About seven years ago, at the dawn of the new millennium, many people regarded internet shopping as a taboo, something unheard of, with one of the main reasons being a lack of trust placed in the payment system. How do we know our details will be safe, is an example of one of the many questions asked. Yet in today’s fast paced world that taboo has turned into a revolution. With thousands of online stores, people are using internet shopping more and more these days. From electronic and specialist goods, right down to basic grocery shopping, you could survive in this life without ever having to leave your front door for any forms of purchases. So if you are still in the dark about how it all works and how to get started, this article will hopefully enlighten you and turn you into a committed online shopper.
Yet before I show you some of the best places to order online, you may still have your doubts at how safe your credit card details are, so to begin with it might be best to explain how your details are protected and how to maximize your safety.
When it comes to online shopping, you will always have what is known as a basket to place your goods in. Once you have chosen everything you want, you go to the checkout service. Like any old store, this is where you hand over the money, although instead of a person doing it, it’s a computer. All online shopping websites will have a secure payment system, with all sorts of protection coded into their sites to enable maximum security against hackers (in fact in most cases of fraud on the internet, attackers use viruses on your computer to steal details meaning the site has nothing to do with it at all). All you have to do is enter your credit card details and their computer will do the rest. Sounds a bit scary at first, as how do you know they won’t keep your details? Well, there are steps you can take to ensure you are on a trusted site, with their payment system approved by a respectable third party.
For starters, when you go to the checkout screen, it is always useful to look at the address bar where it would normally say http://shoppingsite.com. If you are on a secure checkout page (and if you are not, do not use it!) instead of having http:// at the start, it should say https://. The s stands for secure, so make sure its there!
This might seem a little technical to someone not used to computers, so there are other ways to check whether or not you should shop on certain sites. For example, if you can not use your credit or debit card on there, it would be advisable to steer well clear. Credit and debit cards have insurance and protection plans to repair misuse of your details. If you end up paying with a bank transfer for instance, and your account is hacked, that person has got access to your entire bank account instead of say a low limit credit card where it will be blocked if suspicious usage is found on it. Even more the damage would be far more severe as not all banks pay back what you loose.
So now that you are hopefully up to speed on secure internet shopping, now might be a good time to explain to you exactly where you can go to shop. Well, firstly it depends on what you want. One of the most internationally renowned sites is Amazon (www.amazon.com). It is available in multiple countries with its own site for each one, and sells nearly everything except clothes and food. For instance, if you are after a mobile phone, it is more than likely that Amazon will have the one you are looking for, and normally at a reduced rate, while if you are searching for the new Stephen king book, its bound to be on there. Because Amazon is so internationally renowned, you are going to be very safe shopping with them. In fact, you might end up logging on to Amazon and finding you have bought tons of stuff you would never have dreamed of buying as they recommend products to you based on the searches you make on their site.
Yet while Amazon has nearly every popular product, it might be extremely hard to find certain niche and especially older items. It might be possible that it does not have what you want in stock either, and this can present problems. This is where eBay comes into the picture. If you have not heard of eBay at some point, then you are missing out. eBay is the world’s largest online auction site with millions of users selling stuff every day. If what you are looking for has been discontinued on certain sites and stores, then eBay might have what you are after. People sell all sorts of junk on there which you can bid for, and if bidding for old tat is not your thing, then you can log onto eBay express which contain new businesses selling brand new products for fixed prices.
Finally, if for some reason you can not find what you are looking for on eBay, you can always turn to Google’s Froogle. While that phrase may sound strange, the acclaimed search engine Google has set up a special search engine called Froogle (http://froogle.google.com/) which search’s online shops for the best prices for the products that you are after. All you do is enter the product that you want and it will search through thousands of sites to find you the best prices and gives you the links to them. In fact, you do not even have to log onto Amazon or eBay as Froogle searches them for you to.
Hopefully now that you’re coming to the end of this article, you’ve realized that online shopping is not as a harrowing experience as you might have through, and you are now prepared to take your first steps into this cyber world that we seem to inhabit in these modern times.