Online shopping gives seniors the ability to stock up on necessities, buy gifts and select special items from the comfort of home. In addition, shopping online can save older adults money and make it easier to compare options. At Bethesda Gardens Monument senior living community, we believe in the benefits of online shopping, so we created this handy guide to help you have the best experience possible and enjoy savings when buying virtually.
Online shopping is a broad term that refers to buying things via a website or mobile app. It can involve shopping at any of the following kinds of sites.
A marketplace site is a website or app that allows sellers to register for accounts and offers new merchandise. In some cases, the company that owns the site also sells directly to customers and may assist with fulfilling orders from some third-party sellers. Amazon is an example of this type of marketplace site. With other sites, the individual sellers package and ship orders, and the website doesn’t offer any products of its own. Etsy and Ali Express have this type of structure.
Like marketplace sites, resale sites showcase products from many different sellers, but the merchandise is gently used and typically deeply discounted. In some cases, items posted may even be new with tags. Poshmark and Mercari are some classic resale sites. eBay is another example, though this site also hosts online auctions that allow you to bid on merchandise.
Most major retailers now have online shopping websites. These sites feature the same types of items you can find in brick-and-mortar locations and additional merchandise your local store doesn’t carry. Some popular Monument, CO, retailers that have online shopping sites include The Home Depot, Walmart, Walgreens and Kohl’s.
Many manufacturers sell their products directly to the public through their own websites. In some cases, prices may be slightly lower than in stores. Checking out a manufacturer’s site can be a simple way to find items that are out of stock locally.
Keep the following tips in mind when you’re shopping online to have the best possible experience.
With most sites, you shouldn’t have to worry about security, but if you’re shopping a smaller specialty site, double-check that your communications are secure before you enter your payment information. An easy way to tell is to look at the address for the website in your search bar. If it says "https" at the beginning, the site has a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate, meaning it encrypts data for your protection.
Some retailers let you shop online and then pick up your order in the store. Doing so can allow you to get the items you need more quickly and will often spare you the cost of shipping.
To know what you’re buying, read the product descriptions completely before adding something to your cart. In some cases, the item being advertised may be slightly different than the picture, or an accessory or part you need may not be included. For example, you might need to purchase batteries separately.
Many online retailers accept returns, but their policies differ greatly. Some allow you to return only within a certain number of days or months of receiving your order, while others have an unlimited return window. In addition to learning the time frame, find out who's responsible for paying return shipping, you or the online store.
If you’ve never heard of an online shopping site before, do an internet search for its name and check out online reviews before you buy. While most stores are reputable, scammers do set up fake storefronts, hoping to deceive people.
To get the best deal when shopping online, follow these tips.
When you reach the homepage of a website, look for banners located at the top of the site. There, shopping sites may advertise special deals, such as free shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount or discounts on specific items. You may need to enter a code at checkout to get the deal, or the site may automatically apply it.
Online shopping sites often offer coupons they may not advertise on their pages. Sites like CouponFollow and RetailMeNot allow you to search for coupon codes for popular online stores so you can take advantage of special offers.
Many shopping sites will invite you to sign up for their mailing list and send you updates via email or text message when you opt in. Once you’re enrolled, you’ll get news about sales and discounts delivered directly to your inbox. In some cases, you may even get a discount on a future purchase just for signing up.
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