Beginner’s guide to online shopping

Hello seniors! Online shopping is one of, if not the biggest conveniences the internet has to offer. December isn’t the best time to hit the mall if you don’t like crowded parking lots and stores. Why not tackle your shopping list from the comfort of your own home or wherever you and your smart phone are? There are a few basics to remember when shopping online. Here’s a beginner’s guide:

One major adjustment you might encounter with online shopping is that you can’t use cash. The most common way to pay is with a credit card. You can also use PayPal, email transfers or some retailers make it easy to use gift cards. For those of you just beginning to shop online, I wouldn’t recommend PayPal or email transfers  (information on these will be published soon!).

Credit card transactions are secure, as long as you take some precautions. Make sure you are shopping at a trusted, secure site. Big name retailers will make it easy not only to shop and find what you’re looking for, but to complete a purchase. Browse their sites for Frequently Asked Question pages (FAQs), Customer Service help and contact info and policies. A huge benefit to online shopping is it can be done anytime, day or night, however contacting Customer Service is often limited to traditional business hours. Read through all the policies prior to making that final purchase.

One way to save money is to qualify for free shipping. A lot of sites charge to have your order sent to you, a fee you wouldn’t have to pay if you went to a store. However many sites use a minimum purchase amount to waive the shipping costs. Taking advantage of this is easy but make sure to read the site’s policy. Online shopping can save you time and money but don’t fall for common sales strategies. Like traditional shopping, keep your eyes on the prize. Online stores are often set up to attract shoppers with ads, bundles and more.

Another way to save is to use coupon codes. You can add a coupon code when you’re finalizing your order. For more experienced shoppers, you can use Google to see if any valid codes are available online. If you’re not sure and you want to take advantage of you’re first-time status, why not contact Customer Service and mention you’re new at online shopping. If they’re trying to win loyal customers, they might just give you a code over the phone. It can’t hurt to ask.

There are a few ways to make sure your credit card info doesn’t fall into the wrong hands: Be sure to sign out or log out of any site that you’ve created an account for and shop at retailers you’d feel comfortable using a credit card with in their traditional store.

Online shopping is a huge topic to cover, be sure to check back for more tips.

About Jennifer Stern

Blogger, writer, mother, daughter, wife - I'm firmly planted in the sandwich generation. I've spent years writing about technology and how to use it in the business world. Now I'm turning my vocation into passion and writing for a greater audience, those who can most benefit from convenience but who may be tech-shy. Welcome to Digital Seniors!