navigation
and smooth functionality of shopping cart. If a shop cares about its
customers, it will allow them easy access to the product range, available
product choices, a basket in which to gather their goods together (shopping
cart) and an uncluttered sales counter (checkout which provides a clear
purchase summary and a single receipt of payment for the whole transaction).
You should also expect to receive prompt emails for confirmation of order &
payment and confirmation of dispatch.
The four checklist criteria for shopworthiness can become part of your
mental checklist when deciding whether or not a particular online shop is
worth shopping at. A quick, systematic routine of observation and on-site
research can certainly help to optimise your Internet shopping experience in
terms of safety, satisfaction and enjoyment.
*Adrian King is the Sales Manager for
Australia Gift Shop, an online gift and souvenir shop based in Bundaberg in
the state of Queensland in Australia. The online shop at
www.australiagift.net retails gifts from Australia which feature traditional
Australian Aboriginal art, referencing the mythical Dreamtime and painted by
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