Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, many lives have been affected, and routines have been disrupted. In places where quarantine and lockdown measures are observed, individuals are confined in homes, with limited ways to unwind and distract themselves from the crisis outside.
One of the things that people find comfort today is online shopping. Since many are stuck inside and avoiding public places like malls, they resort to checking out shops online and browsing through store catalogs and categories. It’s a safe and instant way to get what they want or need without leaving their homes or exposing themselves to the risk of infection.
Let’s have a look at some of the upsides and downsides of online shopping during this time.
- You can look for reviews online. Shopping online gives you the power to look for reviews or seek recommendations before purchasing. You can also compare prices, allowing you to know you’re buying products from reliable stores.
- Safe and convenient. You can browse different e-commerce sites at once and select the delivery options that you prefer. There’s also no need to make a trip to multiple stores only to end up empty-handed. Additionally, you can always review your past purchases and repurchase them when needed.
- Reduces physical interaction. Online shopping helps you avoid exposure to COVID-19 since it’s done entirely online. No matter how careful and safe you are, the people around you may not be.
- Convenience comes with a cost. Shopping online means having the items delivered to your doorstep, which means you’ll have to cover delivery fees. This may vary from service to service, but if you buy from different stores, the prices can add up to a high cost.
- Possibility to receive wrong or damaged items. Since you can’t inspect the items physically, you’re left to trust the store, hoping they’ll deliver the right products. If possible, ask the seller to send a photo of the item/s before shipping it out to you.
- Risk of overspending. Since online shopping brings instant gratification, which a lot of people seek for these days, it can cause you to go over budget and buy things you don’t necessarily need. It’s important to manage your finances and stick to your budget, as you would do when shopping outside.
5 tips for safe and secure shopping online
- Make sure you’re shopping securely
Before you check out at an e-commerce website and input your personal details, including your bank account information, check if the website you’re browsing is secured. Here’s a checklist to help you stay safe shopping online.
- Check if the website uses “https.”
- When possible, browse incognito to prevent websites and marketers from tracking your shopping behavior.
- Update any antivirus software installed on your computer or mobile.
- Avoid shopping using public Wi-Fi networks.
- Never enter your personal details in unsecured forms.
- Be careful of sketchy online stores
Because of the crisis, many fraudulent online shops have popped up here and there, with some selling facemasks, hand sanitizers, and other essential supplies at a considerable markup. As much as possible, only shop on credible online stores.
Even if a website appears secure and legitimate on the surface, the sender may turn out to be a scammer. It’s best to look out for red signals, and when in doubt, check for reviews or bounce at once.
- Check for reviews
It’s always safer to shop from well-known e-commerce sites compared to lesser-known shops. But if you’ve found a new store that carries the items or goods you need, you can always check for reviews to see if they’re legitimate. Check their social media presence and review sites online to assess their credibility and customer feedback.
Beware of companies that write their own reviews. You can filter them out by looking at poor grammar or spelling and duplicate content.
- Manage your shopping budget wisely
It’s easy to spend more than you need and buy on impulse when shopping online. When you find something that you want and can’t stop thinking about it, install payments is good for letting you purchase items without putting a significant dent on your savings.
Whether you’re using cash on deliveries or inputting your credit card information, make sure to have a monthly budget for groceries and other essentials to avoid overspending. You can compare prices before checking out to stay within your budget. Be a responsible credit card owner and online shopper.
- Opt for a safe and secure payment method
When it’s time to pay for your order, refrain from using your debit card, so in case your transaction gets hijacked, your bank account won’t be drained. Using a credit card is better since you can quickly and easily shut it down in case the account is compromised. Moreover, you can consider using alternative payment methods like PayPal when shopping online.
Wrapping it up
In a digital world where everything is made more convenient and possible to do online, there remain individuals who use a crisis like a pandemic to exploit innocent people’s fears. These tips should help you stay vigilant online and become a savvy online shopper.