4 ways to improve your online shopping experience

When Accent Group (ASX: AX1) chief executive Daniel Agostinelli shut down approximately 500 stores and stood down 5,000 staff across Australia and New Zealand, he thought that could be the end of the business.

However, as in most dire situations, people adapt, learn and move forward. In this case, consumers adapted to the loss of bricks and mortar stores and headed online.

Suddenly, staff at retail groups such as Accent, the umbrella company for Athlete’s Foot and Platypus among others, had a lifeline as they stood back up to fill online orders.

Accent Group’s digital sales grew from $250,000 per day pre lockdown to between $800,000 and $1.1 million in the last two weeks of April.

Agostinelli referred to the increase of online sales as a ‘seismic and most likely enduring shift in consumer behaviour’.

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To highlight this shift, Australia Post stated online shopping has increased by 80 per cent compared to last year, while a survey conducted by Boston Consulting Group found that one in three consumers would continue their online shopping behaviour.

Certainly with social distancing and work-from-home policies still in place, consumers will be more likely to stay home to fulfil their retail needs. And this will be backed by the ease of the online shopping experience.

Businesses with an online presence will be best served as we come out of lockdown, but consumers will have to further adapt behaviour to find the best ways to shop online.

Sometimes, online shopping is not as straightforward as it seems.

So as behaviours change and retailers adopt different sales strategies, here are four tips for consumers to make their shopping easier, more enjoyable and scam free.

1. Don’t buy the first thing you see

Here at InfoChoice we know all about comparing products, it’s what we help people do. While we deal predominantly with financial products, the product comparison philosophy stands for all good and services. From shoes, to kitchen items, sports gear, it’s worth comparing the same item across different retailers to get the best deal. Don’t just buy the first thing you see: find what you want, then compare price, retailer experience, delivery times and whether there is a similar product that might better suit your needs. The best way to approach a purchase is to know what you want, compare prices across a range of sites, or one all-encompassing comparison site, or find deals for similar items in your specific category.

2. Stick to trusted sites to find your product

There are a lot of sites purporting to sell you original products at the best price. Unfortunately, some of them are selling knock-offs and others are just plain out to scam you. The best thing you can do for yourself is use a well-known trusted site. While, you can still be scammed buying from Amazon or eBay, at least you have recourse if a deal goes bad. You know the Amazon and eBay names, which helps in the buying decision. If you’re looking for homewares, you could compare similar items from Target, K-Mart, BigW or Harris Scarfe. For Sporting goods compare prices from Rebel against Sportsmart or JDSports. You get the picture. There are plenty of reputable retailers out there that will not only help you save money by offering the best deals, but will also provide a level of security for your purchase.

3. Check product and seller reviews

This is highly important. Once you have found the right product at the right price, you need to make sure you’re getting what you paid for. Read all the reviews possible for that particular product and if you are satisfied it will meet your needs go ahead and make your purchase. It is also important to check seller reviews, especially if you are using a more obscure site to make your purchase. Read the reviews to find out how reliable the seller is: whether it is selling dodgy products, taking too long to deliver, or has a proper customer service facility. If the seller has solid reviews, you should take comfort in the fact they are most likely above board. There is a caveat to this: sometimes the reviewer isn’t acting in anybody’s best interests except their own. If you’re reading a review on a product, check the reviewer’s history as well. Are they seasoned professionals and trustworthy?

4. Reseller ratings

You have found the right item at the right price, but you are using a reseller rather than going straight to the source. If you using a reseller, make sure they are safe and able to deliver what you expect. For instance, you don’t want to get into a situation where you have bought a thousand dollar concert ticket with all the bells and whistles and meet and greets, only to find it was counterfeit or didn’t exist in the first place. Check the ratings of the reseller you use. Make sure that there are more positive customer satisfaction reviews than negative. Essentially, you are looking at the reputation of an online store, detailed reports from customers of the products you’ve purchased and customer service. By properly investigating the retailer, you can save yourself time, money and the angst of dealing with a company with a poor reputation.

This update is not financial advice. This article is general news and information.

Home Loans: The comparison rates are based on a secured loan amount of $150,000 and a term of 25 years.

Personal Loans: The comparison rates in this table are based on a loan of $30,000 and a term of 5 years unless otherwise indicated in the product name with^, in which case, the comparison rate is based on a loan of $10,000 and a term of 3 years. The comparison rates are for unsecured personal loans only for the relevant amounts and terms. The comparison rates for car loans and secured personal loans are for secured loans unless indicated otherwise.

WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. Comparison rates are not calculated for revolving credit products.

The products compared in this article are chosen from a range of offers available to us and are not representative of all the products available in the market and influenced by a range of factors including interest rates, product costs and commercial and sponsorship arrangements

InfoChoice compares financial products from 145 banks, credit unions and other financial institutions in Australia. InfoChoice does not compare every product in the market. Some institutions may have a commercial partnership with InfoChoice. Rates are provided by partners and taken from financial institutions websites. We believe all information to be accurate on the date published. InfoChoice strives to update and keep information as accurate as possible.

The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. Do not interpret the listing order as an endorsement or recommendation from us. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser. If you or someone you know is in financial stress, contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.

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