Online Shopping Survival Tips

The holidays are just around the corner, which means it’s time to kick your shopping into overdrive. Some of you may be furiously scribbling down ideas for gifts as you read this, while others are maybe only one or two items away from having their holiday shopping complete. Whatever your situation, why not take to the computer, tablet, or smartphone to streamline some of your purchases this season, and take some of the hassle out of gift giving.

Shopping online has many advantages over traditional retail stores, especially during this time of year when shopping centers and stores across the country experience long lines, low inventory, and odd hours. OK, so maybe we’re just a little bit biased, but it really can be simple and easy, and we’ve compiled five essential tips for enjoying a smooth and stress-free online shopping experience. Whether you’re surfing the web at home, or making the most out of coffee shop WiFi, these tips will help you get it done.

Research

Think you got the right jacket, the right size, and with the right features? Best not to wait until after Christmas to find out. Doing research on any product you’re buying, regardless of whether or not it’s online or in-store, is crucial. A simple Google search with the product name and “review” should yield several choices for reading up on others thoughts on a particular item. Learn whether or not it runs big, how durable it is, best uses for it that you would never have thought of, and so on.

Another great place to find reviews and information is through video, such as on YouTube. We have an extensive selection of informational videos on the majority of products we sell, which you can play right from their respective product pages on our site and on our WinterKids YouTube channel. In short, don’t be too quick to pull the trigger with easy online purchases. It can be very tempting to simply submit your order and sit back, but dig a little deeper and make sure you’re getting what your need. It will pay off when you’re not sending back a return two months from now!

Double Check Shipping

During the holiday season, many sites, including WinterKids.com, have altered shipping rates and/or times. From Thanksgiving all the way through the New Year, packages are flying all over the country, and it does get tricky. Be sure that the address you’re using for your shipping is correct. I know it seems like something you wouldn’t think twice about, but it happens more often than not that someone entered their own address in incorrectly. Shipping can get hairy when you’re trying to change an address while the package is en route. Double check your info in any confirmation you get to keep from having a package sent back when they can’t find your address.

Also, different shipping methods may be reduced or their timing may be changed due to increased volume, so be sure you’re getting the best deal and have enough time for delivery to occur. Always be sure to check that you are choosing the correct shipping method, especially if you’re on a time constraint. But that never happens, because we all do all of our shopping ahead of time and no one waits until the last minute, right? Right. Which brings us to our next tip…

Buy Early

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but we cannot stress this one enough: Buying early is simply the way to go. The more time you have before you need your gift wrapped and under a tree, the better. That’s more time to handle exchanges or returns, buying something else when you find out they’ve already got one of those, and countless other scenarios that can’t even be imagined until they occur. Aside from having time to troubleshoot, buying early helps ensure that you get the right size, style, color, etc, that you need. No one likes hearing that the only size left in the color they want is five sizes smaller than it needs to be. At the last minute, with inventory flying out every which direction, the chances you’ll find what you need drastically diminish.

Keep a Record

Though we would love if every single customer who every placed an order on our site had the absolute best experience possible, complications do occur. These can include situations such as an item running out of stock, needing to call in and change something about the order or add to it, as well as exchanges and returns. The best thing you can do to help you better tackle these issues, should they arise, is to keep a copy of any emails or notifications with information regarding your order details, shipping, and the like. Having order numbers, tracking numbers and other forms of identification can help customer service better sort out your problem and reach a solution. Don’t just save the info until the order arrives on your doorstep, you never know when you might need it.

Don’t Be Afraid to Call

As we’ve acknowledged in previous posts, buying things online can be tricky. If you ever have any questions on product specifics, shipping, or anything else to do with your order, don’t hesitate to call customer service and ask. It’s always better to makes sure everything is 100% from the get go, rather than find out down the road when you may or may not have time to adjust. No matter how small or seemingly insignificant, calling and clarifying can save you a heap of trouble later.

 

Hopefully the above tips will help aid you in your online quest to full your shopping lists this year, and keep you from pulling all your hair out by the time New Years rolls around.

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