The invention of the Internet in late 1950s has revolutionized businesses all over the world. Most importantly, businessmen and women separated by thousands of miles at different places despite the distance separating them do business online (over the Internet) without meeting each other in person.
Most companies now have websites which help to make online businesses feasible. Customers visit companies’ website to buy goods, and this is known as online shopping.
Over the years, Nigerians have embraced online shopping. When we discuss buying goods online a few companies often come to mind, and they include: www.amazon.com, www.alibaba.com, www.aliexpress.com, www.konga.com, www.jumia.com to name a few.
And just like buying in person, these online stores compete for customers, and deliver goods purchased online at the doorsteps of their customers. Some companies normally offer free delivery services depending on the distance. One of the major things customers have to consider is the reputation of the online store.
Just everything can be bought online. All online purchases are done by visiting store’s website using Internet-enabled mobile devices (phones, palmtops, and tablet), desktop computers, and laptops. It is noteworthy that customers who wish to buy items online are expected to have basic knowledge of computers and/or be able to read and write.
The goods are grouped accordingly: clothes, shoes, electronics, phones, books (soft and hard copies), bags, computers on these websites with price tags on them. Also, goods are cheaper when they are bought online when bought in person. Buying items online requires some steps which customers are expected to follow.
Visit the company’s website. Instead of wasting time and money to visit the physical stores of these stores, one could easily use an Internet-enabled device and navigate on the website.
A customer must know the website of the company he wants to buy the goods from. In case he does not know, with the help of an Internet search engine like www.google.com, he can get the information he needs.
Visiting this website is just a click away. After some network action, the customer is now on the website of the store. He will have to register online.
He can check out the item he needs by clicking on its category. After viewing the exact model of item needed, he is expected to click on it and add to cart. Adding to cart is like putting items into a basket or trolley in physical departmental stores.
You must have a debit or credit card. This enables the online store to debit the customer appropriately. Customer’s account details will be required for local and overseas online purchases.
Purchases are done using credit or debit cards. Banks do currency conversion which is converting from local currency to foreign currency by using the current exchange rate at that time of purchase.
For local purchases within Nigeria, some online stores like Jumia.com allows customers to pay on taking delivery of shipped goods. This is a step to win customers confidence and trust in the company.
Always look out for additional costs like shipping charges, packaging costs and check out if you can get a warrantee on items about to be purchased, how to return the products if they do not meet your expectations and who will bear the cost before sending your card details.
It is also advisable that you read the company’s policies and FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on the company’s website.
Check out for security of the platforms. This is a major challenge of this form of purchases. But technology has continued to address the former buy building more secure platforms like SSL (Secure Socket Layer) which makes your web browser to automatically change from HTTP to HTTPS.
This enables customer’s card details to be properly guarded from fraudsters. HTTPS platforms are more secure than HTTP.
Always record all transactions done online. If you cannot print, grab the page and save it for future references and security purposes. Also, some companies allow customers to pay by installments and later complete the payment after taking delivery and confirming them, thus the fear attached to not feeing the goods to be purchased is eliminated.
Note that credit cards offer more security than debit cards therefore, credit cards are preferable for such transactions. Some credit card companies provide password and CVV (Card Verification Number) to further authenticate transactions done online while others make use of tokens. CVV codes are on the cards, and they vary from company to company.
Online shopping has come to stay because they are convenient and always cheaper hence, people should patronize it. Almost everything can be bought online.
One major precaution one needs to take is to avoid handing over account details to just any company, hence the need for customers to be sure that the company has good track record.
Furthermore, Nigerian government should formulate necessary legislative backing guiding these forms of businesses in Nigeria because they provide jobs for thousands of Nigerian youths (like drivers, marketers, computer scientists, etc.), positively add to government revenues by tax payments, encourages hassle-free shopping (shopping convenience for even disabled people) and place Nigeria on the global I.C.T. map.