Our guide to online shopping

We’ve had to do things a little differently this year when it comes to shopping, whether that’s for food, clothes or even presents for birthdays or Christmas. With many of our favourite shops being closed it can cause a lot of anxiety around getting shopping done – but don’t panic, one of the best ways you can get all your shopping done is by doing it online.

So we’ve put together a helpful guide on how to navigate the online shopping world.

What are the benefits of shopping online?

Online shopping is convenient; it allows you to get what you need without even leaving your home. One of the biggest benefits you can enjoy by buying online is that often you are able to find cheaper prices, saving you money. Plus you also don’t have to waste time queuing or battling the crowds.

Is online shopping safe?

It is normal to be wary when shopping online, putting your credit card or debit card number online may seem unsafe but most websites have security software built in to keep your card details safe. 

Here are our tips for staying safe when shopping online:

  1. Create a secure, strong password for the online accounts each shop may ask you to create when buying with them – choose a password that has capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Make sure to exclude any names or personal information that is easy to guess.
  2. Use different passwords for different accounts – if you are shopping on different websites make sure to use a different password for each.
  3. Change your password regularly – once you have made an account for an online store it is important to change the password regularly.
  4. Only shop with brand names you know and trust. 
  5. If you are unsure whether to trust a website online, many will have online customer reviews from other people which will give you an understanding of what shopping on that website is like.
  6. Look out for scams – if something seems too good to be true, then it most likely is. Often a quick search via Google can provide information on scams and what to look out for.

How do I use the internet to shop online?

What will you need?

To shop online you will need three things:

•    A laptop, smartphone, tablet or computer.
•    An internet connection.
•    A debit or credit card.

How to search for things online?

Step 1: Switch on your device and find your internet browser.

Once you have switched your device on and it has loaded up then click on your internet browser, for example, safari on Apple devices, Google Chrome or Internet explorer. 

Step 2: Search for a product or service using search

Type the name of the product or service you want to buy into the search box and then click ‘Search’ or enter on the keyboard. This will bring up a list, known as the search results, which will be a range of websites including retailers like John Lewis or Asda or other retailers like Amazon who solely sell products online. Depending on what you search for will determine what search results appear.

Step 3: Searching for and buying a product from a website

Once you have decided on a website you want to visit, click on the blue hyperlink which will open a new page, taking you to the website. You can now narrow down your search by typing in more specific details, for example, ‘White Trainers’ in the search box, this is normally at the top right of your screen. Alternatively, you can often use the menu on a website to narrow down your search, there often will be categories listed at the top or the left side of the website that you can click on to find specific types of products.

Step 4: Adding a product to your basket

Once you have found a product you want, click on it and it’ll bring up another page or box that has more details about the product.  Many websites let you have a closer look at the product by hovering your mouse over the image. There are often boxes next to the image to choose certain specifications related to your product, for example, the quantity that you want to buy or the colour that you want.

Once you have chosen the specification you want, click on ADD TO BASKET. Doing this will save the details of this item until you’re ready to buy it.

Step 5: Continue shopping or buy your product

Repeat this for all the products you want to buy. Once you have finished adding everything you want to your basket click on Go to cart/basket.

Step 6: Checkout and pay

To pay for your item click on the Checkout button.

Some websites ask that you create an account. If you plan on using a site regularly then signing up for an account will make paying for items much quicker as your basic information is stored. To create an account, follow the steps on the website and fill out all boxes marked with an (*).

You will often be given the chance to review your purchase, this gives you the chance to make sure you have ordered the right product and given the right name and address for it to be delivered to. Once you have ensured this is correct, click NEXT or CONTINUE which should take you to the payment page where you enter your card details and any other information required. If you are happy with everything, click PAY or CONFIRM PAYMENT DETAILS.

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