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Tips For Online Shopping

Updated on November 23, 2012

Shopping on the Internet is the way of the future. Most stores have a website now making it easy for us to make our purchases from the comfort of our home. Some stores have stopped sending out catalogs altogether and only sell via the Internet.

There are a few things I’ve learned over the years I’d like to share with you.

Don’t Give Your Real Phone Number:

It isn’t necessary for them to have your number and as far as I can tell most of them only want it to use for selling purposes. Either they will call and bug you or sell your number to others that will. They have our email address to contact us about any problems so why else do they need our telephone number? Some have gotten tricky and make that box a required field. Just fill in the line with “2’s”. For example: 222-222-2222. I’ve only had a couple times that, that didn’t work so I change it to “3’s” and it worked.

Check For Coupons:


Before ordering, put in a search for the company name and the word coupon. You’ll get sites like this one:

http://www.retailmenot.com/

There are several out there that come and go so that is why it’s best to put in the company name and the word coupon as a search because your store might be listed with one website and not the others. You’ll get anything from ten percent off to free shipping. Postage can add up so if you can get that knocked off the cost it helps.


Put In A Search For Your Product:


After finding a pair of shoes or handbag you really love and want to buy you may be able to get that same item cheaper with another company. Put in a search for the name, model number or style name and even size. You’ll get a few listed and you can choose the best price. Don’t forget to use your coupon search because that will make a difference too. If one is five dollars cheaper but Zappo’s is giving free shipping which adds up to ten dollars you have to take all these things into consideration.


Source

Pay Later:


Beware of this option. You can get yourself in a lot of trouble if you aren’t careful. I don’t recommend it and if you read the fine print you are usually charged interest on all those delayed months paying a whole lot more for the item in the long run.

Leave a Review:


Companies are doing this now and it’s very helpful to us all. If a dress runs big or small it helps the next customer order a size that fits. It also helps the store because they have less returns when people get the right fit.

I think this also forces manufacturers to make a better product because if people are consistently unhappy with their merchandise the company will have to make improvements or lose business.

Sales Tax:


Due to many online companies not charging sales tax some states have made it mandatory for them to. As of this writing, Amazon has stopped hosting small businesses from those states because they didn’t want to have to deal with the extra accounting hassle. This is unfortunate for those sellers that depend on Amazon for revenue. I believe that states will eventually have to charge a flat tax based on income to residents. Some states do this already.


A Few Of My Favorite Shopping Sources:


Zappos-

This company mostly sold shoes in the beginning but has branched out to selling handbags, clothing as well as other items. They have free shipping “both ways” so if you buy a product and it doesn’t fit or you aren’t happy with it, you can send it back on their dime. You can’t beat that. Most of the time I get my purchase the next day so you don't have long to wait. There are a couple other companies that do that now trying to keep up with Zappos.

They have a huge selection and even carry widths for those of us with narrow or wide feet. There’s a review thread, which can be very helpful.


FootSmart:

Hard to fit or sensitive feet with special needs will be happy after trying this shoe source. They not only sell shoes, but also lots of socks and other foot therapy products.


Amazon:

Most of you know about this store. They started out a book dealer but branched out to sell other things and also help the small retailer by being a middleman. You can sometimes get free shipping if you spend over $25. This only applies to certain items so read the fine print.


Sierra Trading Post:

This is like a close out store on the Internet and has all kinds of great deals. Just like any other outlet store you are limited to what they have on hand so if you are looking for something specific you might not always find it but they have a lot of great bargains.


Etsy:

I love artsy hand made things and this website is a middle man for people who make all sorts of items from jewelry to clothing to home decor.

What is your favorite online shopping source?

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    • Pamela N Red profile image
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      Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks, RL. That's good to know.

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      RL, the fine print is great advice we should all make sure we understand the terms.

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 4 years ago from California

      Great hub Pamela. Having my own online store, you are correct, giving out your phone number is not necessary. I never ask for it! Emails are usually sufficient. Where I don't offer a pay later program, I know Paypal does (which is offered on my site). Consumers always need to read the fine print whenever applying for credit of payment plans. Thumbs up and shared! :)

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      L.L., I prefer to shop online when I can. So many companies are now giving free shipping trying to compete with Amazon and Zappos so it's great for recluses like me.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City

      I am enjoying online shopping more all the time for convenience, selection and price savings. Shipping and handling charges can sometimes be a little steep, especially if you're in a hurry for something to arrive. But after factoring in the price of gas, wear and tear on the vehicle, and wear and tear on me, I've decided even the S&H charges aren't unreasonable.

      Great hub; vote up and Shared.

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Tina, it's amazing how much that adds up. It often covers the shipping amount plus more if you are buying a high ticket item.

    • TinaAtHome profile image

      TinaAtHome 5 years ago from California

      The best advice is to search for coupons. Yesterday I shopped at a store I hadn't used previously. Just as I was checking out I Googled the name of the store and the word coupon and I found a 10% coupon I could use.

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      It is very convenient, Susannah.

    • susannah42 profile image

      susannah42 6 years ago from Florida

      Shopping online is the best. No driving, parking, searching, looking for my size, color. No carrying packages. love it.

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Yes, Jinesh, it's a smart thing to do. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Jinesh07 profile image

      Jinesh07 6 years ago from Leamington Spa

      Good informative hub! More and more voucher code websites are growing so you really can save lots by doing your research before you buy

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      I have bought from them several years a go. I didn't know they were still around.

    • simhaisrael profile image

      simhaisrael 6 years ago from Cincinnati, OH

      Have you ever bought products from Amway. If not try it, go to Amway.com/Hoshaiahisrael

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks for reading, iZeko.

    • iZeko profile image

      iZeko 6 years ago

      Very useful hub! Appreciate the tips, especially the one about the phone number!

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks for reading, Dallas.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Thanks for sharing great, useful information! Voted up and useful!

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Susie I love it too. Most of the time it fits perfectly and I don't have to spend gas driving across town to the mall.

    • SUSIE DUZY profile image

      SUSIE DUZY 6 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

      I love shopping online. I find exactly what I want at the right price, right size and color, and it get delivered to my door. No schlepping around the mall.

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      dahoglund, where I live I can usually get electronics much cheaper online.

      Suramya.K, thanks for reading. Amazon is one of my favorites too.

    • profile image

      Suramya.K 6 years ago

      Amazon is still my favorite online shopping store. I "blindly" trust them. I really don't buy anything online except Amazon and I was unaware of some of these points.

      Pamela, Thanks!

      Your hub will save many people from being scammed. Up!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I buy on line quite a bit, especially computer things.You have some good tips here, especially the phone number one. I hate giving out my phone number.Up and useful.

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks, Docmo. If we shop the bigger companies or the smaller ones through brokers like Amazon we should be safe. So far I haven't had any problems.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 6 years ago from UK

      Good advice Pamela - well compiled and instructive. Especially relevant in these days of online scams as shopping over the net becomes a way of life. Voted up!

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks, Kashmir.

      Solar, I haven't heard of that one. I'll check it out, thanks.

    • profile image

      Solar Awareness 6 years ago

      Pamela - very informative, I agree, there is no reason for anyone to leave their phone # when shopping on-line. I thought I might pass along info to everyone about E-bates.com; a web-site that offers cash back for shopping online. They are able to do this by sharing some of the commission they receive from on-line stores for the purchases you make. To join, by setting up an account, you only need to give them your email so they can notify you when your cash back is credited to your account.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Pamela thanks for all these great tips,advice and shopping online information, it will be a great guide line for everyone who shops online !

      Useful and vote up !!!

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks for reading, Will and Pamela.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      Wonderful tips for online shopping. Thanks.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Great advice, Pamela. Bookmarked!

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Marellen, where I live we have limited choices so online is the best way to go.

      Reynold Jay, I've never had any problems and shop online often. The major companies keep everything pretty secure.

      Thanks for being my fan.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 6 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Excellent tips. I am wary of the online shopping after a scam was pulled on me couple of weeks ago. I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. Up one and Useful. Hey! I'm now your fan! RJ

    • profile image

      marellen 6 years ago

      Thanks for all your useful tips. I'm not a regular on-line shopper but I will keep your tips handy when I purchase something.