Thursday, April 26, 2012
The Internet revolution has brought a wealth of choice to the online shopper. From New York to Newfoundland, all the quasi-savvy has to do is pull up Google, type in “Mustang parts” and watch as page after page of results return. In a sea of choice, how does one find the ideal online shopping experience?
Finding the Best Retailers
Ideally, as you’re perusing an online retailer’s selection of product offerings, you’ll notice several features designed to make the shopping process fast and simple. Hold your mouse over the product; does a “quick view” option appear, allowing you to check out product details without having to navigate to a new page?
Also, see if the site permits customer feedback. This is especially helpful when shopping for clothes or shoes online. Is the color or fabric different than the picture? Do those pants run a bit small, or are the boots too wide at the heel? Taking the time to read this feedback before you click “purchase” may save you a lot of time – never mind money and aggravation – later on.
Great websites are easy to visitors to navigate. Photos and descriptions of products should be clear and unique. Contact information, customer service and store policies should be easily located as well as clearly communicated. And purchase confirmations should be sent promptly – followed up by lightning fast and hassle-free shipping.
It’s All About Customer Service
Online retailers find offering top quality customer service a challenge, but not impossible. While your friendly local Ford Mustang parts dealer has a great face-to-face advantage – here, let me show you what might work better instead! – online retails have no such luxury. Instead, they must offer fast and preferably free shipping, free returns, a wide selection and hyper-competitive pricing. Conversely, online shoppers often prefer paying shipping fees in return for the convenience of shopping in their slippers, coffee in hand.
Shipping and Returns
Many sites offer free shipping everyday as a matter of policy. That doesn’t mean you can’t still get it on the sites that don’t. Make sure you investigate all of the shipping options before you select whatever field automatically populates as you’re checking out. Also, make a habit of checking in with coupon websites that track the latest online promotional codes. You may find yourself getting 10 or 20 percent off – plus free shipping – for an extra two or three minutes of research.
Finally, if you’re not happy with your purchase, make sure you read the retailer’s online return policy before you simply ship it back. Many retailers insist upon issuing a return code. Although getting a return code is fast and easy, if you don’t get this code before shipping your item back, getting a refund will take a whole lot longer than the normal 7 to 10 business days. As a result, it’s worth taking a couple of minutes to review that policy before purchasing any product or service online.
About the Author:
Guest blogger Michelle is an expert online shopper, and she’s purchased everything from key limes to plane tickets to CJ Pony's Mustang parts on the Internet.