Exploring the internet in search of small niche stores is one of the best ways to find amazing deals. It’s also a good way to find B2B e-commerce sites that specialize in fulfilling bulk orders, which can be a godsend if you’re a business owner. However, it’s important to be mindful of security risks and scams when placing orders outside of popular retailers. Here are some of the red flags you should keep an eye out for when shopping online.
1 – Hidden fees
It’s easy to overlook fees when shopping on a site for the first time. Everything from taxes to shipping fees may only be added to the total price at the moment of checkout. You may also find that the amount that was deducted from your company’s credit card was higher than what was shown on the site due to additional fees you weren’t informed about.
Depending on the size of your business it might be impractical to keep track of every single purchase made on the company’s account. But it’s good to at least check how much a new site has charged for your latest order. Otherwise, you might take weeks to find out they have been overcharging your business account, at which point disputing the payment may no longer be an option.
It’s also a good idea to check if there are any coupons for that site readily available online before making a purchase. There are entire platforms dedicated to compiling
SHEIN coupon codes, as well as coupon codes for various other retailers and lesser-known stores.
2 – User reviews
Many online stores will proudly showcase positive reviews on their homepage. However, everything on a store’s homepage can be faked. It’s safer to check for reviews on third-party websites and social media. If you know other store owners in your niche, you can ask them about this store as well. It’s better to be safe than sorry if you’re planning on placing a big order.
3 – Customer support
It’s a good idea to email the store’s customer support before placing an order. It’ll allow you to gauge their response time and how helpful their support team is. Remember: you’ll be relying on this support team if something goes wrong with your order. And a helpful customer support representative can be the difference between an issue being sorted out immediately and you dealing with months of back and forth. So searching for a store with a helpful support team is worth the effort.
4 – Site quality
In a world where professional-grade web stores are easier than ever to put together, an online store with a terrible website is a reason for concern. A bad site can be excused if the site is old and hasn’t been updated in a while. But given how complicated it is to make sure an online store is safe from cyber attacks, it’s probably best not to trust a site with your credit card information if their online store won’t even load up properly on your cell phone.
If you absolutely must make purchases with a store that doesn’t seem to have the basics of cybersecurity down, contact their team to see if they accept payments through third-party platforms like Paypal or Venmo.