Online Shopping This Christmas

While many online retailers charge for shipping, a thorough search will reveal a number of websites offering free shipping internationally. Whether you're looking to buy clothing, health and beauty products or homeware items, you'll find a number of local and international websites offering free shipping on unique and affordable products! It always surprises me somewhat in the time leading up to Christmas when I see crowded shopping malls with screaming kids, harassed retail assistants, and stressed out people everywhere. To me that's the last place I want to be!

If you are apprehensive about buying online from a site you have never bought from, just order some smaller, less expensive items to start with to test out the online shopping retailer. You can bet that just as in a bricks and mortar shop, if you don't receive good service on a small, inexpensive item, you probably won't receive it on the big ticket items either. If you are happy with an online retailer, stick with them. Many Internet sites offer special internet deals and discounts for regular customers, and it always pays to stick with an online shopping site that you trust.

When shopping in traditional brick and mortar stores, it is quite difficult to accidentally purchase the wrong item (although it as been seen) because the sales process typically involves you physically carrying the item up to the sales counter and paying for it. In online shopping, where the consumer never physically handles the item before the process is complete and the item delivered, it is certainly possible to purchase the wrong product. Most often this occurs when the customer uses the website to make the purchase and clicks on the wrong item or when the consumer contacts customer service to make the buy and provides a different product number or code than the one for the product they really want. Other times, the consumer clicks on the correct product and provides an accurate product number but he may still make a mistake if there are size options or different colors to choose from. This problem can be rather troubling because the consumer will be disappointed when the wrong product shows up.

Often though, you do not need to visit the retail store to find out more. There are many items that receive stellar reviews, and are so well-known, that you know you are getting the best quality. For example, if you are looking for the Best Toys for Christmas, you usually do not need to visit the retail stores. Toys receive hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of independent reviews and so you can know the product without seeing it. People usually ask "Should I shop online for Christmas?" because they are unsure whether the online experience can match the retail experience. As you can see, the two can be combined to obtain the best gifts at the best price.

Maintain a thorough paper trail. Print every confirmation page, quotation, receipt, order summary and e-mail you receive from the company and remember to set your browser to include the date and time on the printouts to make it easier to see when you printed these documents. Always pay by credit card or a system like PayPal. You should never send the seller any cash. If you pay by cash you leave no paper trail and that makes it impossible to trace the payment or to prove that you already paid for the products. Leaving a proper paper trail makes it possible to trace the transaction back to the seller of the product.