With today’s technology, there is no need to travel in the chilly air to get to your favorite department store or “Mom and Pop shop” for holiday shopping. You can do all of your shopping right from your home computer; the world of e-commerce is right at your fingertips! But with “the world” just a click away, the abundance of information that’s presented to you may become overwhelming. That’s why the Federal Trade Commission has offered tips to help you get the best deals. The bottom line: Some extra research can really pay off.
Set a Budget. Create a gift list and check it twice to help you stay on track and not overspend.
Decide What Matters. Especially if you’re buying gadgets, know what your “must-have” features are versus those that are just nice to have.
Use Search Engines. Type a company or product name into your search engine with terms like “review,” “complaint” or “scam” to find out more about it.
Read Reviews Online. Reviews from other people, experts, and columnists can give you an idea of how a product performs. But don’t put all of your trust in one review.
Consider Reputation.A brand’s reputation for quality and good customer service can really pay off.
Check Comparison Shopping Sites. They connect to many retailers selling the same product, sometimes at significantly different prices. Keep shipping costs in mind.
Consider Coupons. Some companies offer discounts via e-mail, and some websites collect and list codes for free shipping and other discounts. Search for the store with terms like “discount,” “coupon” or “free shipping.”
Read Return Policies. Not all stores have the same rules. Some charge fees for return shipping or restocking things like electronics.
Decide How to Pay. When you shop online, credit cards can offer extra protections.
Look for a Secure Checkout. Does the website start with https (where the “s” stands for secure) when you’re checking out?
So now that you’re an e-commerce pro, what is the best online bargain you’ve come across this holiday season? Leave us a comment; we’d love to hear about your online shopping experiences!