Online shops, including those hosted on Tumblr and LiveJournals, are springing upward like flowers after the spring rainfall, thanks to the widespread availability of the internet. Off-line shops have also found it de rigeur to have an online presence. While the internet opens up to shoppers an excellent array of choice and styles at our fingertips, there are also cases whereby consumers are cheated by scam websites.
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Here are 10 tips to help you set up the reliability of online shops you are not familiar with:
#1. Do not be anxious to purchase from the online store if you are not sure when it is safe. Observe its online routines for a while. Does the store update brand new items regularly? For fast paced consumer goods like ladies fashion, the updates are usually made weekly, otherwise every few days. If the shop does not have any updates for months on end, then, probably nobody is manning it.
#2. Sign Up to be on the store’s mailing list. A legitimate store will want to garner potential prospects to be on their mailing list. After signing up for the shop’s mailing list, you should receive updates from the store. If most seems quiet, then I may have some question marks on the store.
#3. A good way to check if the store is ‘legitimate’ is to send an email to the customer assistance to test their response. Did you receive any reply from the store? Was the reply prompt or did it get, say 2 weeks to get to you? A prompt response of between 1 to 3 days (maximum) is normally the expected response time.
#4. Another good way to reduce the risks associated with online clothes shopping is to purchase from shops with positive feedback. Testimonies are a way of finding out if the clients are generally happy with their purchase. Usually the stores will publish the particular testimonials online.
#5. Google the name of the shop and see if the store is discussed by forums and websites / blogs. Such discussions may be useful in finding out if there are any complaints and problems the store might have.
#6. Check for reviews and ratings of the shop. Some online shops are usually reviewed by online shopping directories, which is likely to show up when you Google for that shop (see Tip#5). Follow the links of these online directories that the shop is listed on to see if there are any reviews made.
#7. Go through the merchandise of the store. Are there adequate details provided to help you make the best selection? Serious stores should give the necessary information to help their clients select their merchandise. For example , does a fashion store provide particular measurements of the clothes made? Is there efforts taken to ensure that the buyer knows what he/she is getting?
#8. Read the payment details. What kind of payment methods are available? Does the shop accept PayPal or even better, are they PayPal Verified? PayPal Verified means that PayPal has conducted a verification process on the reliability of the PayPal accounts that you are paying to. If you are not certain about the store, avoid paying through direct wire transfer. Paying using a secured means like PayPal permits you the opportunity to dispute the charges in the event that indeed there were problems with your buy.
#9. Does the shop business beyond its online shopfront towards the social networking sites like Facebook? Social media sites are another means of attaining customers, so legitimate shops would want to be part of it. With the many ‘Friends’ of the shops out there, it is difficult for an online store to be of doubtful standard.
#10. Last, but not the least, check if the shop is signed up with any local authorities. For example , in Singapore, stores are required to be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and as a consumer, you can request for the details of the shop through the ACRA.