How to Avoid Making the Top 5 Mistakes When Buying a ‘Bunk Bed’ On the Internet!
By David Simmons
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t done some online shopping. Convenience, range of options, savings potential, no legwork – there’s plenty of practical (and indulgent) reasons for the growing popularity of online shopping.
Online sales among the top 500 retailers grew more than 11-percent in 2008 to $115.85 billion, up from $103.69 billion in 2007. In an economic climate in which sales have plummeted for traditional shopping venues, online retail sales continue to grow.
People who rely on online shopping swear by it. Veteran Internet purchasers have learned, often the hard way, how to avoid the problems that are sometimes associated with online shopping. However, the benefits of online shopping can far outweigh any risks if you’re armed with some knowledge and good old fashioned common sense. In fact, millions of people shop online every day with no problems. By avoiding some of the most common mistakes made when purchasing a bunk bed online, you can quickly become a savvy and safe online shopper.
Five common mistakes people make when buying a bunk bed online include failure to:
- Verify the credentials of an online shop before doing business.
- Verify the online retailers return/refund policy.
- Check out the retailer’s customer service accessibility and safe shopping status.
- Qualify the retailer’s selection and competitive pricing/buyer’s guide.
- Check out shipping options, and customer satisfaction guarantee.
When deciding to make a purchase online, you can get some practical experience under your belt in no time. You can also avoid hassles and regrets by following some simple guidelines that will pay off economically while providing all the conveniences that go with online shopping.
Below are some important deal breakers when purchasing from an online retailer:
1. Customer Service
Your first test of any online retailer should be to make sure they offer excellent customer service. From start to finish, you should be able to have your questions answered, concerns addressed and information provided with little to no effort.
It is essential that the retailer has a telephone number for customer service. If you’re new to online shopping, you might be surprised to discover how many online retailers list no telephone number for customer service (an e-mail address is often the only contact link.) Any reputable retailer will make itself available to its customers. The most reliable online sellers offer telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and even online instant messaging for customer service.
Whether you are sure you’re ready to purchase your bunk bed, or if you’re simply shopping around, it’s always a good idea to make sure you are dealing with a knowledgeable and friendly sales and service staff. Pick up the phone and ask questions before placing an order. You do not want to rely on e-mail communications if you run into a problem with your bunk bed order.
2. Selection, Comparison Guides, and Competitive Pricing
When choosing your bunk bed, there is no reason you can’t find exactly the right one for you by shopping online. In fact, not only are you going to discover the largest selection possible on the Internet, you’re going to find the largest variety of related product categories, product reviews, and manufacturer’s descriptions. Many online retailers provide price and product comparison guides as well, so you will know exactly where the best deals can be found.
The best Internet sites will offer detailed photographs of each bunk bed, along with a buyer’s guide and glossary of terms to familiarize consumers with relevant terms and information to help you make the best decision.
3. Safe Shopping Guarantees/ Order Tracking
Safe online shopping is critical; be sure to order from sites with 100-percent secure shopping and encrypted ordering – look for accredited secure shopping icons featuring Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) typically displayed at the bottom of the website page. Secure browsers will display a “lock” icon somewhere in the browser window (but not in the web page display.)
Click (or double-click) on the lock icon to see the site’s security details. Make sure to test the functionality of the lock icons, as fraudulent sites will have non-working SSL icons to mislead.
Additionally, a web address that begins with “https://” tells you you’re on a secure site. The http stands for “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol” which is simply standard Web language, and the “s” stands for the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) we discussed previously. The https in front of the URL indicates that you are in a “secure session,” another protocol developed to ensure safe, secure Internet transactions.
BBB accreditation is a plus. Also, watch for payment options that offer order tracking service. Check out the site’s privacy and security policy and determine how carefully your information is guarded before you place your order.
4. Hassle-Free Return Policy
Most likely, your online bunk bed purchase will be exactly what you expected. Still, there are a myriad of reasons that an item might need to be returned, and you want to be sure your online merchant has a no-hassle return policy. Make sure you know how your order will ship and when it will arrive. Your Internet retailer should always provide you with a tracking number, and have options governing international shipping. Familiarize yourself with these policies ahead of time so that if an item needs to be returned, you’re covered.
5. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
What more can you ask from an online retailer? Most reputable Internet merchants offer this blanket assurance that tells you you’re covered, no matter what.
Online shopping guarantees, once the domain of Internet heavy hitters like eBay and Amazon.com, have become standard for all online retailers large and small. With billions of dollars in profits at stake, any reputable seller will have a no-holds-barred, 100-percent satisfaction guarantee in place. Without it, sensible shoppers simply will move on to another site that does promise complete satisfaction. When it comes to online retail outlets, the competition for customers is fierce. As a consumer, you can and should expect guarantees and shop with only those retailers who provide them.
Just a little knowledge and common sense go long way in making your online shopping experience safe and enjoyable. When you’re ready to purchase your bunk bed, there is no reason to settle for anything less than the one that’s right for you. Online retailers offer more options, prices, and information at your fingertips in minutes than you could find in a month of conventional shopping. Follow these simple rules and discover the many ways online purchasing can benefit you!