Your phone dings: the groceries have arrived. You open your front door and see the bags neatly arranged. Alongside them is a box from an online retailer: a new pair of shoes. You slip on the shoes (great fit, not too snug) and start putting away the groceries when you hear a knock on the door. It’s your daughter’s lunch, prepared just as she likes it: a double cheeseburger, no onions, extra pickle. You remind her not to spoil her appetite since you’re cooking dinner tonight. But when it’s time to preheat the oven, you realize it won’t turn on. No, it’s not a blown fuse. Your old range has finally gone to the big kitchen in the sky. Dreading the hassle of finding a new one, you wonder if you could order an oven online like you order everything else.
Websites and phone apps allow the entire retail experience to live at our literal fingertips. A recent study found that 60 percent of consumers planned to increase their online shopping. Groceries and sundries are one thing, but what about big-ticket items you don’t buy every day? Would you be comfortable buying a refrigerator featured in a virtual video tour? What about a dishwasher that has never seen a showroom floor?1
Do Your Homework
If all goes as planned, you’ll love what you order online. But what happens if you don’t? Before buying something as complex as a home appliance, find out exactly what you can expect should you need to return the item. Locate the return policy on the app or website and familiarize yourself with it.
Online retailers are eager to make returns as easy as possible, even on something as unwieldy as a washing machine. It’s good for return business, and of course, great for your peace of mind.
Comparison Shopping and Price-Matching
Looking at your options is a breeze online. Rather than spending an entire afternoon trudging from store to store to compare prices and brands, you can simply flit between several retail apps or open tabs on an internet browser.
It’s also possible that a retailer may be willing to match prices. If you see a great price from one retailer, ask if your favorite store will match it. There are many advantages to this: your preferred retailer may offer a branded credit card for future purchases, or you may accrue loyalty points, adding up to potential savings on major purchases. The app or website may have a chat support function that can help you price-match simply by copying and pasting the competitor’s page.
Many Options, Many Reviews
Major retailers will have an online presence, but you might be able to find a better deal going to the brand’s website. Many retailers and brands have their own financing options available. If you’re not planning to pay for your item outright, you might find that some terms are more favorable to you than others, so be on the lookout for those differences.
Also, keep an eye on reviews that other consumers have left. You never know when they might have noticed something that becomes an important factor or influence in your purchase. When people have a great experience, they are often effusive. When an item is faulty or doesn’t work out, they’re just as clear.
It’s possible that online shopping won’t connect you with everything you want to buy, and there’s still plenty to be said for seeing the item in person before you make a big purchase. Still, not every major retailer maintains a big box store or showroom, and lower overhead may let them offer you the same product at a lower price. However you choose to shop, good luck and happy hunting!
1. Yahoo! Finance, May 28, 2021
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