When buying electronic gadgets or equipment online, there are many advantages, but also a few disadvantages. Here are some tips to help you take advantage of online shopping the next time you need an electronics item.

Pricing

One of the main reasons that people buy electronics online is to be able to compare prices more easily, without having to visit many stores that may be miles apart. Online, you can compare prices on something all in the same browser. One thing that can make your price comparison shopping easier is to use price comparison search engines. There are sites like PriceGrabber and Nextag that display a product and show you the prices and even the shipping costs to your location for as many as dozens or hundreds of different stores. These sites can be a real time and money saver!

Privacy & Security

One aspect of buying online that you probably don’t need to worry about when shopping offline, is security. That is, the security of your credit card number and personal information. Never, ever give a store personal information like your social security number, they don’t need it. You should always be aware of their security policy and make sure that when you enter your credit card information, the page should be a secure shopping cart page, which will display with a lock or other secure notice somewhere on your browser window. One way to make sure that the store is legitimate and trustworthy, is to see if they display their contact information clearly, including their phone number and address. Often, fly by night sites won’t have a phone number or real address to display at all. You can also use free online tools to check the validity of a phone number and address.

Return Policy

Don’t forget to read the return policy for any online store you shop at. Many online stores can tack on a “restocking fee” of as much as 30% of the price of the item. If you have bought a TV or other expensive item, then 30% can be quite a large sum of money that you are losing. Make sure they offer returns without any bogus extra fees. The only way to be sure of the return policy is to read it carefully. Many stores may try to hide the return policy by burying the link on an inner page, only shop at stores that disclose their return policy with a clear link right on their homepage and on every page.