The Online Corner: Shopping Online….Safely
ONLINE SHOPPING … SAFELY
This is the online version of the article as published in Snapd Dufferin for the February 2021 edition
In 2021, over 2.14 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online, up from 1.66 billion global digital buyers in 2016 (source www.statistica.com)
As a business owner you are very wise to be aware of this growing trend and to offer online shopping in some form to your customers.
As a customer you may want to be aware of some safety and privacy risks of online shopping. The good news is that most e-commerce sites these days are very reliable, however you still want to be cautious and protect yourself…online.
As I write this article, Ontario is under a lockdown and stay at home order. I imagine based on the COVID daily numbers when you read this things will not have changed much.
During the pandemic I have done more online shopping than ever before. I find it more convenient and “safer” than braving stores, not to mention so many stores are closed right now.
Boy do I ever miss visiting the mall with my daughters. It was one of our favourite things to do together. I look forward to the day we can do this again. In the meantime it looks like our shopping online will continue for a while and we do still have fun together looking at items and unboxing them when they arrive.
Here are some tips for being SAFE and protecting yourself when online shopping:
- Shop at familiar and trusted websites. There is a reason that Amazon is so successful. It offers a very safe place to shop online where you can be very certain your data is protected and the products are going to arrive as promised, or you will be able to return or get a refund if they do not. You should feel safer shopping online at larger and more established e-commerce sites.
- Check the reviews. Quick and easy way to give yourself some additional reassurance is to check the reviews for the website you are shopping at, as well as the product you are interested in purchasing. Google is a great place to start, but you might also find reviews on Facebook or other sites such as Yelp.
- Check the return and exchange policy. We experienced this recently when my daughter ordered a pair of womens Nike shoes from the Hudson’s Bay Store online and they shipped to her a pair of mens Rockport dress shoes. Oops. With a quick phone call we were able to arrange a return & order of the right pair of shoes at no cost to us.
- Create strong passwords. Help to protect your account with each online retailer by using strong passwords. Most e-commerce stores will create an account for you and store your credit card information, so it is a good idea to make sure that you have a strong password in place to help protect your account.
- Check your bank and credit card statements on a regular basis to try to quickly identify and double charges, or unknown charges. Call your bank immediately if you notice a discrepancy.
I thank Victoria and the team at snapd Dufferin for the opportunity to submit this article and to work in our community together as a strategic partner.