The Internet has proven to be an invaluable tool for all kinds of things from looking for new job opportunities to finding out information and even watching television or movies while out of the house. However one of the most popular uses of the world wide web is shopping or eCommerce as it is widely known.
Many – if not all – of the traditional high street brands have got their own online presence, allowing them to reach out to audiences all over the world as opposed to dealing in solely ‘foot traffic’ from shoppers who enter the store in person, and it has allowed customers to look for items and make purchases 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at their own convenience which appeals to everyone, (especially those who don’t like or don’t have the time to go into town).
It’s not just those selling new items that have benefited from the explosion of the Internet and the increasing number of people who are able to use it; those working in the second-hand and auction industries have also benefited. People are always on the lookout for bargains and these sites have opened up new doors for customers who are able to swap, sell and buy clothes at Swap.com or search for just about any item in search engines like Google who have their own shopping tab which enables users to customise the search results according to price and location.
Many are put off by the term ‘second hand’, and this means that the market is somewhat reduced. They are of the opinion that the phrase relates to items that have either been used and damaged or that aren’t in the best condition. While this is true in some cases, it isn’t in others with a lot of items listed as second-hand still in the same condition that they left a store in – even complete with the tags – it might just be that they don’t fit the seller and the store wouldn’t let them return it.
If you’re new to the world of eCommerce or buying something used or second-hand over the Internet, follow these steps and you could join the increasing list of people who have found some amazing deals and bargains on the web:
Getting the size right is always going to be important – it may be the main reason why the seller is looking to offload the item in the first place. Different brands can be sized slightly differently depending on the item – namely clothing and footwear – so check the fit of other items you own from the same manufacturer or read any provided information relating to the size or contact the seller and ask if it is not provided.
Some people are allergic to certain materials so it’s imperative that – if this is the case – you know exactly what the item is made of. In store you would be able to read the label and avoid the item if it was made of something that could have any effects on your health. Online you don’t get this opportunity so either ask the seller or read the information provided.
The perception, as already mentioned, with second-hand or used items available online is that they are going to be damaged or broken and people are just looking to offload the items for whatever money they can get. If this is the case it SHOULD be listed along with the item or the seller should tell you about any defects. Be sure to read all of the information that is provided and be sure to look closely at any images before you commit to buying as some sellers will not accept returns.
One of the biggest issues with all online transactions is the delivery time and price. Sellers will usually use the traditional postal system to send out items at a standard price that they do not set. In other instances they may use a courier which will get the item to you faster, but often at a higher price. The delivery fee will be on top of the price paid for the item so make sure that you have the budget to pay for it, and make a note of the expected delivery date(s) in case there are any problems.
If you were buying the item in a shopping centre or a high street, you would check that you are getting the item for the best possible price according to the item itself, its condition and how much you want it. Just because you’re buying online doesn’t mean you should necessarily buy from the first seller or store you come across – you have millions of stores at your fingertips – so check out a number of different sellers and be sure that you’re getting the item in the best condition for the best price (including delivery) and then, only then, should you commit to buying it.
This article was written by Chris White, a writer with several years’ experience in providing money-saving and consumer advice content for parents helping them to save money wherever possible.