In today's digital age, online shopping has become a popular way to purchase goods and services. The pandemic skyrocketed online shopping, with its risks included. With the convenience of shopping from anywhere at any time, it's no surprise that more and more people are opting to buy online.
However, with this convenience comes the risk of falling prey to online scams and frauds. As a result, it's essential to ensure that the online store you're buying from is trustworthy and secure.
Small businesses are particularly vulnerable when it comes to establishing trust with potential customers. They may not have the same reputation or resources as larger businesses, making it difficult to prove their credibility. But with the right strategies, small businesses can build trust and create a positive online shopping experience for their customers.
Here are some tips for safe online shopping and building trust with small businesses:
- Look for a secure website
The first thing to check when shopping online is whether the website is secure. Look for the lock symbol in the URL bar, which indicates that the website uses secure encryption to protect your personal information. You can also check for "https" instead of "http" in the URL, which also indicates a secure connection. If a website doesn't have these indicators, it's best to avoid it.
- Research the business
Before making a purchase, do some research on the business you're buying from. Look for reviews and feedback from previous customers, either on the business's website or on third-party review sites. Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website for any complaints or issues with the business. If there are multiple negative reviews or complaints, it's best to avoid that business.
- Check for social media presence
Online Businesses establish credibility by having a strong social media presence. Look for the business on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Don't stay on their followers only.
I cannot tell you how many business accounts I have seen with multiple thousands of followers and ZERO engagement. This tells me they probably bought dead accounts as followers to show some credibility, but this doesn't work anymore. It's way better to look at a decent social account with few thousands or even hundreds of followers (if they're quite new) that has a lot of engagement and interaction with their audience. Check their activity and engagement with customers, as well as their reviews and ratings. A business that is active on social media and responds to customer feedback is more likely to be trustworthy.
For a small business, always look for the person behind the screen: Their about page is a little space of wonders. Even their social media pages often offer sneak peaks of their life outside internet.
- Look for a return policy
A clear and transparent return policy is a sign of a trustworthy business. Make sure to read the return policy before making a purchase, and check for any hidden fees or restrictions. A business that offers a hassle-free return policy is more likely to be reliable and customer-focused.
- Use secure payment methods
When making a purchase, always use a secure payment method. Credit cards and PayPal are two popular options that offer buyer protection and dispute resolution. Avoid using debit cards or bank transfers, as these payment methods offer little to no protection if something goes wrong.
- Be cautious of deals that are too good to be true
If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often use attractive deals to lure in unsuspecting customers. Be cautious of extremely low prices or unrealistic discounts. Research the business and product thoroughly before making a purchase.
In conclusion, online shopping can be safe and enjoyable if you take the necessary precautions. Small businesses can establish trust with their potential customers by having a secure website, transparent return policy, and active social media presence.
Always do your research and use secure payment methods to protect yourself from scams and frauds.
By following these tips, you can have a positive online shopping experience while supporting small businesses - don't forget that by supporting a small business you actually invest your money to a high quality product made by hand, made with care and passion, and most of the times with the opportunity of repairment or replacement.