Online shopping revolutionized the world of commerce. It has made just about everything available to customers all over the world and therein also expanded markets for businesses. Add to that the sheer convenience of it and it can easily be said to be one of the greatest solutions of our time.
On the flip side, online shopping does have its challenges. Aside from being tech-savvy, it takes some skill to navigate the many product options available. Moreover, in this era where data is king, security is equally a concern that most customers grapple with.
Are you skeptical about online shopping? Or are you already an avid online shopper that struggles with its pitfalls? Read on and let’s explore some challenges of e-commerce and the solutions that could make it all easier.
Finding the Right Product or Service
When you need to find a product online, you would likely begin by running a search for it. The internet being what it is will bring you a long list of options to choose from including links to e-commerce websites. The challenge with this is that you could easily get overwhelmed. More so if this a product that you have not used before.
A better approach would be to explore informative articles and referrals from friends and family before you begin online shopping. Take, for instance, that you are a first-time parent shopping for a car seat. There would be much to learn on what seat is age-appropriate or what safety features to look out for. Parenting websites could provide you with this information. This way, when you check them out on shopping websites, you will have a finite list of what you are looking for.
Diving headfirst into shopping without some perspective is like walking into a supermarket without a list. The chances are, you will buy lots of stuff you do not need or the wrong items entirely. Going in prepared is likely to get you much better results.
Customer reviews are a helpful way to gauge the responsiveness of a brand to its clients and the overall quality of its products. Sometimes, you may even learn more about a product’s features from a review than from the product description. However, in most cases, for every glowing compliment, there is also usually a long paragraph or ten about how bad the product is.
The thing about reviews is that they are highly subjective. One person may have had a bad reaction to a skin product but that does necessarily mean it will happen to you; everyone has different skin. As such, it is best to take reviews with a pinch of salt. Read as many as you can to learn more about the product but weigh them and make your own decision.
To put reviews in perspective, compare your needs and expectations of the product to its features or ingredients. For example, if you need a moisturizing lotion, try and find out if it has any humectants or emollients. This will give you more factual information on its performance and quality.
Most e-commerce websites and online subscription services are available only within certain jurisdictions. It is common to find that an e-commerce site requires a local number to verify your account or register your details. While this may be a valid security initiative, it can also be very frustrating and excluding if your jurisdiction is not covered.
You could safely and legally get around such barriers using a VPN and a bypass SMS verification service. A virtual private network will allow your registration to go through as it is not subject to regional blocking. The bypass SMS service, on the other hand, provides a temporary local number in the region that the e-commerce site is located in. This will enable you to receive any verification codes that the site may send you.
High Shipping Costs
Shipping costs are one of the major deterrents of online shopping, especially for international shoppers. They can sometimes amount to as much as double or thrice the price of the actual product. Add to that the costs of duty fees and most people leave items sitting in their online shopping cart feeling trapped in a dilemma.
If your shipping costs are unreasonably high due to distance, consider using a shipping service as opposed to having the e-commerce site handle your delivery. The costs you incur may be much lower because a company ships in bulk and this cuts individual costs. They also have an established system, unlike an e-commerce seller that may have to go out of their way to ship to you and thus charge you more.
As everything in the world shifts to being digital, online identities and the data attached to them have become highly sensitive information. If it falls into the wrong hands, it could give them access to your bank accounts, contacts, and even your home. This is especially given that some homes are now run using smart home technology like Alexa and Google Assistant.
In addition to sticking to reputable online platforms, it would be advisable to try and tighten your online security. Using a VPN would be ideal here too. Further, avoiding online shopping on shared devices and when using an open wifi connection. In both of these scenarios, your information is left vulnerable to any skilled ill-intentioned hacker.
On passwords, try and make them as complex as you can but also have different ones for different sites. This works in the same way as isolating a sick patient. If your passcodes are not the same, even if one gets hacked the rest of your data will not be compromised so easily. To make it easy to generate and keep track of them all, you can use a password manager application.
If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that online and digital solutions are indispensable. Soon, physical shops might even become a rarity. It would, therefore, be beneficial to embrace online shopping. Besides, as evidenced here, most of its kinks and corners can be overcome.