FAN MAIL FRIDAYS: Online Shopping--LIKE A BOSS!
Good afternoon ladies! Hope you're having a chill Friday. I just finished with an 8am event at SM Megamall, (Yes, some events can be THAT early. :D) and I'm just chilling somewhere before I head home. We have a very good Fan Mail Fridays query today, and it is from one of my avid readers, Joan Danielle. I'm sure you will all benefit from it, especially those who love online shopping. :)
Hello Ms. Martha,
For the longest time now, I've been wanting to buy make up online in Multiply stores. However, I have 3 problems, 1. I don't have a credit card, 2. I don't know which Multiply stores are reliable, and 3. I don't really understand the whole online shopping process. So I was wondering if you can make a guide on online shopping?
Photo Credits: iamthecoffeechic.com
Hi Joan Danielle!
Thank you for the question! Ah, Online shopping-the wave of the future. Everybody is into it because it's fast, easy, and convenient. However, the biggest risk here is cyber fraud. Many criminals saw the online shopping world as a potential place to execute crimes without being caught as it is such a huge and free environment where identities can be faked easily, and there are no strict restrictions on cyber activities except copyright infringement, human trafficking, and plagiarism. For a time, it has been a toxic place for most people because petty crimes have enormously evolved into serious ones. (Would you believe that there was this woman who bought a non-existent house and lot on a buying and selling site for P1,000,000.00, deposited the money to the agent's account, and ended up with nothing but fake documents!?!) But despite all these, a lot of people still love online shopping because it is where you can get tons of unique and cheap finds, most especially clothes. Your only defense against cyber criminals is intelligence: Do a lot of background checks on a particular online shopping site/dealer. It's a lot of work but I'm sure you don't want to waste your hard earned money, do you?
I've been an online seller/shopper since 2004 and I'm pretty confident to say that I already know my way around the online shopping world. So here's a list-based on my experiences-of online shopping tips from the basics to being a smart online shopper.
Click READ MORE and be a smart online shopper now!
THE ONLINE SHOPPING PROCESS
For this entry, I am going to use Multiply because it is perhaps the most popular e-commerce site in the Philippines. Apart from Multiply, there are brands/stores that also have their very own shopping websites, and they have varying shopping requirements and processes. Actually, I think almost all brands/stores have Multiply counterparts for their websites so I think this is a great example.
To my other readers: If you're already a Multiply shopper, you may skip this part. :)
First, sign up for a Multiply account. FYI, Multiply has had a full- blown revamp when they've decided to finally become an e-commerce website. It got a little complicated but you'll get the hang of it eventually. I would recommend that you take time to familiarize yourself with it for an easy breezy shopping experience.
Log in to your account. In your dashboard, you'll see this universal header. All Multiply accounts, whether for personal or business use have that. Beside the SEARCH word is a drop-down menu with the word MARKETPLACE on it-this is where Multiply has segregated items into various categories (e.g. Fashion, Beauty, Home, Automotive, etc.) to help you narrow down your search. Or if you don't have something in mind, you can also type in a general keyword on the search bar beside it. Since you're looking for Cosmetics, I typed it in.
When you click the GO button beside the search bar, you will be redirected to a page that features every store and item related to your keyword. If something tickles your fancy, just click the photo and you will be redirected to the online shop that carries that particular item.
Okay, let's fast forward for a bit. Since I am shamelessly proclaiming that I am a seasoned online shopper, (lol) one of the trusted online beauty boutiques that I'd recommend is Digital Traincase. Now this is the part where I tell you how to shop for the exact item/s you want.
Screen shot from Digital Traincase on Multiply
Most online boutiques have a FAQS part on their page such as this. In here, you will find everything you need to know about technical stuff such as placing orders, payment, and shipping. If you want to clarify more things with the seller, just send him/her a Private Message-the Private Message button is usually located at the right column of the page, and below the avatar of the online boutique.
Most online shops segregate their items according to brands (usually for cosmetics) and styles. (usually for fashion) If you're interested in a particular brand, just click on the photo. Personally, I like shopping in online boutiques with classified albums because it is hassle- free and makes them look more professional.
Okay, this is the confusing part (I got a little confused here too when Multiply did the revamp): When you scroll down further, you will find a random list of items offered by a particular online shop-in other sites, you'll find it at the top part of the page or above the categorized albums (if they have any). So how does it differ from the categorized albums? Actually, none because you can also find these items in the albums. The categorized albums are for those who already have something in mind, and the list is for those who'd rather look around until they find something to buy.
So I've clicked on the Charm Essentials Vegan Collection Pointed Eyeliner photo in the randomized list-let's say I want to buy this item. (Actually, I really wanna buy it LOL!) You will be redirected to a page that contains all the necessary information about the product: description, price, and other technical stuff such as payment options, shipping, and terms and conditions of the shop. For multiple orders, just click the drop-down menu beside the word QUANTITY and change the number. When you're ready to purchase, click the huge button with the word BUY NOW.
When you click BUY NOW, you will be redirected to a series of pages that will require you to finalize your purchase. I'll explain these pages in detail:
CART- Basically, it's a shopping cart where you put all the stuff you want to buy. In case you want to shop for more, just click on the CONTINUE SHOPPING button to go back to the site. You won't lose your item of your choice as long as it's in the cart, but there's no guarantee that it's yours until you get to the SHIPPING page. If you're fine with your purchase/s, click PROCEED TO CHECK OUT.
Tip: You can shop in another online boutique without losing the item/s in your cart, although the payment process would require a little effort since you're going to pay multiple sellers.
CHECKOUT- This is where you secure and see the sum of your orders. In here, you will also be asked to confirm your address-You can edit it as well in case you want your package/s shipped to somewhere else. You will also choose here your payment options: Credit Card, Money Transfer, GCASH, Smart Money Padala, ATM, and Cheque.
PAYMENT- Multiply cashes out the money on the seller's behalf. I've experienced this when I paid with GCASH, although I don't know if it applies to other payment options. In any case, just follow the prompt in the page. But if you're using GCASH, make sure you have enough money in it to pay for your purchases. Otherwise, Multiply cannot complete your transaction.
**Regarding your question, Joan Danielle, having a Credit Card is not really necessary when you shop online as most sellers use GCASH or accept bank deposits.
SHIPPING- This is where you finalize your shipping details and your transaction.
After accomplishing everything, you will be notified by Multiply that your order has been processed and forwarded to the seller/s. Wait for your orders patiently but if they do not arrive on the promised time frame, alert the online shop through Private Messaging.
Other sellers have migrated their online businesses to Facebook. Other shops also take orders from here, but a majority uses it to drive customers to their Multiply sites as Facebook does not allow in-your-face selling whether in Fan Pages or personal accounts. In fact, Facebook does not allow sellers to explicitly advertise the prices of their promos and products. Well, some sellers can get away with it but if Facebook detects it, the page will be flagged. (That's one Social Marketing tip for ya!)
INTELLIGENT ONLINE SHOPPING
Photo Credits: junkmail.co.za
So here are some tips on how to detect sham sellers, scams, and shady online boutiques:
1. THE TRUSTED SELLER BADGE AND SELLERS WITH PREMIUM ACCOUNTS
- When Multiply sellers upgrade their accounts to Premium, they earn the TRUSTED SELLER BADGE. If a seller has this badge, it's a good sign because that means the shop is duly registered with Multiply, and Multiply can help you in case something goes wrong with your transaction with the shop. BUT-DO NOT-I REPEAT- DO NOT RELY ON THIS because this is not a guarantee that the seller is legit. Upgrading to a premium account is not that expensive, and some cyber criminals use it as an illusion to lure unsuspecting customers. Just sharing: Sometime in 2007, there was this notorious pre-ordering online shop who ran away with a sum of P100,000.00+. She had a premium account and shut it down a few days after getting all the down payments from her clients and her so- called "Pre- order Cut-Off".
2. DO BACKGROUND CHECKS
- This is necessary. Read client testimonials and refer to blogs for seller/shop reviews. I would say that you pay extra attention to the latter because client testimonials can be faked. Also, some sellers could be legit, but they could be infamous for bad customer service. Shopping is a therapy, so stay away from stressful sellers.
3. BE AN OBSERVANT ONLINE SHOPPER
- This is an important trait that every online shopper should have. Other shoppers could get pretty excited and they purchase from an online shop right away, but I think an intelligent shopper observes prior to purchasing. Let's say there's this online store that you've been eyeing, but you're not sure if it's legit. The best thing to do here is to have an observation phase: Track the activities of the online shop, read new comments, and observe how the seller deals with questions and complaints. You'll be a stalker for quite a while, but it's the good kind of stalking because it's for your own sake. Make sure the store deserves your trust before you shop.
4. CRITICIZE INSTEAD OF EMPATHIZE
- Most especially if the seller has a lot of reasons for delayed orders and for not answering calls and text messages. Other sellers would say that they have better things to attend to that's why they can't keep up with their promises, but I think this is BS-if one is really serious about running a business, he/she can't be UNPROFESSIONAL. This is also a delaying tactic for most sham sellers.
5. BE SURE IT'S AUTHENTIC
- Most especially if you're buying luxury brands online. Case in point: Bags. For example, you saw a Prada bag and you want to buy it. Ask first for clear and detailed pictures of the important angles of the bag: from hardwares to authenticity cards. (if there's any) Lastly, bring up the photos in Purse Forum and have the bag authenticated by the kind people there. I trust them so much and they've helped me so many times from buying fake handbags. If the seller can't give you sufficient pictures, then it's time to look for another shop.
6. LEGIT SELLERS DO MEET-UPS, AND ARE WILLING TO HAVE THEIR ITEMS AUTHENTICATED
- This is my own opinion. A seller who is willing to show up, and confident enough to bring his/her item to an authorized retailer for authentication means he's/she's professional and reliable.
7. LEGIT SELLERS TELL YOU THE TRUTH
- If they're selling fake stuff and they say that in the descriptions, then give the seller some credit for being honest-But don't buy fake stuff. I would say that it's best to report the seller but then again, it's up to you. :)
Here's a list of my trusted online shops when it comes to beauty and fashion:
10. Shop a Bag!
11. Fashion Dime
12. Yuminum Bikinis
13. Brown Belly
14. Strip It!
There you have it! I hope you're now confident to finally purchase your first online haul, Joan Danielle. Hope all my readers have learned something useful today too! :)
**Got a burning question about makeups, skin care products, beauty, dieting, and health tips, relationships, and whatever? Just send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or shoot 'em up at The Beauty Junkee's FB Fan Page via the MESSAGE button and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. (Please, do not send me Math- related queries. :D)
You friendly beauty guru,
The Beauty Junkee
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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