By Taylor Villanueva
Signal Staff Writer
The world of online shopping has become more accessible in the last few years. According to Statista, “retail e-commerce sales worldwide are forecast to nearly double between 2016 and 2020.” Because of the ease of shopping online, more holiday transactions are being completed over the internet. Statista reports online sales in the US in 2017 totaled $106.1 billion from November to December. The number predicted during the same time this year is projected to reach $123.4 billion.
Brittain Ladd, an expert in business strategy, supply chain transformation and global commerce, shared about the best ways to navigate online shopping through the holidays. Here are some tips for spending money online during the holiday season:
Procrastination might pay off, sort of.
The best deals are right before the holidays, and “The closer to Christmas, the better the deals,” Ladd said.
However, customers run the risk of not getting their products delivered on time if they wait too long to purchase items online.
Ladd advises “consumers would be wise to order their gifts as early as possible to ensure delivery,” despite skipping out on any possible last-minute sales.
Don’t buy heavy items online.
“Avoid buying heavy and bulky items online due to shipping costs,” warns Ladd.
“Electronics, toys, food baskets, books, apparel, shoes and gift certificates are perfect for online retail.”
If you want to buy heavier items as gifts, see if the website has an option to pick up the order in stores.
The week before Christmas is when online sales spike.
So make sure to check the estimated arrival date when buying anything online during this time.
Customers face a trade off when waiting too soon to the holidays. Prices may drop, but there’s no guarantee the delivery will arrive on time. One possible way around this is to have the gift delivered directly to the recipient’s home.
A little research goes a long way.
“Consumers have a bad habit of not researching enough websites,” Ladd explained.
Statista states that 14 percent of Americans “prefer searching online and buying in store,” which can be beneficial for holiday shopping savings. It’s best to compare prices across several websites to find the best online shopping deals. Check the in-store prices as well to see if you’d be better off making the trip to the store. If shopping in person, Ladd suggests to “speak to the store manager and ask what the best deals are in the store.”
Make sure the website you are buying from is legitimate.
To avoid getting scammed, Ladd says to “shop only on well-known websites.” Some of these include Amazon.com and the Walmart and Target websites. Also, make sure the web address shows https when you’re putting in your credit card information. This shows the site is secure. Use a credit card instead of a debit card since banks generally protect against credit card fraud.
Protect your deliveries from “porch pirates.”
Ladd says that “porch piracy is a growing issue for consumers.” He advises consumers to “ship what they order online to their work address to avoid packages being left unattended.” Another option would be to invest in home security, such as Ring or eDOR.
However, these options never guarantee packages won’t be stolen. If you want the packages delivered to your house rather than your place of work, try to schedule deliveries at times when someone will be home.
If you do opt to shop in stores rather than online, do not leave purchases in your car. In 2016, California topped the list for most vehicular break ins during the holidays.