Since we are still encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, we are inclined to find activities we normally do outside indoors instead. Take shopping for example.
While we did alternate between physical shopping and online shopping pre-COVID, the former is not an activity that is possible just yet. Unless you are out to buy essentials or groceries.
E-commerce has been booming since the lockdown along with eSports. Which indicates that a lot of people are engaging in online shopping now more than ever.
So, if you just want to shop for clothes, cosmetics, or any other non-essential goods out there, don’t worry. Here are five useful tips I can offer on how to achieve a safe online shopping experience amid the pandemic.
1. Choose apps carefully
If you are using your phone to do your shopping, this is crucial. More often than not, it is safe to shop in popular apps like Shopee, Lazada, and Zalora among many others.
You just have to make sure that the seller is verified and their products have reviews.
There are online vendors also selling their goods on Instagram and Facebook. This is where you have to practice more caution since it will be hard to tell if they’re selling for real or not.
Similar to the previous apps though, the general unspoken rule to know if the seller or online store is legitimate or not is if they have a good amount of followers and feedback from previous customers.
Legitimate sellers also usually don’t overpromise or package their products as too good to be true.
2. Protect your data
Cyber security is certainly not a new issue in the Philippines. Now that almost everyone is online, data breaches are quite common.
When talking to an online seller, do not give more information than what is required.
For example, being asked your date of birth is okay when purchasing alcohol, for the merchant may need to validate your age. On the other hand, it is not needed when buying baked goods or coffee beans.
If it seems like the details the store or seller seeks is too personal, call customer services and ask for another way of verifying your information. If all else fails, simply walk away.
Another way to protect your data is to have a strong password. It sounds trivial, but it is important. Strong passwords usually have a complex set of lowercase and uppercase numbers, letters, and symbols.
Refrain from using personal information as your password as well as using the same password on multiple accounts.
3. Stay vigilant
Aside from protecting your data, you have to stay vigilant about other aspects that affect your online shopping experience.
Avoid suspicious forms of payment such as sending money to a questionable bank or PayPal account or mailing cash or a check.
Using your credit card is a viable option, as they usually have the best liability protection. But you still must check your statements regularly just in case fraudulent charges pop out of nowhere.
Ignore random emails from vendors you have not subscribed to. Advertisement emails have a high chance of containing malware.
4. Disinfect your package
Whatever it is that you’re buying, it is still coming from outside. It is likely to be exposed to all sorts of environments as well as bacteria.
With an enemy you can’t see like the coronavirus, it is better to be safe than sorry. So, disinfect your purchase when you get it and trash the packaging immediately.
5. Spread the word
Once you are able to see and use the product you bought, it would be helpful to give feedback to the seller or leave a review for other shoppers to see.
Not only is this going to be useful to potential customers, it will also benefit the online vendor, especially if what they’re selling needs improvement.
As we gradually transition to a more digitally adept world, it is vital and necessary for us to adapt to various changes.
It may be difficult at first, but just like any other challenge that life throws us, we will soldier on and get through it no matter what.
So, I hope these tips will help you for any future purchases.