Have you ever tried buying online from a company that is based overseas? Granted, of course, that you are from the United States. Let’s say you’re looking for an affordable wedding dress on the Internet. You’ve done your research and found out that 70% of the online stores sell expensive wedding dresses and are based in the United States. The remaining 30% of these online merchants sell quality looking and yet affordable wedding dresses. But there’s a catch: They’re all based overseas, mostly from China.
So what do you do?
It can be a little frustrating once you know that these online stores outside of the U.S. do not have the same merchant policies as we have here. They accept credit card payments, but how do you know they are secure? Are they really selling the wedding dresses that they display on their online galleries?
Of course, the smartest thing to do is to research before you leap. You’ll find that it is actually possible to create a good transaction with overseas merchants, as long as you know they are secure. (See my article: How to identify secure websites when shopping online)
You don’t want to go straight to the checkout page without first having browsed through the galleries and picked the wedding dress of your choice. Be brave, don’t give in to the temptation yet. You need to do a little research. Here are a few things you need to find out:
1. Physical address, phone number, email, and other forms of documentable communication between you and the merchant such as Live Chat. Do not buy from a merchant that does not reply to your email inquiries within 24 hours.
2. Ordering and return policies. Read the return policies and guarantees first before you order anything. You will protect yourself from loss if in case you don’t get the item that you wanted as it is.
3. Product and merchant reviews from people who have ordered from this online merchant. Hang on — there’s also a catch to this. Smart online shoppers know the difference between real, unbiased product reviews versus faked and scripted ones. Keep your defenses up against websites that have majority of negative reviews, even if it means relinquishing the picture perfect wedding dress.
When you are sure that a merchant from China with a decent looking website and communicates with you in good English is not a scam website, then you are ready for purchase. Again, look for signs of a secure website on the checkout page before giving out your credit card information. The wedding dress example here is actually based on a true story. If you were going to shop online like a pro, then you can save a lot of money buying stuff on the Internet.