The Popularity of Online Shopping

Online Shopping has gained incredible traction in the last two years. It has been said that the number of people who shop online have jumped nearly 40%, with nearly nine out of ten of the world's web users logging on to buy. Shopping online has not only hit the US, but has made an even bigger impact on South Korea. In South Korea, 99% of web users shop online, followed by the UK at 97%.

Since online shopping is becoming more of a commonplace, it has been predicted that US shoppers will double to 132 million in the next five years. With how hectic today's schedules are, people need to find a way to save time and shopping online is the way to do it. In a recent study, it had been found that 19% of internet users shop online once per week and the number is only expected to increase.

Even though online shopping has become so popular and has continuously been growing, there are many who do not feel safe while shopping online. Here are a few tips to feel safe while buying online.

First Step: Know who you are buying from.

Anyone can set up shop on the web. So it is important to have some knowledge of their reputation. If you are not familiar with the merchant, it would be wise to find out the company's refund and return policies before you place your order. These should be available on the company's website.

A website that helps promote secured sites is the Better Business Bureau. They are a private, non-profit organization that is developed to monitor and report on the business practices of companies. Each BBB is licensed by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, and governed by its own local Board of Directors. You can visit them by going to their website www.bbb.com.

Second Step: Guard your privacy.

Don't disclose personal information unless you know who is collecting it, why they need it, and how they'll use it. Some companies sell their customer information to other parties. Most allow you to decline to share your information.

Third Step: Get the details.

Check for expected delivery dates, shipping and handling fees, warranties, return policies, and other important information. Look for an email address to write to, or a phone number to call if you need help.

Fourth Step: Use a secure browser.

Your browser should be able to use Secure Sockets layer (SSL), which scramble or encrypts the purchase information you send over the Internet, helping secure your transaction. Browsers which support SSL include Internet Explorer, Netscape, AOL Opera and Mozilla.

Fifth Step: Keep your passwords private.

Never share your passwords, and keep them secure. Avoid using simple words or your birth date. Use a combination of numbers and letters.

Sixth Step: Use a Credit Card.

Your credit card agreement with the financial institution that issued your credit card can ensure that your liability for an unauthorized charge is limited. Of course, you must notify your financial institution immediately if you become aware of an unauthorized transaction in your credit card account, or your card is lost or stolen. Be certain to check the terms and conditions of your financial institution's credit card policy, and your responsibilities.

If you don't receive the goods you ordered, or they are of an unacceptable quality and you have returned the goods, ask the financial institution that issued your card if it will undertake a 'chargeback'. They may be willing to cancel the transaction and reverse the payment to the business. Policies vary, so check with your credit card issuer. But be certain to do this as soon as possible if you decide that you want a chargeback. The longer you leave it, the less chance there is for you to limit your liability.

Seventh Step: 7. Keep records of your transactions and payments.

Many online companies will email you an order confirmation that summarizes the price and quantity of a purchase. You should print a copy of this and any other information about your purchase in case you need it later.

Those are some tips that should help you out while shopping online. Also know that is has been said, around 63% of people who do shop online happen to be women. That shows just how popular shopping online is becoming. Online shopping is a better and faster way to make sure that you pick out the items that you truly desire. It makes things easier and you can buy items right from home without having to drive around finding what you want. When going online you get the benefit of finding so many more things that you normally wouldn't find in any local store.

So, if you haven't tried online shopping too much because of being skeptical of all the unsecured things, try following the steps above and see what happens. Who knows? You may love it and be drawn to the wonderful life of shopping online right out of your home.

Bio: Written by Brittney Hatch, a product specialist for WhatSheBuys. WhatSheBuys is a 5 star rated Yahoo merchant with an AAA rating from the Better Business Bureau. WhatSheBuys carries world class brands for women, men and children including UGG Australia, Longchamp, Art of Shaving and Kettler Tricycles.

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Article Written - May 1, 2009.