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7 tips for online shopping during the festive season

For the last two years I’ve done all my Christmas shopping online. It would seem I’m not alone because the 2014 MasterCard Online Shopping Behaviour Study has revealed that 69% of respondents had made at least one purchase online in the last three months.

On Tuesday we saw our popular local shopping portal, Takealot, host their Takealot Tuesday (discounts on all sorts of things) and the site promptly crashed (they’re doing it again today – Thursday – in case you were wondering)The point? Very soon shopping malls will become redundant and we’ll just buy online… or at least we can live in hope.

shopping

BUT how do we stay safe while online shopping? We got some tips from Athol Wesselink, the Chief Engineer at OpenWeb. These are his 7 tips for online shopping this festive season… because we like to have the last word we’ve also included one of our own tips at the end too!

  1. Know your budget before you begin. Open a host of tabs and go to different online stores. Find what you’re looking for and compare prices. It’s a ten minute exercise as opposed to the usual few hours traipsing the mall. You’ll also get the best deals and can make sure the products shown to you are in budget (most stores give you this option).
  2. Stick to the guys you know. Try and use reputable retail sites rather than clicking on whatever Google or Bing throws at you. If you find a small retailer you like the look of maybe search them out on social media and see what other people have to say about them so you, hopefully, don’t get caught out or scammed.
  3. Abuse the discounts. Most online stores constantly have sales, specials and promo codes running. Find them, use them and celebrate your great savings.
  4. Before you pay look for the padlock icon. This one is a biggie. Before you hand over your bank details (though in my case there is never anything in there so I’m not too worried) make sure you are doing so in a safe and secure environment. Athol suggests you look for a padlock icon at the bottom of your browser window before you hand over your money.
  5. Keep the antivirus on your PC updated at all times. This isn’t an online shopping tip so much as a smart internet tip.
  6. Factor in delivery. Try use local sites, because international shipping is a bitch. Trust us. With the local Post Office woes there is as good a chance as any that you’ll be throwing money down the toilet if you rely on postal. So splurge on the courier costs… go on, do it.
  7. Check those bank bills. Make sure you check your statements and that no funny or unexpected charges have gone off your account. Fraud happens, the onus is on you to report it if it does. Most banks are pretty good at reversing fraudulent charges.

The Tech Girl tip?

Get a digital wallet set up. Whether it is PayPal or Masterpass from MasterCard it is a safer way to perform online transactions. We’ve told you about Masterpass before so read up again if you’re not sure what we are on about!

Now, shop on Tech Girl – we have geeky jewellery you can buy. 

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