5 Ways To Choose The Right Online Retailer

Mar 1, 2013 by

Almost everything is available to purchase online these days, from books to holidays and kitchen appliances to academic courses. But whether it’s something small or something big, you should always make sure that you buy from a safe and reliable source.

If you’re buying from a company that you’ve never heard of before make sure that they pass all the following checks:

Do you recognize the brands they sell?

This is very important. One of the biggest risks of buying from an online retailer is that what you get might not be what you have paid for. An example of a company bringing this to their customers attention is www.samedaylenses.com who are an online retailer of contact lenses. They advertise themselves as selling ‘the exact same brands as your optician’ but acknowledge that some opticians re-brand lenses. For their customers benefit, they have a High Street conversion table where they show the High Street brand the customer might be accustomed to next to the original manufacturer brand that they sell.

Can you find their contact information?

Whether or not a company displays their contact information is a huge test of their reliability. If they want you to call them and to answer your questions, as they should, they will have this on their homepage. A reliable retailer should also give full transparency regarding their company information, their terms and conditions, privacy policy and things such as shipping costs.

Do they have any reviews either on-site or off-site?

Unquestionably the best way to judge an online retailer is to read the experiences of previous or current customers. Look out for any reviews or testimonials of other customers either on or off-site. These should be largely positive, but don’t be too put off if there are a few negative ones as it just indicates that they are real! Some popular online review services are TripAdvisor, Trustpilot and Review Centre. But beware, some companies post fake reviews. These tend to be very easy to spot – if they’re fake, there tends to be a lot of very short reviews which are very positive.

Look for signs that the website protects your information

When you buy online, you should always be conscious that you’re handing over your credit or debit card information. A reliable online retailer will not want to be held responsible for holding that kindof confidential information about you, and so will use a secure third party service such as Secure Hosting instead. If you see their logo on a company website, it is a pretty good indiciation that they’re reliable.  Also, whenever your entering personal information, be sure to check if “https” is shown in your browser, as this means you’re entering information on a secure server which will keep your personal information safe.

Don’t only be led by the price

Look into the other benefits offered by the online retailer before you settle for the one that sells the product for the cheapest price. Often by charging as little as an extra £2, a company will offer their customers a much higher quality service, with fast delivery, a good customer service team, free return policy, and many other perks.

Steph is an online marketer, who knows how important it is to reputable companies to gain the trust of their customers. As an online shopper, she also knows that if she doesn’t like the look of a website, she won’t buy from it.