Smart online shopping
What is smart online shopping to save money and buy great productsShopping in the 21st century has taken a direction that few people saw coming until very recently. That is, in the last 40 years.
The Internet has become the main way in which people do their shopping for a variety of different reasons. In the next couple of years there are even some analysts who believe that people who browse on the computer will surpass people who actually go to the stores without doing an Internet investigation first.
With the addition of more cyber-shoppers and online stores, there is a need to be intelligent about the way shopping is done online.
So, what constitutes smart online shopping? There are a couple of different rules.
Use a Trusted Computer
A lot of public facilities and businesses are allowing people access to computers and the Internet as a way to get them to come in. Most public libraries now have some kind of service where people can surf the web for a while free of charge. You can use these locations to look up the latest Keyboard Cat video on YouTube, but internet safety experts strongly suggest that you do not use these computers to actually buy a product.
Most websites log something called "cookies" on a computer. Cookies are basically a footprint for where you've been online and what keystrokes you entered. Someone with some computer expertise could recall those keystrokes on a public computer, such as your credit card or bank information.
There can also be a problem if you do go to sites like Amazon.com on a public computer and forget to log out after you've done your business. Amazon, like many online retailers, very helpfully allows you to store all your payment information on the site so that you don't have to reenter it whenever you make a purchase. That's all well and good, but if you do forget to log out from a shopping session on a public machine, you've just handed your money over to a stranger.
Using a trusted computer doesn't always mean you trust it will go to the sites you want. When it comes to smart online shopping, a trusted computer means one you trust to remain out of the hands of people you don't know or don't trust. Your personal laptop should be password protected on login.
Use Trusted Sites
One of the challenges and the bonuses of cyber-shopping is finding the best deal you possibly can. The best part of the Internet is the massive number of companies that want to give you those deals. Do an online search, or "Google," any product you could possibly imagine and you will end up with thousands of different sites.
The problem arises when you venture to a lesser known sites and it turns out that they don't really offer you deals. Some sites don't even sell the products that you were looking for. eBay is a good example of a site that has strengthened policies to protect both buyers and sellers. It used to be the kind of site with both suspect deals and low quality product.
Smart shopping is more than just finding the best deals. In a world where entire sites have been built simply to steal financial information from users, you should always know who you are spending your money with. At the very least, when you are dropping big money on an item, do some real research into the site you are using.
Finding a deal doesn't mean you have to go to some site you haven't heard of before your recent browsing. Large companies like Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Eastbay, Target, the Neiman Marcus catalog and other major department stores pride themselves on offering great product variety and deals on popular products. Websites like Amazon and Catalogs.com are portals that screen smaller companies represented on their websites.
The main key to any buying excursion on the web is to make sure you are protecting yourself as much as possible. The Internet can very much feel like the Wild West at time, and you should be (figuratively) armed when you start exploring.