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Ten Tips For Simple And
Safe Online Shopping
Avoid the crowds and save the postage hassles by
holiday shopping online instead.
Take it from a guy who has long since eschewed the malls at holiday
time: Shopping online is much more relaxing than the alternatives.
It’s also quicker, often cheaper and it’s easier to comparison shop. Add
to this the fact that you can shop in your pyjamas (I’ve found that’s
generally frowned upon in malls) and it’s a pretty compelling case.
Here are ten tips to make shopping online not only easy, but also safe,
secure and simple.
1- Shop safe
Shopping online is safe
if you take a few simple
precautions. Like anything
else, it pays to beware.
Where possible, buy
from online stores whose
names you recognize and
trust: Amazon, Zappos,
Chapters/Indigo, BestBuy,
Future Shop, etc. are great
examples and are perfect
for most of your online
holiday shopping.
4- Save on shipping
Many online stores will
offer free regular shipping
for orders of more than,
say, $50. You can reach
the free shipping figure by
combining multiple gift
recipients’ items into one
single shipment; buy the
kids’ and the grandkids’ gifts
in one shot, shipped in one
box, and save a bundle.
3- Stay secure
I
f you’re buying from a smaller or specialty
vendor online, use PayPal (
paypal.com
): It’s
accepted virtually everywhere online and none
of your financial details are shared with the
retailer; they just get paid and you get your
item.
When shopping online with a credit card,
check for the all important “https” in the URL
that indicates a secure site. Be sure that the
familiar padlock icon appears in the address
bar of your browser, too. This means that your
transaction and any personal information
which you send are encrypted.
5- Dare to compare
Comparison shopping online
is relatively simple. You can
just Google
“[product category]
review”
or
“best [product category]
under [dollar figure].”
For example, “four-slice toaster
review” or “best digital camera
under $300.”
Dig in to the search results and
the best choice will become clear.
2- Shop local
I
f you’re in the sunny south and
are looking to send gifts to the
Great White North (or vice versa),
shop at online outlets that have
a physical presence in the place
where the gift recipient resides.
For example, rather than
shopping on
Amazon.com
to send gifts to Canada, shop
Amazon.ca
. This way, you save
big on shipping and avoid
possible customs delays and
duty.
6- Get in the game
Video games are notoriously difficult to buy.
Parents will know which game systems the
kids have at home, so be sure to ask. One of
my favourite tricks for buying great games is
to go to
metacritic.com/game
first. Click on
the appropriate game platform (PS3, Xbox 360,
Nintendo 3DS for example), then look below
for the top-rated games (an aggregate of
numerous critics’ reviews). Anything in this list
is a good bet. Be sure to check the ESRB rating
(see Age-Appropriate Games) before you buy.
CSA
online
by Andrew Moore-Crispin