I've been buying a lot online these days - guess you could attribute it to the 70% plus sales that the apps keep flashing on my mobile and the fact that shopping has never been easier. Checking out the latest trends by browsing on my mobile from the comfort of my bedroom is becoming addictive - or so my husband wails!
However, there's a BIG problem here which m sure is common to a lot of us online buyers.
How does one know that what one sees is what one gets?
The pics appear great - all edited. The dimensions are given but it takes quite an effort to make sense of it so that one gets an idea of the size (converting & reconverting!) however, performance & service is something that you are left wondering about.
When I started to sell on Amazon, I was told that customer reviews were very important and the more the positive reviews, the better the seller rating. I understood but didn't really understand. Which means that I didn't understand the BIG deal being made. I thought shipping times and response times were more important and so was giving better more elaborate product specifications.
However, as I started to buy more online, I realized I was getting stuck in a no of places and couldn't go ahead with the purchase as I was unsure of what I was buying.
That is until I discovered that customer reviews really did the trick! I read that a RED belt I wanted to buy looked maroon actually. The quality of a dress I bought for my daughter was poor (this having ignored a customer review & been taken in by the pic). The size of a bag was much much bigger than I had fathomed (even though I had taken out an inch tape before ordering) and the sling of a bag was really long without any possibility of adjustment! Well, this is to name only a few. On hotels, it's better if I don't get started at all. The linen, the views from the room, tea/coffee makers in the room, service levels etc.
So here are a few tips when you shop online -
- Do not buy any item which has not been reviewed unless you're prepared to go through the exchange return process. If you are an early adapter :) then go in for products where exchange/return is possible.
- Do not ignore any single review. Of course, unless its a sole exception (GOOD/Bad both).
- Make it a point to read the BAD reviews or the low star rating reviews ALWAYS. These will answer most of your mental questions.
- Be wary of products which state no exchange/refund/return possible. This should raise red flags.
- High value purchases should be made online post a thorough offline research on features/ size etc.
- Take shipping prices into account before the purchase, many a products are priced cheaply to attract but even out when shipping costs get added.
- Opt for COD when buying the first time from a site.
- Look for sellers who have been online for a greater amount of time as against new sellers. This means more reviews on the sellers as well as a seller rating to refer to.
I'm sure you guys can add to this list. Please do for the benefit of us all.
However, coming back to the crux of the matter - Do your bit guys. Please please leave a review for any products you purchase online or even offline for that matter. It sure helps future buyers and makes the suppliers & manufacturers more customer centric.