Online shopping has become a staple of modern life. Most people have grown accustomed to ordering items online and showing up at their front door within a few days. Amazon has perfected online shopping and is now considered the standard all other online shopping is compared to. The Amazon effect has changed how we buy everything from everyday goods to specialty orders from across the globe. In a world now dominated by online shopping, you must know how to navigate the digital retail realm. Online shopping centers around convenience, but you must practice due diligence to ensure you are getting the deal you think you are.
Too Good To Be True, Usually Is
Everyone wants to find the best deal as no one wants to pay more than they have to for the items they want. With some time and dedicated searching, you can usually find good deals for most items, but you will occasionally happen upon a deal that seems too good to be true, and that is because it is too good to be true. If an item usually sells for $200, you should strongly doubt an offer to sell it at $50. Most of these “too good to be true sales” are not being honest, and you may receive an entirely different item than you were expecting, or it will be significantly lower quality. Knockoff and bootleg versions of popular items are often behind the sales that are too good to be true.
This problem has become so prolific there are entire pages dedicated to helping shoppers within specific industries spot fake deals. One example is the figure industry. Genuine and authentic figures can have price tags reaching into the thousands, but a knockoff version of the same figure will sell for significantly less while falsely claiming to be the real deal. Every item that has a bootleg will have some way to identify authentic goods. High-end clothing will have unique tags or certifications, and collectibles may come with an authenticity sticker or verification, so you can spot deals that are nothing but a scam.
Amazon has normalized and standardized 2-day delivery. It can be easy to expect anything you order online to arrive within two days of shipping, and most people expect their order to arrive at least within a week, but that is not always possible. When you are ordering something online, you should note where the item will be coming from. An item that is shipping from within your country should arrive much faster than an item from across the globe.
If you need an item to arrive within a specific timeframe, ordering internationally could be risky. Even if your item ships quickly, it could be held up in customs for a long time, and you may be subject to import fees, which will make the item more expensive than you thought. If you are buying items from a person rather than an international company, shipping could be even more complicated. So take the time to see where your items are coming from to gauge how long it will take to reach you and if that timeline works for you or not.
Shipping and tracking APIs are standard tools that help customers and companies, these tools let you know exactly where your orders are and when they will arrive. Some carriers have dedicated APIs, like the ups time in transit API, for more detailed shipping information such as estimated cost and delivery windows.
You likely have your go-to trusted websites that you know will deliver precisely what you ordered in a reasonable timeframe, but not every website or online store can be trusted. You know the feeling when you open a questionable site, something is off. Either the language is not what you were expecting, the web design is nowhere near current, and ads are covering every open space. At that moment, your gut feeling is correct. It is not worth taking the risk of buying from a questionable or unfamiliar site you cannot verify. Search the name of the site to find reviews or other customer comments. If a website has scammed someone, they likely posted about it somewhere. Investigating a site you are not familiar with will either confirm your suspicions or lead you to discover a new place to shop.
Shopping online is an incredible convenience of modern life, but it is not without potential pitfalls. Blindly jumping into online shopping without learning the guidelines first is a recipe for disaster. Understand the basics of smart online shopping by knowing how to spot a fake, checking where your order is coming from, and trusting your gut feeling by investigating before handing over money to an unknown site. By following these simple guidelines, you can safely enjoy online shopping in all its glory.