10 Tips for Buying a Gift Online (Christmas, Birthday, Wedding, Mothers Day,Valentines Day)

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 work out.

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 financial information.

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 out.