Tops tips for shopping online

If you’re planning on a spending spree, where do you go? Do you head down your local high street or simply log on to the internet? More people are choosing online shopping over physical stores for a variety of reasons, from convenience to saving money.

Online shopping is booming

The number of people shopping on the internet has soared over the past ten years thanks to a growing number of internet-connected devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

New research shows that more UK consumers are doing the latter, with 36% say they do the majority of shopping online and one in 10 admitting to buying something online at least once a day.

The average monthly spend has doubled to £113 and a quarter of shoppers said that they thought they’d spend more online in 2013 than any other year.

To get the best rates on your borrowing, you can compare credit cards with Propertywide.

Telecoms expert, Dominic Baliszewski said: “It is no surprise to see online shopping becoming the favoured method for so many consumers. Broadband has revolutionised the way we browse and buy goods and services and the best deals these days are usually found online.

“Whilst the British high street will always be an integral part of the shopping experience, we expect to see a continued increase in the amount of money spent online during 2013, and continued variation in the devices used for these purchases.”

However, while internet shopping has grown, bricks and mortar shops on the high street are still failing. A study by Barclays has found that the economy as a whole has grown by just 0.2% over the past three years, but the online economy is growing over 50 times faster.

If you’re still not convinced by the digital revolution, here’s a look at both the benefits and drawbacks and as well as some top tips for shopping online.

What are the pros and cons?

So, with over a third of Brits doing the majority of their shopping on the web, what is the attraction to spending on the internet?

Well, convenience is one of the biggest advantages. Internet shopping means that people don’t have to wait around in long queues or squeeze amongst the busy crowds. It’s also much quicker, with more people leading busy lives and working outside the usual 9-5, shopping online can be done 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Saving money is another benefit; when you’re shopping online, you can compare prices from hundreds of shops or providers at the click of a button, instead of traipsing up and down the high street for hours on end.  There are often online-only sales as well as thousands of voucher codes to take advantage of and consumers may also make exclusive savings by signing up to the retailer’s newsletter or using cashback websites.

However, consumers do still have concerns about shopping on the internet, as around half are deterred from buying clothes online because of the hassle of returning them. Half would still prefer to visit a shop to return or exchange items, even those that they originally bought online.

Other barriers to online shopping include security concerns, with 30% highlighting that as a reason they don’t like to hand over their card details. However, one of the biggest issues for female shoppers is the inconsistency between sizes as the majority don’t know what size to order.

Top tips for online shopping

• Know your rights: Distance Selling Regulations means that online shopping customers are able to get a full refund if they return any items (including if there is no fault) within one week. Whereas, in store you don’t have any rights to return good unless they are faulty, although some stores will have their own policies.

• Hire rather than buy: Did you know that there are websites out there that specialise in hiring designer goods? If you like to make an impression with top brand names, but don’t have the budget, by going online you could hire your favourite items for a special occasion.

• Be wary of fake sites: There are some scams around on the internet, so before handing over your card details, check the sites credentials. Keep a close eye on the spelling and grammar, as well as image quality. If you’re still not sure, enter the name of the website into a popular search engine.

• Pay by credit card: When you’re spending over £100 on your shopping, you could get added protection for absolutely nothing, just by using your credit card. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act means that your card issuer is jointly responsible for refunding your money if something goes wrong.

To get the best rates on your borrowing, you can compare credit cards with Propertywide.

• Don’t use ‘one-click’ buying features: With 40% of 16-24 year olds thinking that shopping online doesn’t feel like spending money, one-click transactions may not be the best idea. The act of filling out your card details can remind you that you are actually using your money to buy something online.

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