How shopping online can save money

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iol scitech dec 6 shopping online pic www.sxc.hu Whatever it is, clothing, cars, insurance, travel, or searching for the best laptop prices, Internet shopping is becoming an integral part of our lives.

Did you know that shopping online can not only save you time but money too? More and more South Africans are discovering the benefits of purchasing goods on the web.

Statistics published by Mastercard revealed that South Africans spent R3,3bn shopping online in 2012!

Budget Insurance spokesperson Martin Janse van Rensburg explains, “South Africans may have been apprehensive about shopping online when it first began gaining momentum, but things have changed and the number of people doing it is set to rise dramatically year by year.”

Whatever it is, clothing, cars, insurance, travel, or searching for the best laptop prices, Internet shopping is becoming an integral part of our lives. The other pluses of Internet shopping are, of course, the comfort and convenience of shopping from your own home.

The research also showed that 91 percent of South Africans who shop online are “highly satisfied”.

According to the data, the most active market segment is South African men aged 35 to 44. Plane, movie and theatre tickets remain the most popular purchases by South Africans.

A survey by Havas Worldwide found that the online environment was increasingly turning traditional retail strategies on its head, as consumers, armed with more information, are shrewder about buying decisions.

Convenience (36 percent) and price (35 percent) emerged as the most compelling reason for driving online purchasing, and almost 80 percent of respondents said that online shopping saves them money.

Janse van Rensburg gives these important tips to saving money when online shopping:

Plan on what you're going to buy and shop carefully within a budget. Proper planning is most important for saving money. Decide what products you need to buy before you look for the best deals.

It’s easy to get swept away by online shopping. Stay focused and stay disciplined.

Always compare prices of the same product on different websites.

Read customer reviews and testimonials of the product to see if they were satisfied with the service they received from the supplier.

Always read the terms and conditions about returning a product.

Always check the shipping cost if ordering a product from overseas. If it’s a local site, see if the delivery fee is included

There are some shopping Apps available that will help you find the best deals like The Genie Web App and Price Check, which helps you compare prices.

Make sure that your anti-virus and anti-spyware software is up to date before buying goods online.

Make sure the website you are using is secure before you enter your personal and payments details. There should be a padlock symbol in the bottom right of the browser window and the payment pages address bar should begin with “https://”.

When making a payment to an individual, use a secure payment site such as PayPal – never transfer the money directly into their bank account.

Pay with a credit card as it provides additional financial protection.

Janse van Rensburg concludes, “Shopping online isn’t going anywhere so consumers might as well get on board with it now. When you realise how much time and money you can save, you’ll never look back.”

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