Thinking about shopping and buying
gifts online this year?
When shopping for a gift we, all want
to get a gift that someone will treasure. What motivates
a lot of people is trying to buy something we think
they will love. We yearn for when they open up the
present and have a pleased look upon their face.
Buying on the internet can be very tempting
and fun because we can do it in the convenience of
our home, with no standing in line, fast and easily.
Often times we can find a cheaper price because there
is not as much overhead. However, unlike a store, we
can not touch and feel the product or take it home
with us immediately. With millions of websites, how
can consumers tell which sites are legitimate ones,
especially when it is very easy to set up a site that
is very professional looking ?
Pat McNulty, a fine art photographer,
has come up with the following suggestions. He has
had an online store for over six years and gives the
following tips for shopping online for a gift.
1. Think of what the person you
are looking for likes. I personally like
to find gifts that are practical , or unique. But
make sure you are thinking of things he or she will
like and not just what you like. Don’t be afraid
to ask them what they like. If you have time you
can ask them to come up with a list of 5 things they
would really like to have. This will take the guess
2. Set a budget and make a list. Figure
out ahead of time how much you want to spend for that
special someone. Make a list of everyone you want to
buy for with ideas you have thought to their interest
and likes. Check the person off once you have purchased
the gift for them. Since it is so easy to overspend,
you don’t want to have the holiday blues afterwards.
3. Search. Do a comprehensive
product search using your favorite search engine. Do
not immediately place an order on the first site you
find. Take your time and look at several sites before
buying. When you find a site you like add it to your
favorites, make a note of what you were looking at,
and compare it to a few more sites as well as physical
stores as well. You never know where you will find
the best deal.
4. Compare. Look at
testimonials from previous customers. If looking at
a site like Amazon, evaluate the testimonials to see
if it looks like one person wrote them. Be wary of
a testimonial that looks too much like an ad. Get recommendations
from friends or other websites that offer feedback.
5. Do you trust the site. Do
not order online that does not identify with whom you
are dealing and does not provide a valid email address,
location and phone number to contact if there's a problem
or if you have a question. A physical address is usually
better than a PO box.
6. Money Back Guarantee -
Do they offer a money back guarantee? A store should
show they believe in their product by offering a money
back guarantee. The guarantee should be a complete
and immediate refund of your full purchase price. Look
for any catches on the guarantee.
7. Shipping and returns: What
is the shipping charge, and if you are not satisfied,what
is the return policy? Do they give you a refund for
the return postage, or does it come out of your pocket?
Will they let you exchange your item? When returning
items make sure you keep a receipt when you ship an
item back. You can even get a signed confirmation that
they received it.
8. Credit and Debit Cards. Pay
using a credit card, since if you did not receive the
item or if the item was not the quality you expected,
the credit card can help you dispute the charge. Be
careful with debit cards because not all debit cards
offer the same protection as credit cards.
9. Secure online ordering. Make
sure you are using a secure server. You can check this
by looking for a padlock sign at the bottom bar on
your screen, You will also notice that the site address
will change from one starting with http to one starting
with https. This indicates that your transaction is
going over a secure server. A secure server is crucial
because it ensures that nobody else can access your
10. Print out your order. Once your
order is placed, print it out, and keep any terms
and conditions in an easy to find location. Save
the email confirming your order. Make sure you have
the company’s contact information on your print
Mr. McNulty specializes in wildlife and
scenic landscape photography. His website www.premierphotographer.com offers
over 800 beautiful pictures. His photographs range
in subject matters from lighthouses, horses and kittens,
to flowers, waterfalls and butterflies. Each month
he holds a contest where he gives away one of his fine
art pictures. The website also offers free screensavers,
free decorating and photography articles