Shopping online can be fun but dangerous too. Having the ability to make purchases at the click of a button 24/7 can be too tempting for some. However, there are many benefits of online shopping when you make the most of it.

Here’s how.

Always Look for Coupons or Promo Codes

One of the best parts about online shopping is the availability of coupons or promo codes. Some retailers offer coupon codes on their sites, making it easy to find deals. Others don’t advertise them, but a quick Google search will provide access to the most recent coupons or promo codes.

If you get codes from third-party sites, ensure they’re legit. Use sites that are well-known, such as Groupon, RetailMeNot, and Coupon Cabin.

Make Sure the Site is Legit and Safe

Anyone can start an eCommerce website, but that doesn’t mean they are safe or legit. If you aren’t shopping at a big-name store, you already know, research the store first. Ensure they’re registered with the Better Business Bureau and that there aren’t any major complaints about them.

Also, check the site’s security. If you use a program like McAfee, it will likely run safety checks for you. But you can also check the site’s SSL certificate by clicking on the padlock in the address bar. This will also tell you if the site is secure.

If you aren’t sure – don’t shop the site.

Read Reviews

The beauty of the internet is the number of reviews you can see about a store. Of course, you’ll find reviews on the store’s website, but those should be used sparingly. Instead, look for reviews on third-party websites that are likely more honest and less scrubbed to remove the negative reviews.

See what people think of the store, including the good and the bad. Remember that all stores will have bad reviews because you can’t please everyone. But if the pattern seems to be all bad reviews, you might consider looking elsewhere.

Comparison Shop

It takes a lot of effort to comparison shop in person, so it’s easy to buy something the first place you find it. However, online shopping makes comparison shopping simple. For example, you can look at the price of an item at ten stores in a matter of minutes if you want.

To make it easier, search the item in Google, and you’ll see a handful of stores with their prices pop up. Keep in mind you must visit the store’s website to see the actual price to make sure it’s valid, but it’s a great way to save time and money.

Don’t forget, even when you comparison shop, look for coupons or promo codes to save more money on your purchase.

Understand the Return Policy

When shopping online, ensure you understand how and if you can return something. Most stores offer a return policy, but some aren’t customer friendly. For example, you may not get your shipping charges refunded and must pay return shipping charges.

Other stores provide a small window to return items; if you miss them, you cannot return them. Read the fine print and ensure you’re okay with the return policy before purchasing.

Avoid Deals that Seem too Good to be True

If a site seems too good to be true, it probably is, so avoid it. If you find a store with rock-bottom prices compared to competitors, it’s likely a scam. The same is true of sites that claim to have ‘hot’ products no other stores have in stock. They likely either aren’t real, or you won’t receive anything for your payment.

Final Thoughts

Online shopping is a great way to save money and time. You’ll likely find a larger selection of products too. The key is to do your research and ensure you’re buying from a legit site and not being taken advantage of.

If you aren’t sure, check the Better Business Bureau and Google for reviews. If you can’t find anything, chances are the site isn’t real. When you find legit sites, you can save money by using promo codes or comparison shopping to find the best deals.