As we head full speed into the holidays, many people will be buying holiday gifts online. Over the years e-commerce has soared and today is pretty much a staple in how people shop. It’s easy to see why. Gift shopping online offers many benefits, including a high level of customization and autonomy. There are no pressuring salespeople to contend with, no long lines and you don’t have to worry about store hours. Additionally, there’s no more hopping in your car and going from shop to shop, instead you can easily navigate from store to store within minutes.
5 Tips for Buying Holiday Gifts Online
Know Your Prices
The most important thing to remember when shopping online is to know your prices. Online ads tend to be flashy and are designed to make it look as if you are getting a steal of a deal. Sometimes it’s the real deal, but other times it is the furthest from the truth. However, if you already know going rate for the gift you want to buy you’ll easily be able to detect these misleading websites and avoid them.
bykst / Pixabay
2. Comparison Shop
The ability to comparison shop with ease is one of the biggest advantages of gift shopping online. Once you know what kind of gift you want to purchase for your recipient you can search many different websites in order to find the object you need at the price you want.
Another benefit to online gift shopping is you can look on different websites to check ratings which can help you find reputable buyers and also other consumer evaluations of products. You can’t do this in a brick and mortar store and, if you see a gift idea you hadn’t thought of, you basically are left to your own devices or relying on what the salesperson says about the product.
The Internet eliminates all that and you can quickly do research on items you come across in the various online shops. Additionally, some items you can buy new or nearly new on websites such as eBay or Amazon. These are sites where individual sellers can list items for sale. Both sites offer seller ratings which are a very useful tool because you can read the feedback on what other consumers have to say about their purchase experiences.
3. Keep a Gift List
If you have numerous gifts to buy for friends, family and colleagues it is a good idea to make a list. This will make shopping among different websites easier to manage. While it is very easy to point and click to make a purchase, it is just as easy to lose track. When you shop online it is very different because since you don’t have the gifts as soon as you buy them, there are no bags to rummage through to make sure you’ve bought what you need. Write down what you bought, where and when shipping is expected.
If you have a recipient list you can use this to check off as you purchase each gift; this helps ensure you don’t duplicate gifts or accidentally buy more items than you need. It also helps you track what companies may not have shipped out on time so you can follow up in a timely fashion.
4. Shop Reputable and Secure Websites
One significant drawback to online shopping is that there are many scam and con artists on the web. This “dark side” of the Internet is skulking around just hoping to grab a credit card number or other valuable sensitive piece of personal information.
Never open links you receive in email. Many of these are spam emails and designed to entice you with low prices for expensive products. Others are just flat-out scams phishing for information. If something sounds too good to be true – it probably is. The holidays are the time of year where scams go on the upswing.
Your best bet is opening up your favorite search engine and typing in some key phrases for what you want and then check rating sites to see how they rank. If you do find a shop online which seems to have a solid reputation make sure their site is secure before entering your payment information. When you look at the URL in your browser it should start with “https” instead of the standard “http”, the “s” means the site has been secured. Additionally, look for a small padlock icon in the lower right-hand side of your screen this will also indicate the website is secure. This is pretty standard these days, so if a site is missing it, back away.
pixelcreatures / Pixabay
5. Computer and Mobile Security
In general, it is a good idea to make sure your computer, tablet or smartphone is always running security software. Keep these updated with vendor releases to be sure your electronics are protected from the latest threats. You don’t want someone to intercept your information and, by practicing safe surfing habits, you can better protect yourself as you buy gifts online.
Computer and now mobile shopping has transformed the way people buy holiday gifts. Every year more and more people turn to the convenience and significant advantages buying on the Internet offers. After all, it’s convenient and a great way to nab deals all from the comfort of your home.
Leigh has been writing on the web since 2007. She has a high interest in business, tech, higher education, and Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia travel, but loves to write about a variety of topics. In addition to writing on Writedge, she also runs a blog about the Washington DC Metro Area and a photography blog Photos by Leigh Goessl.