So, you’re ready to take the plunge and try online fashion shopping, but you’re still a little wary of parting with your credit card details.
And your unsure whether you’ll love your purchase without physically getting to touch and feel it.
Karen Dempers debunks some myths about online shopping.
Myth #1: I won’t get my money back if I receive damaged products or they’re not what I expected
Acronyms within the online space are sometimes more frustrating than valuable, but that is not the case when it comes to the ECT (Electronic Communications and Transactions Act) and CPA (Consumer Protection Act). These acts are there to protect you as the online shopper, and put the power into your hands.
Just like shopping in a physical store, when you shop online you don’t have to accept damaged goods or even live with impulse purchases you realise you don’t want. If you don’t like something you’ve bought or you’ve received a defective item, you have seven days to change your mind and return it for a full refund. And returning an item bought online is often easier than returning it to a physical store.
Spree.co.za will refund you in full for an item you return within 30 days of receipt as long as the item is in its original condition.
Myth #2: Online shopping is not secure
The truth is that cyber scams are still out there (as are physical scams like credit card cloning and fraud) so you should always take care when using your credit card details online.
Make sure you shop with credible online retailers who use secure payment solution companies to process transactions as well as 3D secure, an additional layer of online shopping security. If you’re feeling unsure about the credibility of an online store look out for security indicators such as the Thawte logo, that guarantees all sensitive information is encrypted before it’s submitted, and checkout and payment should be on a webpage with a web address that is preceded by https, and not just http.
Myth #3: Quality and sizing is impossible to determine online
When you shop online you don’t have the opportunity to touch and feel an item before you buy it. This leaves some consumers feeling unsure about whether the product they receive will look the way it does in the images. Shoppers also worry about selecting the incorrect size since you cannot try it on beforehand.
Reputable online fashion stores understand these concerns and go the extra mile to give shoppers as much information as possible about each garment and item.
A full description and the fabric composition will tell you about the item; while a sizing guide will help you gauge your fit. Take a look at the measurements in the guide and compare them against your own measurements. You may want to start by purchasing a brand you’re familiar with, that way you’ll have a better idea in terms of sizing.
Photographs are also a great help. Spree.co.za provides four to five images per item, from multiple angles, and a zoom function that allows you to see the item up close. The item is photographed on a model and the model’s sizes given, so that you can anticipate how it will look and fit on you.
And, if you still feel unsure but want to try online shopping, start with “one size fits all” items like a scarf, bag, jewellery, watch or sunglasses and take it from there.
Myth #4: I don’t have a PC so I can’t shop online
Today’s fast mobile Internet connections and feature-rich smartphones make online shopping via a mobile device easy. Consumers can choose to either access sites via the mobile site, or mobile apps for iPhone and Android allows you to shop from anywhere, anytime without a PC or laptop.
Myth 5: It’s difficult and expensive to return or exchange products
Credible online retailers will ensure that their returns policy is easy to find on their site. Read through this before purchasing so you know exactly what the returns process is.
The process of returns at most online platforms is easy and best of all; it won’t cost you a cent. If you’d like to return an unworn item that Spree delivered to your door and it is within 30 days of it having been delivered, Spree.co.za will send a courier to collect the item(s) from your South African address at no charge.
Myth 6: Shopping online is complicated
The best e-commerce sites in South Africa and abroad have teams that focus on making your shopping experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. On Spree.co.za you can navigate easily between women’s, men’s and kidswear sections to browse or be inspired, and then use search or filtering to select the brands, sizes or price brackets that suit your needs.
Finally a three-step check out process, plus the option to save your payment details for next time, makes the online shopping experience simple and hassle free. If you’d like to speak to someone directly, there are customer-service agents available to take your call between 07:00 – 18:00 Monday to Friday and Saturdays between 09:00 – 13:00, to provide you with any help you need.
Myth 7: I can’t shop online because I don’t have a credit card
Most online retailers in South Africa support debit cards and EFT, along with credit cards. Additionally, more and more online retailers are including enhanced, secure payment options, such as SnapScan, giving you more choice when it comes to making your payment.
Myth 8: You can’t be sure that an online retailer is a credible company
Although the internet (and our real world for that matter) is filled with fraudsters and con artists, it’s relatively easy to check that the online retailer you’re dealing with is a reliable and credible player. Here’s a quick way to do a check up;
· A quick search on Google and social media will allow you to see what people are saying about the company. An established Social Media presence is also a good sign, especially if the company responds quickly and professionally to customers.
· Check that the company prominently and clearly displays terms and conditions such as its privacy and returns policies.
· Most credible online retailers provide a section explaining how they will secure your personal details and payment information. They will disclose which payments companies they use to process payments as well as how they use electronic standards such as 3D Secure to protect your personal information.
· When you’re about to enter your credit card details, look for the padlock or unbroken key icon in the browser bar. This is usually displayed in the colour green and shows that the site is enabled and encrypted for online safety. Check that the web link starts with https. The “s” indicates that the page is secure.
· If you are still nervous, check that the retailer has a phone number and give them a call. This will give you the assurance that there’s a real company behind the website.
Karen Dempers is head of customer interaction at Spree.co.za
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