E-commerce has been taking the world by a storm even before the pandemic. It’s become more prominent than ever now that physical shops aren’t the safest place to visit. So, if you’re ready for a shopping spree, it might be better to find an online store than go to town.
Before you start filling the cart, though, you should find the best spot for your purchases. You could always stick to the basics and visit Amazon or eBay. However, there are so many small businesses with lucrative offers that you’d be missing out by only focusing on the major ones.
If you’re ready to dig a bit deeper to find your new favourite online vendor, let’s examine the steps to ensure that you’re getting the best offer.
The first and often most telling feature that sets good stores apart from bad ones is the website quality. Enter the site and look around – is it easy to navigate pages and find what you’re looking for? If the answer is no, the shop is likely a no-go.
Competition is a reality in e-commerce. As a result, all reputable providers put a lot of effort into optimizing the user experience. Plus, if the design is shabby, the products aren’t likely to be any better.
You don’t have to learn all about web design to determine which ones are high-quality, either. Your intuition will tell you everything you need to know in most cases. If you want to get a bit more technical, consider the following:
- Mobile-friendliness. Experts from a website design company (aiad.com.au is a Sydney based such company) explain responsive site-building and why it’s fundamental for any high-quality store. If the shop doesn’t let you browse comfortably from your phone, the owners haven’t put in enough work for you to stick around.
- Payment means. While the store doesn’t have to feature every existing payment method, don’t settle for an option that doesn’t support your preferred choice. Also, as a rule of thumb, the more systems they support, the better.
- Product specifications. Sellers have to optimize their products for SEO, but that process doesn’t help search engines only. Detailed descriptions and HD pictures help you as well, disclosing all necessary product information.
- The checkout process. Another essential consideration for online brands is ‘closing the deal.’ It has to do with the checkout, and those looking to stay competitive make it seamless and hassle-free.
Examining these aspects helps you imagine the website building process. This information makes it easier to gauge how much effort a company puts into their store, and in turn, how high-quality the services are.
Even if you run into a shop that ticks all the web design boxes, you still need to check its reputation. Luckily, people tend to be very vocal about poor experiences, so a simple Google search will quickly uncover any significant scandals.
If nothing awful comes up, go a step further by checking out evaluations. Various shopping platforms and review websites share professional opinions about e-commerce businesses, helping you assess the quality.
The final step includes reading about real-life experiences. Sometimes, professional reviewers get paid by the stores to give positive feedback, but you can’t go wrong with previous users. Running into too many people who faced the same issue with the services is an obvious red flag.
If the pool of available options is still too broad after you follow these steps, you’ll like the next one. It’s all about the extras shops offer to users to keep them coming.
Some stores take the essential benefits of online shopping to the next level by introducing innovative bells and whistles that improve user experience.
For example, you could enjoy:
- Dedicated apps. Websites are great, but having an optimized smartphone app that synchronizes with your web activities is even better.
- Notifications. Getting emails from brands can be annoying. However, some figured out the ideal formula, letting you choose the events you want to get notified about and not spamming you with the rest.
- Discounts. Like physical stores, e-commerce websites host seasonal and random discounts. Take advantage of these.
- Reviews. Product reviews beneath each item you’re considering will make you much more confident in your choice.
In reality, the list could go on forever. This step is all about what you like most about shopping and finding a store that matches those desires.
Safety & Precautions
Let’s finish by sharing some tips about safety while you’re ordering items. Even if a store has a stellar reputation, the following practices can’t hurt.
Use Credit Cards
Ideally, you’ll handle your online purchases using a credit card. The federal law protects users from fraud, so you won’t face issues if the website becomes problematic.
You could also open a separate account for online shopping. That way, it’s easier to keep track of your transactions and minimize the damage you’d experience if there’s a leak.
Check the Encryption
The page where the seller sends you for checkout should be encrypted, ensuring your payment information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.
An easy way to tell whether this page is encrypted is by checking the URL. It should say ‘HTTPS’ instead of ‘HTTP.’
A seller asking for your birth date or social security number is a red flag. The only reason vendors could ask for that without causing suspicion is if you’re applying for in-store financing.
When it comes to birthdays, stores could ask for the date to send gift cards. While it does sound enticing, you should avoid it.
Finally, you might face some ups and downs even after going through these steps to find the best online store. Delays, getting wrong items, and experiencing website glitches are all a reality of e-commerce.
Still, ensuring you found the best spot for online shopping reduces the frequency of such issues while maximizing the benefits of doing all your shopping from the comfort of your home.