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To eRetail Or Not to eRetail?

To eRetail Or Not to eRetail?

Valentines Day is fast approaching and for those of you who enjoy the art of gift-giving but not of gift-shopping, maybe eRetail is the fix you’ve been waiting for.

Whether your looking for that perfect diamond ring, or shimmering heart pendant, the state of the economy will, without a doubt, have an impact on the amount consumers will spend this Valentines Day. So for those of you who want to buy more for less, online retailers should definitely be at the top of your list. Online retailers make hundreds, sometimes even thousands of sales per day. The constant flow of inventory allows them to dramatically lower their prices and also permits them to negotiate better prices with their suppliers, which can only lower their prices even further. Additionally, the online retail market is very competitive, therefore online retailers constantly try to outperform each other by introducing new sales and promotions.

However, the most pressing concern of any prospective internet shopper is the legitimacy of the website he plans to purchase from. The following tips can help you establish whether or not the website is secure and trustworthy.

1) Review the T&C’s

T&C is short for terms and conditions, and every reputable eCommerce website should have them. Usually labeled under “Terms of Use”, these are a set of guidelines you must agree to and the company must follow. Another important area you should look over would be the “Privacy Statement”, which outlines how they handle the personal information you provide – specifically the standard privacy practices they follow in addition to outlining who they share your personally identifiable information with (keep in mind that e-retailers are required to share some of your personally identifiable information with third parties who are involved in your order i.e. the shipping courier or their merchant account provider).

2) Check for third-party seals of approval

There are many companies on the world wide web that provide seals of approval to particular websites who meet a certain criteria. Oftentimes the website must uphold a certain level of privacy and security practices in order to obtain the icon which they can display on their website. eCommerce websites pay monthly or yearly fees to maintain their recognition.

SSL Certificates are an example of third party seals of approval, which guarantee the security of the website and oftentimes insure the consumer for thousands of dollars against any fraudulent activity. Here are some examples of popular SSL certificates Some SSL providers:





For more information on SSL certificates visit the Verisign website

Other popular seals include:


Better Business Bureau

3) Keep an eye out for security signs

When entering your personal information (ex: credit card information) keep an eye out for two important secure page signs. The first obvious sign would be the appearance of a lock at the bottom right of your internet browser. The second, less obvious sign, is the appearance of the letter “s” at the end of the http:// in your address bar (i.e. it now becomes https://).

4) See what others are saying

One of the most important factors determining whether or not you will purchase from a website should be based on their customer reviews (keep in mind that one unhappy customer is more likely to write an E-review than 50 satisfied customers). But, if you notice a definite trend in unsatisfactory behavior or practices outlined by the reviews it might be wise to steer clear. Great places to look at e-retailer reviews:



The great news is some e-retailers have made it much easier by linking their webpage to a third-party customer review website for you.

So is shopping online safe? My answer to that is YES, but there are a few safety tips you should know of first.