Tips for Smart Holiday Online Shopping

Monday, November 28 at 07:12 AM
Category: Personal Finance

Happy Cyber Monday! While the holiday season may be a time of practicing long-standing traditions, the way we shop for the holidays is continuing to change.  With the lightening speed growth of technology and how we use the internet every day, Cyber Monday has taken the place of the ever-famous Black Friday for some holiday shoppers.

If you are one of those Cyber Monday shoppers or considering giving it a try this year, we offer some tips before you click “Purchase.”

Do a Little Window Shopping.

Once you have your list ready, spend some time "window shopping" at different stores online. Look for gift ideas, the best deals and shipping deadlines. Use your browser's search engine to type the name of a specific product or "online price comparison" for a list of websites to help you compare prices. Remember to consider the cost of shipping for online purchases at the competing online stores, and maybe even the cost of gas and your time. 

Shop Online Safely.

Online shopping can pose risks.  Know these threats to avoid getting ripped off.

  • If you're not using a large, well-known retailer, check for credibility. Do your homework before giving out your card number. There are plenty of scammers on the internet. 
  • While doing any holiday shopping, always keep a close eye on your account. 
  • And of course, be sure the website is secure.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute.

Once you've found the deal you can't pass up, be sure to double check everything. You want to be sure you'll get your merchandise in time and that you can return or replace it if need be. 

  • Know your deadlines. As Christmas approaches, the chance of finding that perfect gift online and having it shipped it time diminishes each day.   
  • Check the return policy. Understand how to return merchandise, who pays for it, how long you have to return it, and whether you will have your credit card refunded or just get a credit at that online retailer.

The Internet has certainly offered some variation on tradition when it comes to holiday shopping. If you choose to avoid the crowded malls and stressful traffic, be sure to do it safely. After all, holiday shopping is part of the holiday tradition, regardless of how it is practiced.


Tags: Consumer Protection, Technology
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