Some of us shop online either from international online shopping stores (e.g. Aliexpress, Amazon, eBay) or on online stores which are predominantly base within a specific location (MarketHub).
Whether you’re shopping online at home (within your country) or from across the border, there are some factors you need to put into consideration.
In one of our posts, we showed you how to shop online using jumia, in this guide we’ll explain why online shoppers need to pay attention to some factors before making a final choice on the store that would meet their expectations.
Important factors to consider before shopping online
- Testimonials about the product
- Returns and Cancellation Policies
- Optional Payment methods
- Originality of products
- Customer support
- Online Reviews of your Business
- Shipping cost
- Secured Platform
No. 1: Testimonials about the product
You’ve found your desired product: Is it mobile phone, home appliances, Ladies’ wears, T-shirt?. It’s very important for you to check reviews of buyers who earlier bought the same product.
It’s very important!
The photos of the product you are seeing online might not actually reflect its real and physical look. To check if you’re buying the right product, check reviews of the product.
There are some buyers who would come back to drop their reviews about the product.
Product review is particularly peculiar to products listed on AliExpress, Amazon and other global online stores.
Online shopping factor No. 2: Returns and Cancellation Policies
If you think price or cost should come next, we don’t believe so going the research conducted by Granify, which says that return policy is the most important decision-making factor for online shoppers of clothing and apparel.
The study found that in many retail categories, a strong return policy and positive customer reviews are more important to customers than price.
What happens if the product delivered to you was damaged in transit, or it isn’t what you order?
You should be able to return it. In a situation whereby an online store doesn’t have a return policy, it means you’re taking a risk if you’re buying from such online store.
Closely related to that is the option to cancel order after adding it to your cart without penalty.
You should also check the cost of return, if you’re going to be responsible the cost should be reasonably low.
Check out for these two options next time you’re shopping online.
Online shopping factor No. 3: Optional Payment methods
An online store should have various payment methods for customers to choose from. In fact an online store isn’t considered “global” when it uses only one method of payment within its country of operation.
For instance, amazon, AliExpress, and Jumia is considered global considering their wider payment option methods.
The bottom line is an online shop should cater for your supported payment method without having to convert from one currency to another before you make a purchase.
Online shopping factor No. 4: Trust
Why do you think that a new online shopping store find it challenging getting shoppers? Because when it comes to spending, particularly using our debit or credit cards online, we want to be sure that we’re doing so on a reliable and secured platform.
All the global online stores we found today have had to build trust since inception until they get to where they are today.
Online shoppers really want to be sure that they’re dealing with a trustworthy store.
Online shopping factor No. 5: Originality of products
Another things to consider when buying a product online is originality whether it’s shoes, clothe, appliances, be sure it’s original.
You may need to ask yourself the following questions whenever you found an incredibly cheap product online:
Is it cheap because the product is counterfeit?
Is cheap because it’s fairly used?
When you’re in doubt compare the price on different online stores for you to make the best choice.
No. 6: Customer support
Another factors to consider when purchasing a product online is the availability of customer support. An online store should either have buying guide or video to help first timers on the shop navigate the available products easily.
Customers definitely love to see how-to “infographics or videos to learn how to make the most of their purchases?”
No. 7: Online Reviews of Business
As a buyer you need to read reviews of customers who have used the platform to make purchase in the past, particularly if it’s a new online store.
Online shopping factor No. 8: Costs
How much does the gadget you wish to order on Amazon cost compared to ordering the same gadget with the same specifications on eBay?
If for instance a Tecno Droid 10D (P904) costs $100 on AliExpress and the same product is $105 on Amazon, as such you may opt for AliExpress.
However, pay special attention to the originality of a product before using cost as your buying factor.
No. 9: Shipping cost
Shipping cost of any product you’re ordering online is very important. In a situation whereby the cost of the product is $10 and the shipping cost is $11, you may have to have a rethink.
Though some online stores do have free shipping, but this mostly is made available to local shoppers.
The bottom line is: Pay attention to shipping when checking out.
Online shopping factor No. 10: Secured Platform
An online shopping store MUST be secured. It’s a MUST, and you must check before inputting your credit card or debit card details in the checkout page.
“Look at the URL of the website. If it begins with “https” instead of “http” it means the site is secured using an SSL Certificate (the s stands for secure). SSL Certificates secure all of your data as it is passed from your browser to the website’s server,” digicert.com
In Nigeria, U.S, UK, and across the world online purchases are increasingly becoming the preferred way of shopping.
With the US having around 200 million online buyers alone and the economy expected to reach $491.5 billion by 2018. However, only a quarter of small businesses in the US are selling online.
Online shopping as result of digitalisation and financial technology (fintech), can be said to be the leading trend in the current times.
More people are embracing online shopping to other options, perhaps due to the many benefits that come with it. Among the main benefits are the convenience (as you place order on your mobile device), delivery (as your order can be brought to you at home), variety (privilege to compare), and lower prices.
However, the experience that you get when shopping online will greatly depend on the above 10 online shopping factors.
We hope you find this guide useful.
We’d love to hear from you: Which shopping factor do you consider before buying items online?