These days, shopping online is the norm. For one thing, there are more and more companies that sell their goods and services on their websites. For another, it is now a lot easier to make purchases online than ever before.
In 2018, around 1.8 billion people all over the world made at least one purchase online. Adding to this fact is that e-commerce is responsible for over 8 percent of retail sales in America alone. Clearly, online shopping is here to stay and is only set to grow in the future.
On the one hand, this does offer you quite a few advantages as a digital consumer. You now have more options than ever before. At the same time, it is becoming more important for you to be a smart digital consumer.
Not sure what this means, let alone how to be one? Well, there’s no need to worry since you will find all the information that you need right here.
Be Aware of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Is it easy to recall a time before smartphones and Wi-Fi? Well, if you were to think hard, you might succeed, but this isn’t a period too many people like to reflect on. The thing is, modern technology has made our lives a great deal simpler. We can now communicate with each other in a matter of seconds and most of the information we want is at our fingertips.
In case that wasn’t impressive enough, it is now easier to be entertained than ever before. With just a few clicks, you can browse through endless images, videos, articles, and more to keep you occupied for hours. So, when you consider all this, it is easy to forget that the internet has a dark side as well.
For instance, most people aren’t aware of the fact that around 70 percent of all counterfeit goods are sold online! This may sound shocking but when you think about it, it actually makes sense. After all, the only time you can actually verify what you have bought online is once it has been delivered to you. This can often be weeks after you have made payment.
Now, this information isn’t meant to turn you away from being a digital consumer completely. Rather, it serves as a reminder that you should be more careful when shopping online. If something appears too good to be true, then it probably is.
Understand the Importance of In-depth Research
Let’s imagine for a moment that you would like to buy a particular product on a certain website. What is the first thing you will do after you have narrowed down your purchase? Well, like any savvy online shopper, you would probably head down to the review section. After all, this is where you can figure out whether a product lives up to its claims or not.
Or, is it? As it turns out, you may not be able to trust this information as much as you would like to. There have been many instances where companies pay people to write positive views on product pages. Or, they may just get an employee to do it for them.
It can also go the other way. Some companies may smear their competitors’ product so that they can bring down the ratings. At the end of the day, you have to be quite careful when reading reviews of these products and spotting the fakes among the real ones.
However, your research shouldn’t end – or even begin, in some cases – here. Instead, you need to go ahead and do a bit of investigating. Fortunately for you, this has gotten quite a bit simpler thanks to sites such as consumerhelp.guide. These, and others like it, consist of more detailed reviews. Here, the writers have often tested out the products themselves over a period of time. As such, they are much better equipped to offer you advice on their performance.
Be Aware of the Wrong Influences
Speaking of research, most people have a rather simple way of doing theirs: they head to their favorite Instagram page or YouTube to figure out what they should and shouldn’t buy. As mentioned, this can be quite an easy and effortless way to get hold of reviews.
At the same time, these individuals can hardly be considered reliable. The role of social media influencer is growing. Unfortunately, their dependability is decreasing. It is becoming more and more apparent that these stars are getting paid to advertise products that they don’t actually believe in.
Thus, you should be careful about just who it is you are listening to when getting advice. Although you may feel like you can trust a particular influencer, make sure to back up their claims with further research.
The Evolution of Privacy Online
One of the biggest debates around today is regarding personal information and how it doesn’t appear to be exactly private anymore. Now, this doesn’t just refer to the pictures you post on social media or the information that you freely provide on surveys. No, it is also about your details being sold without your knowledge.
It is important to keep in mind that much of your actions on the internet are tracked. Sometimes, it is regarding your shopping preferences and dislikes. Other times, it is regarding passwords and other sensitive details. Once these sites or companies get hold of this information, they tend to sell it to third party agencies.
Be aware of every piece of information you type in when on a website. Are you unwittingly providing someone with access to your name, e-mail address, phone number, and more?
Another thing you should get into the habit of doing is checking the privacy policies of the e-commerce websites you are dealing with. Have they specifically mentioned that they would not pass on any of your information or are they rather vague regarding their position?
Stay Up to Date on Developments
The final element of being a smart digital consumer is to make sure you know what’s going on in the world. For instance, you should be aware of any major e-commerce companies (or major brands, in general) that have been accused of recalls or forgeries. It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for major scams or frauds that are sweeping the nation.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for such issues to crop up, cause a heap of problems, and then disappear. If you get caught up in one of these, you may end up losing sensitive information or money. So, it is best to stay up to date on current affairs around the world.
There is no denying that being a digital consumer has gotten a lot more complicated over the years. It is no longer a matter of just heading over to a particular site and making a purchase. If you want to be certain that you are getting the best deal possible, you should make an informed decision. To do this, follow all the tips and tricks mentioned in this article. It is the only way you can stay ahead of the game.