Bargains, bargains, bargains, and more bargains.
Every day, there are bargain sales going on somewhere and they never fail to attract a throng of shoppers – like ants to a slice of cake.
They trigger emotions like excitement, happiness, pride in having saved a few bucks and a sense of winning or achievement.
Bargain sales date back centuries ago when. Then it looked like mayhem. You have to be fast on your feet and hands to grab an item before someone else does.
The Internet gave it a face-lift. Oh, there are still the grab-and-pay types, but people now prefer to do it online. And this sits well with the elderly. For reasons of mobility and limited finances, they go online to look for bargains. In fact, of the seniors who regularly go online, 77% do so to shop. This group of shoppers buys to the tune of $7 billion each year.
Online shopping is not all roses, however. There are thorns you must know before diving into it…
Pros and Cons of Online Shopping:
Prices of items online are generally cheaper due to a lack or minimal overhead and other incidental costs. And it has the following advantages:
- You can do it in your pajamas
- You can save on gas and avoid the hassle of looking for a parking space
- Online stores are never closed and no aggressive salespeople to deal with
- Allows a wider range of choices before making a final decision
- No annoying crowds and long check out lines
Some sellers intentionally raise their prices before offering them at a bargain. Other disadvantages are:
- You can’t inspect or try on the item purchased
- Offers no way of price negotiation and payment terms
- No way of knowing if the item is back-ordered, resulting in long waiting time before it is received
- The online store offering such bargains may not be legitimate
- There may be hidden costs on returns
- There is usually no one to talk to in case of problems.
With all these, you may ask: Where do the seniors fit in all these?
Senior citizens occupy a significant chunk of the eCommerce business. Studies show that 28% of the entire population who buy online are senior citizens, while 41% are baby boomers.
Online shopping, however, is not a panacea for seniors who are loathed to go bargain shopping. There are pitfalls you must be wary of. And with the prevalence of “identity theft” and online scams victimizing seniors, you cannot be too careful. So here are some tips to get the most of your online buying experience.
Getting the most of your online shopping experience
Online shopping is the current mode of purchasing items, be it for personal use, for gifts, home improvement, health, and wellness and even airline and hotel reservations. But it is not simply a “click and you’re done,” thing. Other than trying to get the best deals, safety is a major concern. To satisfy both, the following are recommended:
1. Secure your device
Be sure to protect your device by having a unique and strong password. For seniors, this is is a difficult task. Fortunately, there are several sites that can help you do this. Once you have one, never share it with anybody.
Then, install anti-virus software on your device to minimize the risk of corrupting your files. Reformatting your laptop or desktop is expensive and time-consuming.
As an added measure of protection, have your device protected against hacking. Finally, back it up so you sleep soundly at night.
2. Plan what to buy
Plan what to buy and put a budget on it. Never overspend or indulge in splurge shopping because “they are cheap.” According to Greg Tucker, marketing director of Marketing Clinic, 42% of elderly people 55 and above, feel guilty after buying online – especially big-buck items.
There will always be another day, so buy only those you need, not what you want.
3. Choose the right store
Choosing the right Store can be daunting. There are so many of them out there. For example, Finder.com lists the top 50 online stores for 2019. Being on the list, however, is no guarantee that you will get the most out of your online shopping. Look for more.
In choosing one, be sure to:
- Check it’s reliability. The Internet is full of fraud sites that will leave you holding an empty bag
- Read reviews of the quality of their products and service
Once you’ve decided, be sure to know the following before you hit the “Add to Cart” button, check the following items:
- Delivery lead time
- Payment options, i.e. cash, credit or debit card
- Shipping charges
- Policies on returns. Some merchants want returns handled by a chosen courier free of charge while others have shipping charges. Some will just refund a purchase, rather than have it returned.
Note: Never give any information than what is necessary for the purchase.
Then hit the Add to Cart button.
4. Post-purchase tips
My daughter is fond of buying online. I don’t know her success/failure rate, but mine is 50/50. The last time, bought through FB, was so bad I developed an online shopping phobia.
The point is that what you get may not be what you had in mind. So when you receive your purchase check that it is the right color, the right model and fits you perfectly (if it is something worn). Scrutinize for any factory defects or shipping damage.
On the non-physical side, take note of these:
- Unless the purchase is on a COD basis, never pay in cash. In fact, you should have an account with reliable payment processors like PayPal, and charge your online purchases through it.
- Always check your purchase records and file a complaint with your bank when you see some irregularities.
Online stores or eCommerce, emerged in 1991 as a direct by-product of the Internet with Amazon the first to offer retail business online. Now there are 110,000 online stores in the U.S. Though it still leads the pack, following closely behind are Walmart, Etsy, Target, etc. Together, they racked up a sales volume of $504.6 billion in 2018. And there are no signs of it leveling off or tapering off.
The bottom line is if you are not into online shopping, it’s high time to start doing so now. A lot of seniors like you have already done so and enjoying its benefits of fun, easy, convenient, and a real money-saver.
Please share for the benefit of other seniors
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