When you’re a first time customer at an online retailer, it’s important that you do all you can to protect yourself. Below you will find some helpful tips on how to decide to trust an unfamiliar online retailer and how to make a safe purchase.

Reviews and Research

The very first thing you should do when buying from an online retailer for the first time is do your research. Read all the reviews available on the retailer’s website to get an idea of other people’s experiences. If there are no online reviews, you can do a quick Google search of the company’s name along with the word “reviews” to find out what people are saying. You can also look the company up on the Better Business Bureau’s website. On there, you will find any complaints or issues that other customers have had with the retailer. If you see a number of negative complaints, then you might what to rethink making a purchase.

Scrutinize Payment Options

There are several certified ecommerce payment gateways available for online retailers to use. It’s important for first-time customers to take a look at the payment system to determine if the business is using one. If it seems suspicious for some reason, do a Google search to determine whether or not those suspicions are correct.

Read the Shipping and Return Policies

Before you buy anything from a retailer you’ve never shopped at before, you must read their shipping and return policies before you place an order. Online retailers all have different policies when it comes to shipping and prices. Free shipping isn’t always offered, so be sure to check how much their shipping charges are.

Likewise, different online retailers have different return policies. Some will give you 30 days to return an item and will give you a shipping label. But other retailers might not accept returns at all or might make you pay for the return or charge a small fee. Before you buy for the first time, familiarize yourself with the retailer’s policies so that you aren’t surprised or get stuck with an item you don’t want.

Protect Your Information and Computer

Of course, when you shop online, you have to give out some of your personal information, including your address and possibly your credit card number. But if an online retailer asks for other personal information that doesn’t seem relevant or necessary to your purchase, you should be wary. For instance, if they ask for your social security number, information about relatives or place of birth, or anything else that seems too personal, then it’s best not to make the purchase. No legitimate online retailer will ever ask for your social security number or other sensitive personal information

It’s also a good idea to make sure that your computer is up to date when it comes to antivirus software. This will give you peace of mind that your computer is protected when you’re visiting websites that you’re not too sure about yet.

Overall, it’s important to listen to your gut when you’re deciding whether or not to buy from an online retailer. If there’s something off about the website, then it’s best you look elsewhere on the web for the product you want. But if you follow these tips, then you will be able to protect yourself when you’re shopping online.