Internet shopping has come a long way in just a few years, and has had a profound impact on retailing, allowing customers to buy from anywhere in the world at any time. Nothing is beyond reach anymore and internet shopping now brings huge benefits to millions of customers and businesses on a daily basis.
By searching online shoppers can find big savings – much bigger than they would find in normal shops – it really gives the opportunity to ‘shop around’ and look for the best price. It has been estimated that customers are saving between £150 million and £240 million each year due to internet shopping in the UK.
Some customers do have a fear of internet shopping due to security and privacy issues, and these issues can put some customers off altogether. There are risks from using the internet generally, but it is not apparent that such high levels of fear about shopping online are warranted, provided the customer, and the business take sensible precautions. It has been acknowledged that shoppers need more advice about what to look for before they begin their internet shopping.
Businesses now provide security (well they should do if they expect people to shop with them) and a safe website is one that uses special encryptions to prevent hackers using customer’s personal information. To make sure that a website is secure make sure the http:// at the start of the address bar has changed to https:// It is also wise to look for a little padlock which demonstrates that a website is secure.
Another important message for customers is that they should never enter any of their information into pop-up screens, as genuine businesses will not work in this manner. If you install protection software onto your computer it will try and stop pop-up screens for this very reason. On the same note never ever give out your passport or national insurance number – you will or should never be asked for this information when making a purchase.
Credit cards are the best way to shop online as using one ensures that any problem with your purchase should entitle you to get your money back. This is especially true when purchasing flights and concert tickets. As a customer you should ensure that you only deal with reputable retailers – ones that you know of and trust, as there are ‘businesses’ out there whose only ‘business’ is ripping people off. Don’t be scared – just be wary.
Don’t use computers in libraries or places where lots of other people are going to have access to the computer. Internet shopping should ideally be done at home on your own computer. This also means that you won’t spend your time looking over your shoulder, trying to protect your details, and you can even nip to the toilet in the process if need be!
Always log out after making your purchases and make sure to keep a copy of your transaction for referral until after delivery.