Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Year, New You—Smarter Shopping for All!

By Masaya Ueno, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rakuten Online Shopping

Top Tips to Shop Smarter Online
Did you know that less than 25% of us can claim to have shopped online without regrets?

A recent survey by e-commerce company Rakuten* showed that the majority of online shoppers are generally dissatisfied with their purchases. Meanwhile, less than a quarter of us even bother to complete our online purchases.

Isn’t part of the beauty of online shopping the efficiency and convenience it offers? Yet, we’re spending hours online researching products, that we either don’t end up buying or end up being unhappy with.

Malaysia was recently listed in the Top 30 countries on AT Kearney’s 2013 Global Retail E-Commerce Index as an attractive online market, based on its online market size, technology adoption and consumer behaviour, infrastructure, and growth potential.  As costs of living surges in the coming year, Malaysians from all walks of life are looking to tighten our belts and become smarter shoppers. With a ripe and ready e-commerce landscape, Malaysians need to take full advantage of this and learn how to navigate the virtual marketplace and make beter purchasing decisions.

Here are five top tips to help you shop smarter online and save time and disappointment.

1. Maximize your research time. A good portion of us prefer to research products first and delay our purchase decisions, but what if you could use that time a little bit more efficiently? Digital pin boards, like Pinterest, are a great way to to organize the products you’re researching and share them with friends or peers to seek their opinons before committing to your purchase.

2. Look for great product photography and detailed specs. A site that enables merchants to post realistic product images and detailed information on, for example sizing and fit, will help you easily and quickly determine if those pair of jeans are the ones you want.

3. Be smart and earn as you spend. Just like you can earn free coffee through loyalty  programs at your favorite café, online loyalty credits or points can be a great way to earn extra ‘cash’ to spend on your next purchase. One-stop sites tend to also offer additional collective discounts, special sales and incentives which you can apply to save money on purchases from more than just one shop.

4. Know which sites offer the best delivery options up front. How many times have we gone to check out and left products in the shopping cart because the delivery options didn’t suit our needs or were too expensive? Familiarizing yourself with sites that offer the best delivery options for you—from low cost/free shipping options to cash-on-delivery (COD) and a pricing scale depending on how quickly you need the product—will save you time and headaches up front.

5. Qualify the return policy. While we’ve shared a number of tips to help you shop and make that purchase, in the case that you do second guess your decision to buy that trendy yellow dress after it arrives, ensure you shop on sites that offer good, hassle-free return policies.

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