by January 4, 2000 0 comments

All your life you’ve had to
go out to the market, trudging along the footpaths, and hunting from shop to
shop for products you need to buy. There must have been instances when you’d
find something that you really want to buy, but weren’t able to because
you didn’t have enough cash in your pocket, or the particular shop didn’t
accept your credit card. You may also have returned home only to remember
that you forgot to buy the most important item in your list.

How do you reach a site that
has the product you want? You could do a search for that product at a search
engine, or you could look through the reviews in this issue to find out the
shop you want. Indian e-com endeavors are relatively new, and haven’t done
a good job of getting listed at search engines. Also sites like Everbest.com
(earlier Dealpilot.com) that specialize in sniffing out the best prices from
online shops don’t cover Indian online stores.

Not all sites deliver to all
places. Check whether the site you are at delivers to your place. The site
would indicate the delivery time they require.

Once you’re at the site,
you can search for the products you want to buy. You could look through the
categories at the site or search at the site’s search engine. Many sites
let you search according to your budget or category or brand.

If you want to buy a product,
add it to the shopping cart. The shopping cart is nothing but a small part
of the software that tracks the products you’ve chosen to buy and their
price. The shopping cart does the job of totaling up your bill for you. Most
sites let you remove products from the shopping cart before the actual order
is placed. So, the golden rule here is, if in doubt, put it in your shopping
cart. You can go on adding products to your shopping cart, as you would have
done if you were at a supermarket.

At a supermarket, there are
no hidden costs — delivery charges, for example. Many online sites add a
surcharge for shipping. And these vary from site to site, and could even be
more than the value of the goods you ordered if your total bill is small. So
ensure that you understand the terms of the site. Most sites display this
information prominently. If you can’t find it, ask over e-mail.

When you’ve decided on what
products you want to buy, it’s check out time. Most sites will ask you to
register to make the transaction trustworthy. You’ll be asked to give your
e-mail address, mailing address, and so on. Never give your credit card
number, if asked to do so while registering. Once you’ve registered, you’re
ready to place your order. The site would give you a login name and password
(most likely, you selected them yourself). The next time you come to the
site, you don’t have to register again. Use your existing login name and
password. Once you’ve registered, you have to indicate your preferred mode
of payment–usually, it’s a credit card. Ensure that you’re on a secure
connection when giving out your credit card number. You will most likely not
be on the secure portion of a merchant’s Website, until you begin entering
your credit card information or logging in or changing your profile. So don’t
expect every page on the site to be secure.

Once you’ve ordered, the
site will send you a mail confirming the order. Now, it’s your turn to
wait for the purchases to arrive.

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