Can’t find the hottest Christmas toy in any Toys ‘R Us for three states? Source it from
China. Forgot to pick up a souvenir from France to thank your neighbors for watering
your garden? Take a peek at Etsy for a trinket that you wouldn’t have found in a Parisian
E-commerce has transformed how we purchase goods and services, and levelled the
playing field for entrepreneurs. And it’s growing all the time.
Be Safe Online Online Shopping www.avg.com 2
he marketplace is now global.
Transactions that once would have
happened face-to-face - from flights
to appliances to groceries - can all be made
online, with consumers getting the best
choice, the most competitive prices and
the ease of purchasing how, when and
from wherever they want.
From a consumer point of view, the
benefits are almost limitless. For a start,
there’s no traffic, no jostling, no lines. You
might not know what exactly you’re after
and serendipitously discover a long-lost
book from your childhood. Or you might
know precisely what you’re looking for
and be able to find the optimum cost,
condition and delivery option. It’s also
turned those dreaming of starting a
business into online entrepreneurs,
from small-time crafters to ambitious
With mobile technology, too, online
shopping has gained an even firmer
foothold in everyday commercial
transactions. When you can research a
product, do a cost comparison, check your
bank account and make a purchase all in
the palm of your hand, where’s the appeal
in the traditional method?
There are, of course, still good reasons
for visiting local retailers or resisting
the urge to impulse buy. What’s more,
there are a few other considerations and
safety precautions every online shopper
or retailer should be aware of, whether
they’re buying or selling goods or services.
IntroductionIt takes seconds to create online accounts, but have you considered what happens
to them when you die? Think now about what you need to do in order to make the
process as painless as possible for loved ones.
Judy Bitterli is a Senior
Vice President at AVG.
She blogs about online
f you know little about processing speed,
memory or any of the specifications that
should be considered before purchasing
a pricey item, you could speak to a big-box
store clerk. But how can you be sure they
won’t try pushing a certain brand to clear
the shelves before the new model arrives?
They may be knowledgeable and helpful,
or they may not actually know a lot more
The ability to research, read product
reviews and compare and contrast items
online means consumers can be armed
with information without the pressure to
buy. There are no distractions from store
employees pushing extra products you
don’t need, whether it’s a computer bag
or a warranty.
When you’ve made a decision, you can
search for the best deal, and things such
as computers can often be bought right
from the manufacturer.
Home delivery saves the cost and hassle
of driving to a shop, even if there are
shipping and handling fees. Or you can
head out with the product details on
your smartphone, ready to show a clerk
what you’re after. With barcode or QR
scanning apps, consumers can check
products to see reviews and compare
But what if you’re after something
unusual, rare or hard to find? Or could
you cash in on items you no longer use, if
not just get someone to take them away?
Discretion may be required, so sites such
as PriveCo.com - specializing in private
shopping, purchasing and delivery
of “the world’s most embarrassing
products” - provide a modesty-saving
Here’s howEveryone knows the internet has all the answers. But beyond information, it also
has solutions that are changing how we do business. Say you’ve decided to buy a
laptop, for instance.
Be Safe Online Online Shopping www.avg.com 3
With barcode or
QR scanning apps,
consumers can check
products to see reviews
and compare prices.
Online classified ads for everything under the sun.
Browse, buy and sell on the original and biggest online auction
Be Safe Online Online Shopping www.avg.com 4
Online shoppers and wannabe start-up e-retailers have more options than ever.
Here are some of the top sites for browsing, buying and selling.
Renovated your house and got some salvageable carpet? Give it
away to a grateful student or other cheapskate who will take it off
What started as the booksellers’ worst nightmare has
transformed into the largest and most comprehensive internet
retailer in the world.
Arts and crafts in the digital age. Anyone who hasn’t found
the perfect craft market to display their cardigans knitted
for chickens can open a virtual storefront as part of the Etsy
Sign up to get cheap deals by email on hotel stays, spa visits,
restaurants and more.
ut increasingly, people are making
more of their purchases online, from
big-ticket items to convenience
services. In fact, consumer online sales hit
$1 trillion in 2012, and are expected to grow
by more than 18 percent in 2013, according
to eMarketer, a website that covers digital
marketing, media and commerce issues.
Still, it can be unnerving the first time you
type in your credit card details and hope
your purchase materializes. Is the website
secure? Is the business legitimate? Will
your antique porcelain vase arrive in one
Before doing anything, make sure you’re
on a secure site, which will have an https
address and a closed padlock symbol.
The Federal Trade Commission regulates
some e-commerce activities, amongst
other things stating that online
advertising must be truthful and not
There’s also an International Consumer
Protection and Enforcement Network
of government fair trade organizations
charged with tackling problems with
international commercial transactions.
Individual countries have their own trade
bodies, such as the Financial Services
Authority in the United Kingdom.
It’s in the best interests of legitimate
online businesses and traders to provide
the goods and services as promised.
That’s not to say problems don’t occur;
but use common sense - if something
looks too cheap or good to be true, it
probably is - and take basic online safety
procedures. It’s a good idea to do a search
of the seller or retailer before buying,
which may highlight any problems other
customers have had.
Shop safelyIf you’ve been reluctant to make purchases online, you’re not alone. There are
safety precautions to be aware of, but retailers and other commercial sites have
worked hard to safeguard consumers making online purchases.
Be Safe Online Online Shopping www.avg.com 5
It’s in the best interests
of legitimate online
businesses and traders
to provide the goods and
services as promised.
hile mobile devices present
other potential problems,
they should be treated
just as your home computers are: be
sure they’re secured with appropriate
software and check that anything
you’re downloading is safe. Some apps
can corrupt devices, making passwords,
credit card details and other sensitive
data available to hackers.
As with any online activity, take care
when using public computers or WiFi
networks. It’s not difficult for other
users to see what you’re up to if you’re
not encrypting your online activities,
which puts your data at risk. This
is especially true when making any
financial transactions on the move.
Remember, too, that your online
activity, from browsing to buying, is
followed closely by merchants and
advertisers. The intention of this is to
make your online experience smoother
and more relevant to your interests,
rather than to give you the creeps
when ads for things you’ve been
searching for seem to follow you from
site to site.
For more information about targeted
advertising, cookies and other technical
e-commerce issues - and how you can
have more control over it - see AVG’s
Digital Privacy guide.
One last reminder: while products and
services might cost less on the face
of it, don’t forget there will be costs
associated with shipping, handling and
postage, especially when ordering from
overseas. Items coming from other
countries or things you’ve agreed to
post abroad also might be subject to
import or export taxes or fees.
Hidden costsYounger generations who are used to mobile technology probably don’t think
twice about making purchases on the move. But even those who are accustomed
to online shopping may find making smartphone purchases a new challenge.
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ConclusionWhen almost everything you need to buy can be found online - even while you’re
on the move - it can be tempting to make purchases without a second thought.
You’ve found the best deal on the exact product you want and the most
convenient delivery option. But have you considered:
Whether the site or item is legitimate, and how to find out
Other potential threats, such as whether your credit card details are secure
What rights you have, especially if buying from abroad, and whether there are
With a few tips, you can make the experience even better for
Learn more about internet security at www.avg.com
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