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Top 5 Things to Remember when Shopping Online

Published November 18, 2010 | Updated January 6, 2016

If you wish shopping was more fun, satisfying, and affordable, try doing it online! There are a lot of reasons online shopping is so popular: It's easy, stress-free, and the best way to find amazing bargains on everything from bedding to electronics. However, there are certain things you should know before you start any online shopping spree. Take a look below to learn the top five things to remember when scanning the online marketplace.

Top 5 Online Shopping Tips:

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  1. Read the Return Policy

    Always read the return policy before buying something online. Many companies have restrictive time frames for returns. Be certain to check with companies' customer service departments to see if their return policies have specific rules. A company may even have different return policies for certain item types, such as media, furniture, clothing, and perfumes.

  2. Check Shipping Fees and Time Frames

    Depending on whom you are buying from, shipping for items can take anywhere from five to 15 business days for standard orders and up to six weeks for oversize items. Expedited shipping is sometimes available, but it can be expensive. On the other hand, many companies have standard flat-rate shipping on all their items or offer free shipping on certain items. Keep shipping costs and time frames in mind when comparing prices.

  3. Become Familiar with Quality Ratings

    Be certain that you understand what the given website means when they say "like-new," "fair," and "refurbished" condition. These quality ratings are given on various items, including appliances and electronics, to give you an idea of the condition the item is being sold in. Each website may use these terms differently, so be sure to understand what you're getting before you purchase it.

  4. Make Sure It's What You Want

    Read the product description carefully to be certain that it will be able to do what you need. Consider the details, like the dimensions. Is the handbag as big or small as you are expecting? Will the piece of furniture fit through your front door? Before completing your order, double-check to be sure that you have selected the correct size, color, and model when you're shopping. It's easier to double check before you buy rather than dealing with the hassle of returning your item. While closely inspecting your product, take a minute to look for any available coupons that might give you an extra discount.

  5. Read Customer Reviews

    One of the best ways to learn about a product when you're online shopping and decide whether or not you want to purchase it is to read the customer reviews. By reading reviews while shopping online, you can learn more about the fit, condition, and quality of an item from customers who have purchased and used it.