These days, you’re not a true shopper until you’ve shopped online. That’s right. Online shopping is just a fact of modern life. From clothing to gift cards and wine to holiday gifts, it’s just plain easier to buy from the comfort of your screen. And now that Cyber Monday is almost here, you’ll want to get your fingers moving. The advantages of online shopping go on and on, says Jennifer Shannon, who works at the onscreen shopping mecca, SHOP.CA. tips to online shopping

Get all sweaty in crowded malls? No worries. Just log on from your living room. Hate the battle for a parking spot? Ditch your car keys. All you need is a computer, tablet or smart phone. No time in your busy day to hit the mall? Pour yourself some vino, boot up the computer and shop. Best of all, your purchases get delivered straight to your front door. They may even come wrapped!

With the best deals literally right in front of you, knowing how to shop online has never been more vital. So follow these tips to keep your online shopping easy, safe and all-round stress free.

3 TRICKS TO SMART ONLINE SHOPPING

Trick #1 Do your Homework 

You’ve got a general idea of what you want and who you are shopping for. But when the sales start, the fingers need to be ready! The last thing you want is to spend your time clicking from item to item trying to figure out which TV fits your wall unit or what is the best gift for your Great Aunt Margaret. By the time you finally make your decision, the items may be sold out. So make a list and check it twice. Before you shop, you need to know what you want—from the brand to the style, colour and size. Get familiar with where you’re shopping. If you buy from a reputable site, such as SHOP.CA, you’ll find comprehensive sizing charts on clothes, shoes and other items that take the time-sucking guesswork out of your purchase. There’s even a Wish List option so you can bookmark what you want. Then, when it comes time to shop, all you have to do is press Purchase.

Trick #2 Check Before you Buy

Congrats on finding the Vitamix you’ve been yearning for, but hey, did you read the fine print? If not, you may get some surprises you didn’t bargain for. For instance, you’ll want to know in advance if there are extra costs for things you expect, like packaging, deliver or returns. What if the item is a dud or you hate it? Is there a warranty? The site will let you know if all shipping costs are free and if there are or are no hidden fees to return. Have questions? Great shopping sites have customer service representatives that can help you, hopefully with a chat function.

Trick #3 Make it Secure

We’ve all heard about Internet scams and you don’t want any part of it. You know, some uncle you never heard of left you a whopping million. The money is all yours—after you send all your personal information. Buyer beware! If it sounds wrong, it is, and you have to do the same due diligence with online shopping. Meaning this: Always use a credit card or secure website like PayPal to make all your purchases. After placing an order online, you should receive a confirmation page that reviews your entire order. Your receipt should include the costs of the order, your customer information, product information, and the confirmation number. Print or save a copy. If you buy from within the country, you’re usually most protected. That’s because you’re subject to the consumer laws and backed by a warranty, which is not the case when your purchase crosses a border. tips to online shopping

Jennifer Shannon, VP sales and marketing at SHOP.CA, is an avid online shopper. With a closet filled with shoes, bags and accessories, Jennifer knows the ins and outs of online shopping. At SHOP.CA, Jennifer masterfully blends her passion for marketing with her love for shopping.

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