10Things you need to know aboutOnline ShoppingSafety
of the online population has purchased something off the Internet.
of these Internet shoppers have purchased online more than once.
With this modern convenience available at our fingertips, it’s almost impossible not to use technology when making a buy.
What’s not to love?
Who thought of the user-friendly trend of online shopping anyway?
The idea for e-commerce shopping can be credited to Michael Aldrich, an English inventor and entrepreneur. Way back in 1979, Aldrich conceived the idea of Internet shopping to bridge the gap between businesses and consumers through online transaction processing. This sales relationship was later called e-commerce.
Aldrich’s idea finally came to fruition when the first World Wide Web server and browser was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990.
- After Netscape launched its first commercial browser in 1994, Pizza Hut broke the mold by offering online ordering through their website.
- Amazon began selling books online as early as 1995.
- The now-famous auction website eBay was founded by Pierre Omidyar in the same year.
If you choose not to buy online, you’re still likely to use the Internet for backup.
Think about it.
- If you’re in the market for a new TV, you’ll probably head right over to Google to search customer reviews.
- You may hit up a specialty electronics website like Best Buy to compare prices on various TV manufacturers, styles, and sizes
- While you’re on the website, you may notice a few interesting details—like exclusive online offers, a customer reward’s club, and even monthly Netflix subscription bundles.
Right about now, you might be thinking to yourself… Wouldn’t it just be easier to buy online?
In most cases, e-commerce retailers try to sweeten the deal to encourage customers to buy from their website.
- If you’re shopping for a pricey item like a TV, shipping is going to be free over a set dollar amount.
- You may also have access to a number of different TV models and sizes that may not be available in-store.
- You can make your big purchase after careful online research and reading of customer reviews from the comfort of your own home.
Fast-forward to the present day, and e-commerce shopping has caught on like wildfire.
Since its inception, global e-commerce sales have grown by over 19% a year and are estimated
Here are a few more intriguing facts about
the modern world of
- 4% of Americans have made a mobile purchase at a social gathering.
- 70% of smartphone shoppers use store locators to plan a shopping route.
- 42% of customers prefer online shopping to in-store shopping because of better prices
- 50% of customers call tracking services for Internet purchases “essential.”
- 19% of customers are likely to leave a store and search for lower prices on the Internet.
- Mobile coupons are redeemed 10 times more often than paper coupons.
15% of online sales were made from mobile devices in 2013.
The top three states for e-commerce sales are
The bottom three states for e-commerce sales are
Illinois has the lowest average e-commerce shipping time in all of the US at a mere 2.55 days.
Now that you know the how of online shopping,
let’s talk about the why.
What motivates customers to spend their hard-earned cash on the Internet instead of at a brick-and-mortar store?
According to the Boston Consulting Group, free delivery is the number one incentive:
Consumers’ Top Online Shopping Motivators
% of respondents, indicating the top 3 improvements to their online shopping
experience that would motivate them to shop more online
More secure websites
Better visual view of products
Insurance against credit card fraud
Compare different products
Can chat with sales person
Faster delivery options
Guaranteed delivery timing
Can receive purchases the same day
Flexibility of delivery time and place
March 2013 – marketingcharts.com
74% of customers are attracted to the free shipping offers available online, most often for orders over $50; some websites offer free shipping on all purchases to encourage customers to buy.
If you’re a regular Internet user,
The odds are that you are going to make an online purchase at least once in your life.
35% of customers are motivated by free returns after purchase from a website
50% of customers believe that they can find lower prices online
25% of customers appreciate a better virtual view of online merchandise compared to buying in-store.
Clearly, there are a number of benefits to purchasing off the Internet compared to a physical store. If you know what warning signs to avoid, you can have a risk-free shopping experience every time…
Top 10 Red Flags to Avoid
When Shopping Online
Most customers rave about online shopping because of ease, convenience, and selection. But if there is any
hesitation in making an online purchase, it is in regard to safety.
According to the Nielsen survey below, Internet and mobile purchases were rated low for safety compared to in-store purchases at a whopping 77%:
How do In-store, Online, and Mobile
Let’s be honest.
No one wants to get their credit card information stolen online and potentially risk fraud or financial loss. In a best-case scenario, it is still a hassle to call your credit card company, cancel your credit card, and wait for new cards to be reissued—all because of an Internet security breach.
Isn’t it just easier to skip the
online purchase and buy
It is entirely possible to tap into the ease and convenience
of Internet shopping by seeking out secure websites.
Watch out for:
Even a well-designed, flashy website can be set up by scammers to steal your credit card information or identity. If you haven’t heard of a website before, or if it isn’t a big-name retailer, cover your bases by checking business information at www.BBB.org before you buy.
Suspicious email offers
In the same vein, if you receive “special” offers via email, often disguised as convincing spam, check each new site with the Better Business Bureau before you buy. Copy and paste the site link into your browser instead of clicking directly from email. Experts estimate that three out of four spam attachments are malicious
We all know by now that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Verify any online coupon or special offer before you click and buy. Heavily advertised discounts have been linked to web security threats.
Fake customer reviews
As you assess the integrity of a website, you want to find out the bad with the good. A website that has all-five star ratings may not be authentic. According to Forbes Magazine, it’s important to assess the credibility of reviews before you input credit card information: “Be skeptical of reviews that lack detail, or are too positive. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp may provide a stronger, direct relationship to people’s opinions. Check the source. Does it link to the reviewer’s profile and previous reviews, or a social media page that shows the reviewer is real?”
Confusing checkout process
Professional, credible websites with security protection will disclose information through each step of the checkout process. If hidden fees, like shipping costs, are lumped into your purchase price at the last minute, it’s best to abandon your cart and look for a more trustworthy site instead.
products only. Products are not likely to be covered by warranty or a return policy; products may also be counterfeit or stolen.
If you’re making a major purchase, like buying a TV, off a third-party website, make sure that you are buying from an authorized dealer. If necessary, contact the manufacturer or the site directly or read terms and conditions. Purchases from an unauthorized dealer are not protected under warranty.
Please do not ever input your credit card information using an unsecured connection or through an unprotected PC or smartphone. Verify a website’s secure connection by checking for “https” in green in the site URL, along with a locked padlock in your web browser. Take these precautions seriously when purchasing through public Wi-Fi.
Blocked website access
It is very important to have reliable security software installed on your PC before you buy. If your computer security software blocks a fake or malicious e-commerce site, pay attention—and close the site immediately.
Online fraud is a legitimate concern—costing e-commerce retailers more than $3.5 billion in 2012. This was a 3% increase from 3.4 billion in 2011 and a 30% increase from 2.7 million in 2010, according to the CyberSource Corp. 2013 Online Fraud Report.
However, the outlook isn’t as bleak as you have been led to believe. $3.5 billion in losses in 2012 actually dropped from peak losses of $4 billion in 2008, precisely because of the online shopping security guidelines listed above.
You can still conveniently purch2ase from the Internet and take advantage of lower prices, as long as your personal security is your number one concern.
Top 10 Tipsfor Safe Online Shopping
Consider these 10 Internet Commandments to prevent fraud and
protect your private data:
Install and update your PC anti-malware software regularly.
Increase your PC security settings to detect any vulnerability using the Security Optimizer.
Pay with credit instead of debit cards whenever possible. Credit cards offer identity theft and fraud protection.
Consider a disposable credit card, similar to a gift card, to use instead of your primary credit
ALWAYS verify that website checkout is encrypted before any online purchase using tip #9
Use a password generator to create strong passwords and change them regularly.
Shop only on your home PC, instead of on a smartphone or tablet in a public location.
Don’t save your credit card information on a company server for a future purchase. This leaves you vulnerable to a site-wide data breach.
Check bank statements religiously for small “test” fraud charges
Never purchase from a site that requires extra personal information, such as your birthdate or Social Security number. This is the gateway to identity theft.
5 Important Online Shopping Tips for Kids
Kids are the next generation of online shoppers.
As much as you protect your personal identity by verifying security on each website, it’s important to educate your kids on safe netiquette.
Children and teens who use the Internet face a number of challenges, including cyberbullying, Internet predators, and security breaches. Kids need education on all aspects of Internet use; identity security is often overlooked.
Roughly 93% of teens ages 12 to 17 spend time online.
75% of teens in the same age group have cell phones, likely with Internet access.
Here are five important tips to use to
teach your kids how to shop safely online:
Always ask for parent permission
Depending on your child’s age, you may provide them with credit card information to purchase a set amount of games or apps each month. Make sure that your child always asks for your guidance before buying to confirm the security of a
Never give out
A parent should always approve a child making a purchase; private financial or personal information should never be given out to strangers, especially on social media.
Cover all of your bases with Internet parental control settings so that your kids can’t purchase through insecure websites. The Internet Explorer browser has a built-in Content Advisor. You can also use specialized Internet filtering software to block spam and pornography with access to secure sites only
Don’t purchase directly
Using the rules above, teach your kids how to steer clear of email spam and viruses. Kids are even more susceptible to “irresistible” spam offers in the inbox.
Keep the computer in a public location
It will be difficult for kids to visit suspicious websites or make unapproved purchases if the computer is kept in a public area, like the family room.
- “How Many People Shop Online? [Infographic] – CPC Strategy.” CPC Strategy Your Comparison Shopping Management Solution How Many People Shop Online Infographic Comments.
- 2013 BBC News Magazine:’British inventor of online shopping on his inspiration’. BBC videoclip of Michael Aldrich. 16 September 2013
- “15 Surprising Stats About Online and Mobile Retail – Digiday.” Digiday.
- Garver, Abe. “Top 5 Dangers Of Online Shopping And Precautions To Take On Cyber Monday.” Forbes.
- “Online Fraud Costs E-retailers $3.5 Billion in 2012.” E-Payments & Security.
- “Internet Safety Statistics.”netsmartz.org.