Christmas is a wonderful time to give and to receive. As early as fall, stores put up fancy lights and other Christmas décor to draw in the crowd.

Christmas décor items available in physical shops are all available in online stores, and take less effort to scan when arranged in a web browser
Christmas décor items available in physical shops can also be purchased in online stores, and take less effort to scan when arranged in a web browser

If elbowing your way in a department store doesn’t sound like the kind of holiday shopping you’re looking for, you can go online and purchase whatever you need for Christmas. Read on to make the most out of your web-based purchasing.

Purchase only from reputable sites

With so many e-commerce sites these days, shopping has become very convenient. You don’t need to wait for malls to open up and you can shop while you’re in your pajamas. Before making a transaction however, do your homework and research about the site you’re purchasing from. Read online reviews and look around in forums to see whether the site has been flagged by users to get a better perspective of online shops you’re planning to buy from.

Check if the website is secure

Although there’s really no way to guarantee that the web is safe from hackers and viruses, you can do a simple check to know if you’re transacting with a secure site. At the address bar of your browser, look if there is an https instead of an http before the web address. You may also check for site badges which indicate that information that you will be typing into your site will be protected by encryption.

Read the instructions carefully on ordering and delivery

For first time online buyers, it’s important to read the fine print before making your first transaction. Read about refunds and returns policies. Find out if there’s a delivery charge for the items or if orders come with free shipping.

Take advantage of coupon codes and purchasing points

Before purchasing any item online, make sure to check for online discount coupon codes. More often than not, these codes are readily available with a quick search.  Also make sure to maximize your buying capacity by looking around to get incentives for your purchases, which can be in the form of credit card points or loyalty rewards.

Enter only the necessary information

Many online stores use PayPal or a third-party organization for payments. Some will ask you directly for your credit card information. Either way, make sure that you enter only what is necessary. For credit card transactions, it’s usually only your credit card number and the expiry date. If a vendor asks you for other information (like your social security number), be wary about purchasing from that site.

The beauty of online shopping is that you can do it in the comfort of your own home. However, you need to exercise precaution when shopping online, just as you would when shopping in a regular mall.

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