The rise of online shopping has forever changed the retail landscape. Shoppers are faced with more options and deals at prices lower than can be found at traditional brick-and-mortar outlets. Back then, if you wanted to buy a mobile phone, a television, and a bed, you’d have to go to three different stores. Today, everything you want can be found on one website.
Online shopping, while convenient, is also a minefield for unsuspecting shoppers. Whether you’re buying furniture or PCB assembly, you have to wary of swindlers and sales that are too good to be true. You have to arm yourself with the right tools to shop online safely.
Here are a few pointers for safely buying electronics online:
1. Check the website
Only shop from reputable websites, whether it’s online stores or marketplaces. The safest option is a brand-dedicated online store. Some brands, however, list their products on online marketplaces instead. Always check if you’re buying straight from the source or a reseller.
The Internet is full of fake shopping websites designed to fool buyers. But even legitimate marketplaces are filled with swindlers. Always check the seller’s account and product ratings. If the offer seems too good to be true, move on to the next product.
You should also check if the website sells brand-new items or used and refurbished ones. While not all used and refurbished items are substandard, the listing should indicate the condition of the item. If not, it means the seller is hiding something.
2. Do you want a warranty
Brand-new items, whether sold online or in brick-and-mortar outlets, always come with a store or manufacturer’s warranty. Store warranties are only valid within the store, have a shorter effectivity period, and rarely cover repairs. Manufacturer warranties provide more in-depth protection for a more extended period.
If you’re buying a used or refurbished item, then it probably won’t come with a manufacturer’s warranty. The store, however, might offer a limited warranty. Never buy online unless there’s a warranty guarantee.
3. Buy from trusted brands
Some people say that when buying a brand-name product, you’re only paying for the name. That’s true. You are paying for the brand name and everything that comes with it: reliability, quality, and an excellent reputation. When shopping online, only buy from trusted brands.
It’s easy to get tempted from lower offers from no-name or secondary brands. Some online brands have significantly lower prices than established brands, often without a warranty. And if your purchase breaks down, you’re out of luck. Spend your hard-earned money on something that will last for a long time.
4. Check the reviews
One of the advantages of online shopping is the ability to check professional and user reviews when browsing. Many online magazines post in-depth electronics reviews. You can also check user reviews when shopping on online marketplaces. If you can’t decide between two items, a quick search online will quickly reveal the superior model. Conversely, stay away from things with few reviews.
Shopping online is fun and convenient, but it’s not without its pitfalls. By following these simple steps, you can shop for what you want safely and productively.