Shopping in an online wonderland

    TechnologyCover StoryShopping in an online wonderland

    Just because the holiday rush is happening almost entirely online this year doesn’t make it any less overwhelming. Here are 10 things to keep in mind as you deck your online shopping cart with the best holiday finds!

    You’re adding to cart
    You’re checking it twice
    Are you gonna find deals
    And reviews that are nice?

    1. Safety first!

    When you’re shopping online, always use a secure connection. Keep an eye out for the lock icon in the address bar on your browser window — if you see it, you’re good! That means the site uses secure technology such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer) to encrypt your data. Another handy trick is to check if the web address you’re viewing begins with “https.” Just check widely used sites like Lazada and Shopee; they’ve got it.

    2. Crack the code(s)

    You could be saving a lot and you don’t even know it! Be sure to check the homepage of the online shop you’re buying from, the order form, or the checkout page for discount codes you can use, like free shipping vouchers and other special promos. You can also stay updated on the latest discounts and coupons by following deal-hunting sites, apps, and communities such as MetroDeal, Manila on Sale, or Deals Pinoy.

    3. In reviews we trust

    Get the lowdown straight from the customer! Before you decide to buy anything, take the time to read reviews — not just about the product itself, but also about the experiences of previous customers who purchased that product from a specific seller. If these reviews come with photos of the product IRL, even better! Be extra keen on any negative reviews so you can check for inconsistencies between actual customer experience and the seller’s description.

    4. Eyes on location

    Always check where your intended purchase will be shipped from. Why? Seller’s location not only affects shipping time, but also price. To avoid ordering from other countries when you don’t intend to or can’t afford to do so, don’t forget to filter your location.

    5. Keep receipts

    After you submit an order, you would typically see a webpage or receive an email that confirms your transaction, listing down details such as your reference number, the paid amount, delivery address, and the estimated arrival of your package. Never delete them. Never. Delete. Them. These receipts will come in handy in case anything goes wrong with the delivery of your purchase, or if you have any credit card bill issues.

    6. No print’s too fine

    Keep a sharp eye out for things in the seller’s description such as accessories included, compatibility details, available sizes, warranties, and other important information you may otherwise gloss over if you don’t pay enough attention to the itty-bitty fine print.

    7. Beat the clock on double dates

    Most online stores run sales on double-figure dates like 11/11 and 12/12. Remember that demand is high during these dates, and everyone is watching the clock. Popular items marked for sale often become sold out in mere seconds. Make sure you have all the items you want added to your cart before midnight, so all you have to do is click the Check Out button!

    8. Email is key

    Is there a shop you really love buying from? Are you eyeing specific products that are often limited in stock? Some sellers announce special discounts or exclusive drops via their email newsletter. Yes, we know. Promotional email subscriptions can get annoying real quick, but it can be useful for those who don’t want to miss out on the best deals. Plus, some sellers even let their subscribers know about their sale waaaay before they announce it publicly, so that gives you a much-needed head start amidst the holiday rush.

    9. Track your expenses

    Woah there! We get it. Holiday shopping is fun and there are a ton of deals, but you wouldn’t want to spend all your money in one go. Handy free apps like Monefy and Spendee help you monitor your expenses and make sure you don’t go over your budget.

    10. Stick to the list (if you can)

    Remember: it’s just as if you’re going to the mall during the holiday season. You avoid getting caught in the rush as much as possible by bringing a list and sticking to it! It’s okay to get sidetracked if you suddenly see a good deal, but always think twice — for your holiday budget, is this naughty or nice?

    Words by Racine Anne Castro
    Also published in Gadgets Magazine November 2021 Issue

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