Many of our clients shudder at the thought of purchasing online, afraid of losing their money, being scammed, not receiving the goods they purchased or having their identity stolen, to name a few reasons why. The conundrum is, and I have witnessed many times, is as someone ages, they are less likely to be physically able to get to the shops.
I want to share a story about a client who has never purchased a product online. I had been called out to help fix her printer. The old faithful printer had been limping along for years and each time I visited her, I would advise her to consider a replacement. Until one day the printer finally stopped working altogether, not to be resurrected again. I had been there five minutes, the thought of having to purchase a new printer filled her with dread as she didn’t’ own a car and relied upon her son-in-law for transport. She would not be able to get to the retail store for another week and wasn’t even sure what sort of printer to even get. It was such a nervous relief for her when I suggested we purchase a printer online together, and what ensued was a 15-minute search for a replacement printer, we found a similar brand at a price she could afford. Low and behold, from the comfort of her dining room table she had securely purchased a printer that would be delivered free to her door the next day. She was a changed person, and with a few ground rules we laid out together, she felt empowered to take back her autonomy knowing she didn’t need to rely upon others for her shop visits.
Here are a few ground rules to start you off:
Shop with Retailers you already know and trust
Know the retailer you are purchasing from; I generally suggest keeping within the major retailers who already have a reputation and a good online presence.
Only Shop on Sites Using HTTPS Encryption
HTTPS encryption is used to encrypt any data being transferred over the internet, which protects your personal and payment details. You can find the HTTPS sign on the address line of a website.
Use a Low Limit Credit card or Debit card If Possible
To limit your risk, look at using a low limit credit card or debit card for internet transactions, this reduces your exposure in case of fraud. Also investigate PayPal as an option for purchasing online.
Use Strong Passwords
This goes without saying, but use a strong password consisting of letters (both uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and special characters which make it more difficult for would-be fraudsters to guess.
Watch out for “Too Good to Be True” Deals
All throughout the year, but especially during holiday seasons, we are spammed with phishing attempts via email, social media, and even SMS texts. If something seems like it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t click that link – just delete it.
Do Your Research
If you are not sure what to purchase research online and compare retailers, their terms and conditions, their delivery fees and their insurance policies so you are comfortable before buying.
Lastly, practice with smaller more regular purchases first from retailers you already use in order to get familiar with the process. The more you practise the easier it becomes.