(BLACK PR WIRE) -- The age of online purchasing has revolutionized shopping. No longer are consumers resigned to the drudgery of commuting to the store, fighting off other shoppers to get that last product and waiting in long lines to get their purchases rung up. With the click of a mouse, you can do all your shopping from the privacy of your home at any hour. You can easily compare prices by opening new browser windows and pulling up competitor sites. You can apply coupons and gift cards at most major online vendors. It is especially convenient for buying items out of your location, or when the local store has just run out your desired item.
For all of its conveniences, however, online shopping presents its own inconveniences and risks. First, you won’t be able to examine or try on the item before purchasing. This makes it harder to buy personal items that fit correctly, or to verify the quality of a used product.
While you can purchase in an instant, your items may take four to eight weeks to arrive, depending on the departing location. International transactions will take even longer. Also, remember that computers can run slow, freeze up or just malfunction. Many online shoppers have gotten impatient, clicked a button or link one time too many, and purchased unnecessary duplicates. Be careful that your instant purchase doesn’t turn into an instant mistake.
If a mistaken purchase happens, or if there is some defect with the product, online returns are more complicated than at traditional stores. Typically, you will have to take the product to the post office to send it back to the vendor. Even if the refund is approved, you should expect anywhere from two weeks to the next billing cycle for your card to be credited back. If the store is the middle party between an individual vendor and buyer, that too can be a longer process. In case the vendor does not approve the refund, or there is a billing error, you may have to contact the corporate office to settle the matter.
Shipping and handling costs must be factored in as well. Not only are you paying for the courier to deliver the item, you are also paying to reimburse the vendor for packaging the item. A bargain item may cost far less to purchase than to ship, making it not such a bargain after all.
Despite these risks, online and traditional shopping are both here to stay. The major chain stores know this, and nearly all of them have shopping options on their company websites. Whether online shopping is the right choice for you depends on the reputability of the company, the type of goods you want and how comfortable you are with the process. If you’re venturing in for the first time, do some research and seek advice from seasoned online shoppers to make the best of your experience.