Computer monitors, tablets, and smartphone screens can vary and colors aren’t always perfectly represented. So don’t just assume the color is what you see. Red can look orange, navy blue can look black, light blue can appear grey, etc. Read the description and pay close attention to color. Also, check to see if item comes pre-assembled. Flat-packed items are cheaper to ship but you’ll have to assemble them yourself. Make sure you’re prepared.
Read the Product Reviews
Many online stores are starting to allow customers to leave product reviews. These are very useful as customers who have already purchased the product can let others know if the product was as expected. Sometimes something can look great in the photo and description but the product reviews might be terrible (ie – the color was not as represented, the quality was poor, etc.). And sometimes the opposite will be true. The product might look a little off in the photo but the reviews may highly recommend it. If the reviews are there make sure to read them.
Consider the Shipping Costs
Don’t forget to take the cost of shipping into account. Some online stores offer free shipping, but more often than not when you’re buying a large piece (or even a small piece) there will be a hefty delivery charge – particularly if you’re shipping internationally. Factor this into the price of the item before you confirm the purchase. (Also, don’t forget about duties and international taxes if you’re shipping to a different country. These are often calculated after you’ve made the purchase so you may have to make an estimate).
Confirm the Return Policy
Make sure you’re familiar with the store’s return policy. There are a lot of reasons why you might want to return something. It could be the wrong size or color, or it’s possible it got damaged during shipping. Make sure you know if the store will accept it back, and if so, who is responsible for the shipping costs. More often than not it’s the responsibility of the customer, not the store, so make sure you’re willing to accept the responsibility.
The other important thing to remember when you’re shopping online is to not rush. It’s very easy to make purchases right from your living room but make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Think before you buy!