In the ever increasing world of ecommerce we may find it more convenient to shop online but it does not come without its risks. It is important to be hyper vigilant and to do your due diligence when buying online. After all, the best way to help arm yourself against fraud is educating yourself more about it. We don't know what we don't know, right?
Some things to look for to help ensure you're buying from a reputable company.
Contact Information (phone number a must!)
This is a great way to see what kind of a company you may be buying from. You can find reviews on the ecommerce company’s website and on Facebook as well. Read a good portion of each star review to get the good, the bad, and the ugly. It will tell you some pain points in dealing with the company but it will also tell you things they do well.
Not only is capturing reviews a part of the digital marketing process but it’s also something ecommerce customers enjoy doing so even new companies should have some reviews. For instance, Precision Metal Art has over 8,000 verified reviews on our website alone and we’ve only been in business just over a year.
You do not have to take all reviews “as gospel”. Bear in mind sometimes people can be nasty for nasty’s sake so note the tone on bad reviews. If it’s in earnest then it’s probably legitimate. Also, if reviews are over six months to a year old and it’s something the company may have addressed and become more efficient on, it’s worth giving the company a call and chatting with a customer service member to clarify. Which brings us to our next item on the list.
An increasing trend in ecommerce business is a term called “drop shipping”. This is essentially a retailer selling wholesale goods but without holding any inventory. The product ships direct from the wholesaler. Precision Metal Art is not a drop shipper, we manufacture and ship every item we offer in our facility in southern Michigan. But drop shipping isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It allows you to get a better price on merchandise because the retailer does not have all of that overhead of product inventory and the cost of a facility to house it.
However this can create some problems for the consumer. Mainly being that drop shippers are not always quick to display detailed contact information for their company and even less quick to respond to inquiries, as most of them work remotely, hire virtual customer service associates, and do not have a physical facility.
This does not mean drop shipping companies are not legitimate. It just means it makes them harder to get a hold of if you have an issue with your order or merchandise. Make sure the company has at least two separate ways to get ahold of them in this event. Bonus points if the company has a phone number listed! Precision Metal Art is one of the only metal art companies to offer telephone support for your convenience but with any online purchase it’s always good practice to call or use a “live chat” support function to ask any questions before completing your purchase. Especially if it is from a company you’ve never bought from before.
Secure Checkout/PCI Compliant
Before putting any of your financial information in a website, take a peek around the to ensure that website has a secure checkout available and that they are PCI (Payment Card Industry)compliant.
These are just a few things to look for when buying online. It is our top priority at PMA to ensure that when you buy from us you trust that you’re going to get a quality product and that we will never share or misuse your personal data.
If you have any questions or concerns, hop on over to the contact us page and give us a call!