Trusted review sites can give you a sense of how genuine a retailer is and what other customers think before you purchase. Legitimate retailers will usually have a contact number and physical address visible in either the header or footer.

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If you click on the links, you’re taken to a spoofed website that shows discounted prices and inflated shipping fees. Look for HTTPS (not HTTP) and a padlock symbol near the URL in the address bar. Click on the padlock symbol to check whether the connection is secure and the SSL certificate is valid. This is especially important if you click on an Instagram ad and it takes you to an online store.

As they staffed up their new department stores, it was expensive to train hundreds of clerks in the art of haggling. Fixed prices offered a measure of predictability to bookkeeping, sped up the sales process, and made possible the proliferation of printed retail ads highlighting a given price for a given good. Clearly, online shopping habits are changing and evolving all the time. Retailers are struggling to keep pace and to predict the shopper’s next move, as is evident from the supermarket example that I shared at the start of the article. Our research also showed that online shoppers want complete flexibility and control over when and how their parcel will be delivered. It also showed that shoppers have strong views around delivery price, services and timeframes. We know that the majority of online shoppers now want delivery options that extend beyond the home, such as click & collect and lockers.

If you already own a credit card, then you don’t have to worry about creating a new account with a web-based form of payment (like PayPal). Additionally, if your information is stolen, you can work with your credit company to cancel and replace your card. Credit cards can also provide certain reward benefits that can cut your shopping costs (if you don’t accumulate debt, of course).

The Future of Online Shopping: How Try-Before-You-Buy Is Changing the Game

The rise in online sales allows businesses to make sales with minimal overhead. But this shift in focus now makes online spaces like social media the prime spots for getting customers’ attention. Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated in exchange for placement of sponsored products and services, or by you clicking on certain links posted on our site. Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear within listing categories, except where prohibited by law for our mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is offered in your area or at your self-selected credit score range, can also impact how and where products appear on this site.

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Search for companies on the Better Business Bureau or make sure they use payment systems that feel legitimate. Online shopping offers convenience and the opportunity to support small businesses. Enhance your brand and engage shoppers with the leading platform for creating beautiful, intuitive ecommerce stores and sites. You need to select a “fit for purpose” ecommerce platform, set up your product catalog, tweak design and other configurations and then dial up on marketing. Targeted Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest campaigns can also facilitate brand and product discovery in real-time.