The Ultimate Online Shopping Guide: 5 Things to Remember While Shopping Online

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E-commerce(excluding food) is a $590 million dollar and growing industry in India, with major players like Flipkart, Amazon and SnapDeal pumping in money to expand their reach. The e-commerce websites offer a variety of products ranging from something as common as a mobile phone to selling items like condems and tampons which most people find impossible to buy without being given unwarranted attention or unnecessary comments from bystanders. Recent reports show most new visitors to such sites are from Tier 2 cities like pune, ahemdabad and many more. The aspiring and the rising middle class of India want to buy products of international stature and quality which may not be available in brick and mortar stores in their respective cities. E-commerce websites are constantly bringing out big ticket sales like the Big Billion Dollar Day or the array of deals which accompany the festivals.According to statements released by the companies, Flipkart sold items worth Rs.600 crore in 10 hours while SnapDeal sold items worth a crore every minute in 10 hours which roughly translates to a figure similar to Flipkart’s. The company said it sold a smartphone every 6 seconds, a laptop every 20 seconds, a tablet every 30 seconds, a saree every 30 seconds and a pair of footwear every 10 seconds.

While it is true that products bought online are usually cheaper than market price since online retailers skip fixed costs like rent, salaried staff to help consumers and many more it is important to thread with caution and make sure you get the best deal in the market. Buyers often get excited by looking at the percentage of price cut offered by the seller and impulsively buy products without actually researching about it. So here are a few things you should keep in mind in order to get the best deal possible with minimal amount of fuss.

1. Get Yourself Registered

Register yourself to most of the major e-commerce websites across all segments like Myntra and Jabong for apparels or Lenskart for buying lens and glasses. These websites keep on offering sales and promotional offers one after another, you never know what catches your eye. You also get joining offers and special discounts and facilities if you’re a premium member, which of course comes at a cost. Flipkart and Amazon offer special discounts and deals to those who shop through their application.

Also, always remain logged in to these websites which would enable you to easily access and order anything you want to. During heavy duty sale like the Big Billion Day, most people missed out on deals because they weren’t logged in before time and ended up wasting crucial time in registration.

2. Do your Homework

Just because there is a huge discount on a product, it doesn’t make it the cheapest out there. Always check what are the offers present on other similar websites to be sure that you’re getting the best deal. Sometimes websites jack up the original price just to show a huge drop in order to entice people in to buying their products, a common complaint by those who bought products from Flipkart on Big Billion Day.  You can use third party online comparison websites which will help you compare price and offers
Never go for an impulsive buy or you might regret it later on.

3. Pay Only When You See It

80% of e-commerce is based on Cash on delivery (COD) and you should follow the trend. By using COD, you can easily cancel your order any time without going through the tedious process of getting a refund from the company. You can easily reject the delivered item if it is badly damaged or has been tampered with. Most importantly, it protects you from online thefts and unsafe gateways used while paying through your credt or debit card.

4. Who’s Selling?

Always check who’s the seller and it’s reputation before buying something from them. You can read seller reviews, search them on Google and see the seller ratings in order to verify who you’re buying from. Also make sure you know their return, exchange and refund policies before buying it. In order to cut corners and offer you the cheapest price available, sellers sometimes remove warranty along with the product which leaves you in a limbo. So before buying from them, make sure you know everything about them and their products.

If you are unsure about anything, be it product description, delivery charges or return policy contact them and get everything sorted. It’s better to be on the safer side than to be sorry. Although if you do encounter such ambiguous situation, it probably means there is something shady about the deal.

5. Reputation Matters

There will be websites offering you cheaper deals for the same product as compared to the bigger ones but sometimes it pays to overpay. Let’s look at a real scenario. If the normal price of a Adidas shoe is Rs. 3900, you should be happy if a retailer is selling this for Rs. 1900, you should grab that deal as long as it is from the original merchant, in this case, purchase it only from Adidas. If a third party retailer is discounting the product at such an extent, you need to do your research in regards to the reputation of the merchant before buying it.

If you do come across an online shop in India that is selling the same Adidas clothing which originally costs Rs. 3900 for Rs. 599, you need to close that browser window immediately and keep looking elsewhere. There is no possible way that a retailer can sell an authentic brand new undamaged top at such a discounted price and you should smell if not stumble on something fishy. Premium branded products are the most replicated and pirated products in the world and India is currently a lucrative market for the pirates to dump their goods.

So, don’t act rashly and remember to refer to this guide before you buy something online!

Saurav Anchlia

Saurav Anchlia is the deputy editor for Virtuaniz. He is currently pursuing his Bachelors of Engineering in Bangalore. Saurav is an ardent reader and a fiery debater.He supports Manchester United vehemently and remains optimistic about their chances. He writes for the love of technology and english language. Follow him at @SauravAnchlia.

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