Safety Tips for Shopping Online

Credit card fraud seems to be everywhere, and thieves love using the internet to steal people’s credit card information, due to the anonymity it provides. Many consumers think the only way to protect themselves is to just avoid shopping online all together. Although that is one way to avoid one’s credit card information from being stolen, it also means one can never shop online again. The online marketplace for goods and services is growing at a rapid pace because consumers know they can quickly find the best deals when shopping online. By just not shopping online anymore, one would be giving up on all these great deals. Using this method to avoid credit card fraud is like deciding never to fly in a plane again to avoid terrorists. True, one would not become a victim in any terrorist plot that involved planes, but that also means having to deal with the inconvenience of not being able to fly when traveling. Like anything else in life, the key is not to avoid the problem, but to understand the problem and to adopt a smart strategy to minimize the risk of being a victim to credit card fraud while shopping online.

First, let’s talk about steps one can take if credit card fraud has already happened. There is no need to panic. Once the cardholder reports that his or her credit card information has been compromised, the credit card company will not hold the cardholder liable for any fraudulent charges, even for charges made before reporting the credit card information has been stolen. The credit card company will shut down that card from further use and issue a new card in about a week or two, but this is still an inconvenience most people would still rather not want to deal with, if possible.

Next, online shoppers could utilize Google’s Safe Browsing Tool to check if a website is safe to visit, assuming one trusts Google of course. This tool will report if a website is suspicious or not, when Google last scanned it, if the website done anything suspicious in the past, and report if it is linked to any suspicious websites even if the site itself is not doing anything suspicious. To see if a website is safe, simply copy and paste “http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=” into the address field on the browser, and then add the url of the site to be visited. For example, to a company’s website, just enter “http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=websiteurlhere.com” into the address bar of the browser being used. Once this is entered, Google’s tool will bring up a simple half page report on whether the site in question is in fact safe or not.

Another layer of protection one can use when shopping online, is to use trusted 3rd party payment methods. Just about everyone has heard of PayPal. They are probably the most widely used 3rd party payment method in the world. They allow for customers to make payment for goods and services through them. For example, this means when a customer buys something, she is not directly paying the website that she is shopping on. She is paying the amount due to PayPal, and then PayPal pays the merchant, which means the merchant never sees her credit card information and her credit card information was never transmitted over the internet during this transaction. It does not matter if the customer shops at one website or a hundred websites. As long, as a 3rd party payment method was used, credit card information was never transmitted so, that information is not floating around on online at each website a purchase was made. Other 3rd party payment methods similar to PayPal include, Google Wallet and Amazon Payments.

Armed with this information, online shoppers can now make sure the websites they visit are safe to shop on, and also avoid entering sensitive information when purchasing. So, there is no need to pass up all the great deals when shopping online due to fear of credit card information being stolen.

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What You Need to Know About Online Shopping Websites

According to a reputable statistics site, there are 263 million Americans who shop by category online. Among the popular categories are fashion, media, and electronics. Amazon, eBay, and Aliexpress are considered to be the most established brands and retail giants in the World Wide Web.

Among the benefits of online purchase sites are convenience, better prices, variety of items, no crowds, no pressure, ease in price comparison, privacy in purchasing, and access to cheaper inventory. It’s convenient to shop in the comfort of your home. You do your research about the item that you want to buy by going through the various product review sites that give you a comparison of their features and prices. There is no salesperson who will waste your time with his sales pitch and pressure you to buy his company’s products or services. You are left to decide on your own at a time that is convenient to you. There is no need to go out so you save time, effort as well as skip the crowds. You can search for cheaper items as those that are on sale or used and save tons of money for that.

There may be some benefits of online shopping stores but the Web is a saturated market and eCommerce sites face the challenges brought about by tough competitors as well as the advancement of technology and the ever-changing consumer preferences.

The effective online store website

In order to stay in business, online shopping websites consider the following factors when managing their website, products, and marketing:

  1. Organized website. Make your website intuitive and pleasing to the eyes. Ensure that it loads fast, images are intact and the links are working well. A poorly organized online purchase site will frustrate the audience and they will leave the site right away.
  2. Mobile-friendly site. Most online buyers use their smartphones to purchase their items online. It is very essential for an online purchase site to make sure that their site is optimized for mobile users and their customers find it easy to navigate the site from their smartphones.
  3. Good quality products with accurate inventory. In order to develop your brand, sell products that have good quality and ensure that the inventory is updated. When shipping your items, double-check for any damage. Ensure that their photos are taken in high-definition and their descriptions are accurate.
  4. Variety of Payment Options. An eCommerce site that provides various payment getaways to cater to their buyers’ preferences will prove to be something that can encourage more online purchases and less abandoned carts.

Strategies that ensure security of buyers

  • Reputable platform/secure web environment. Website owners need to ensure that their eCommerce platform is trustworthy to create a secure web environment for their buyers. Opt for a secondary authentication and ensure that your server is safe from hackers.
  • Additional layers of security. Configure firewalls manually to allow genuine traffic and restrict access of harmful viruses into the website.
  • Regular updates. Make sure that the website is functioning properly and safety is maintained. Update the SSL certificates and renew those that are expiring.
  • Regular backup schedule. Backups are a great help in case website crashes. To prevent losses, the site must recover as soon as possible.
  • Secure payment gateway. Your prospective buyers need to feel secure when they use their credit card details to pay for the items they buy. A payment gateway that uses suitable encryption and enables SSL certificates would be great.
  • Management of data/Privacy. Data protection laws include ensuring customers’ privacy. It is not advisable to store data but if you have to delete records, be sure that the data can’t be accessed by the wrong people.

Keeping an online shopping website is a very tough job. However, everyone who has experienced managing an online purchase store can attest to the fact that keeping their site alive amidst bigger online shopping sites is a very challenging task.

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How to Shop Online – Online Shopping Tips

Online shopping tips are not something that should be underrated or brushed aside. Online shopping is convenient, sure, but if you’re relatively new to online shopping then there are some tips and tricks that you should be aware of to make sure you get exactly what you ordered.

Now, I’m not saying that online shopping sites are out to trick us, however, I am saying that shopping online is not like shopping in person. And, if you don’t want to be stuck with something that doesn’t look anything like what you ordered then you’d do well to go through this short read.

Our online shopping tips cover the following points:

  • Reading reviews
  • Reading product specifications
  • Buying guides on site

Online Shopping Tips #1: Read User Reviews

User reviews are underrated but should be your first resource for checking up on many things like the product quality, availability with the seller you’re buying from, the fit and sizing and much more.

It should be the first place you check and should influence your buying choice. Many retailers also offer review aggregates online, which means that they’ll collate product reviews from multiple sources. This is helpful, but you should base your decision on user reviews, which is posted by users who actually bought the product.

Go through a few and keep an eye out for fake reviews; websites and sellers often resort to this underhand tactic. So, check the difference in the count of positive and negative reviews. A sizeable difference means that the general trend is accurate. A user review count difference which is not substantial may conversely reflect something fishy, so check out other websites too.

Online Shopping Tips #2: Read Product Specifications

I know this is one of those things that you assume the seller has manipulated, but it’s also the one place where the seller is actually telling you about the product. Also, for electronics or clothing, you should definitely not ignore this section. So, if you think the deal sounds too good to be true, then the product specification or description is the one place you should check to see if what you think you’re getting is actually right or not.

If the description is non-existent or too short then you can post questions, call the customer support of the website or check on the internet to see if other places are offering similar deals. Unlike what newcomers to online shopping might think there will not be a huge price difference in the product you want to buy across multiple websites, so if you see a big difference on only one website, then there could be something you might want to check further!

Online Shopping Tips #3: Buying Guides

Most top websites offer buying guides that are tailored to their product assortment. Most of the info is some thing that you can find on the internet anyways, however you should listen to what the best practices are the website states while choosing products from that website.

So, if you’re buying clothing, then buying guides are absolutely essential and you should prefer the ones on the website you’re actually buying from.

Conclusion:

So, there is nothing to it. Online shopping is easy and fun and also convenient. In addition, you’ll never be able to get the number of choices in a store that you get online; especially when online websites allow international sellers to transact on their website.

Thus, like it or not; online shopping is the future. Sooner or later everyone will need to wrap their heads around this concept. Fortunately, it’s simple and if you stick to credible websites you can be sure to be safe.

However, be sure that the website you are relying on is credible. Malicious users and websites will make sure that they appear legitimate to even the most discerning of users. But, by just spending some time shopping and getting to be familiar with the internet, you will be able to figure out which sites you can trust and which you should not, if you happen to land on one.

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Benefits of Shopping At an Online Thrift Store

Local mortar retail thrift shops have been around for many years and today online thrift stores are becoming just as popular. Most people shop second-hand stores to find great deals on a wide variety of merchandise including, clothes for their family, home decorations, furniture, sporting goods, holiday and seasonal decorations.The Internet has made it possible for us to shop online from the comfort of our homes, saving us gas money and the time it would take for us to make the trip to our local thrift store. For those that are looking for that one particular treasure, they can simply search for that treasure from the home page of an online thrift store to see the stores’ latest availability.

Listed below are a few of the many benefits you can expect to receive:

Advantages

  • Very low prices!
  • Special deals & discounts
  • Convenience of shopping from the comfort of your home
  • Customers won’t have to battle with crowds of people
  • Customers save gas money
  • Customers saves time
  • Most online thrift stores will also offer new merchandise
  • An online thrift store will tend to be organized and easy to navigate
  • Easy to find merchandise through search capabilities
  • Some online thrift stores offer consignment services, which gives you the ability to sell your unwanted items and earn some extra money

Disadvantages

  • Availability – most second-hand merchandise will have a limited quantity
  • Customer service – In some cases, email is the only form of communication
  • Customer does not have the ability to see the product, except through pictures
  • Customer does not have the ability to try on apparel
  • Customer does not have the ability to test electronics or fixtures
  • Sold as-is condition
  • Security and safety of your payment and personal information
  • Shipping charges

Although there may be a few disadvantages, many online thrift stores have overcome these disadvantages by offering better return policies and they will often offer discounted or free shipping options. This is a great way to shop, because you can virtually received your merchandise risk-free and if you find that the product you ordered didn’t fit, wasn’t what you thought it was, didn’t work, etc. you simply return it.

Most online stores will have a “Contact Us” page listing their company’s phone number, mailing address and email address as a means of communicating with their customers. So, if you find a problem with your order or have a question about a product you seen in their store, don’t hesitate to contact them.

Security and safety of any online purchase has always been a concern. It is important to look for sites that have a high security level (SSL certification, don’t share payment or personal information, including email, etc.); this information can generally be found in the store’s policies, terms and conditions pages. Most secure sites will proudly display high security badges on their shopping cart pages or some will even display security badges on the header of their store pages letting their customers know that their information is safe.

Shopping online thrift stores can give you the great advantages of saving time and money purchasing your treasures, clothing and general merchandise at very low prices and receiving special discounts with the convenience of shopping from the comfort of your home.

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Understanding Advertising Components – Marketing Basics

Before advertising for a real estate investing business, the business owner should understand the components of advertising. Placing an ad in a newspaper, posting door-to-door flyers or using a voice broadcast message are all useful advertising methods; however, the advertising will not be successful unless the real estate entrepreneur designates a fitting message with the right medium in the targeted market.

The three main components of advertising, also known as the three big M’s, are: the message, the media and the market. To briefly summarize what each component is: the message consists of the words used in the advertising; the media is the type of advertising; and the market is the targeted group the advertising is meant to reach. Now, the brainstorming can begin. When engaging in the brainstorming session to determine your message, medium and market, you can either do this by yourself or include other associates. The more minds the better the flow of ideas becomes.

To start, asses the market you are attempting to reach. In order to reach a high level of success with your advertising, narrow down your market. You want to make sure that you are targeting potential motivated sellers. Do not necessarily think that a larger, broader audience is better than a narrow, targeted audience. On the contrary, it is much easier to shape a message and pick a medium when you have targeted your market.

Once you have narrowed down your market, it is time to craft your message. This can be anything from an “elevator speech” to an eye-catching phrase. Remember that people are bombarded with advertising practically 100 percent of the time. This puts an added pressure on making sure that your message will appeal to motivated sellers. Center your message on what your business can do for the motivated seller – how will working with you benefit them.

Finally, choose the medium for your advertising. This can include post card mailings, newspaper ads, television spots, etc. A good place to start is to analyze what other investors are doing – where are they advertising? Analyze how their choices have been successful for them or detrimental to their work. The results of your analysis can be a start for your decision making.

Once you have finalized your decisions on your market, message and medium, be sure to have a system in place to track the success of your advertising. Always come back to the drawing table after assessing the effectiveness of your advertising. If the advertising is not working to its fullest potential, ask yourself the following questions: Does my message need to be tweaked? Is this the right medium for my market? Is my market too narrow or too broad?

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Local SEO Services and Internet Marketing for Business Owners

Are you a local business owner that is need of some new means of getting new customers,leads, and sales? Has your business ever tried or even heard of internet marketing, Local SEO, mobile marketing, or Pay Per Click marketing? Please read on to find out what your business is missing.

Small business owners, local business owners, and big corporations alike, generally speaking, all have recognized that internet marketing, search engine marketing, and mobile SMS marketing are all powerful, ethical, and efficient channels for broadcasting and advertising campaigns.

In a world of ever evolving technology, many industries such as marketing and advertising have reaped huge rewards in terms of being able to get there message in front of more people in a much cheaper and way more personal fashion. Compared to traditional direct marketing and advertising channels (and industry or type of business); internet marketing, SEO, PPC marketing, and mobile marketing – have all proven to be very cost efficient and very powerful mediums for generating new leads and sales for businesses.

If you happen to be a local business owner, there are questions that you should ask yourself and also strongly consider when it comes to internet marketing services and mobile marketing services for your business.

-Do you have a search engine friendly, up to date, clear call to action, easy to navigate, and mobile optimized website?

-Are you aware of the free places you can list your business or businesses on major search engines, which if set up correctly, can ultimately help your business within days of local business listing approval(s)?

-Have you seen the statistics proving internet marketing and internet advertising, mobile marketing, and mobile advertising for business owners and local business owners is one of the cheapest and most effective means of advertising and marketing?

-Have you searched on the top three search engines for keywords relating to your business and area to even see what your competition is doing online already? Check it out, you may be surprised.

-Do you know what local search engine marketing and local SEO means?

-Have you ever tried pay per click advertising and pay per click marketing for your business?

-What other forms of existing advertising and marketing campaigns and costs do you currently have?

-Have you ever used online advertising, online marketing services, and mobile marketing and advertising services?

-Are you ready to take your business into the next generation of marketing and advertising, or are you going to sit idly by while your competitors reap the rewards? You decide…

In a world full of financial hardship and loads of competition, every business owner needs to leverage every possible channel they can to make it through these rough times. Unfortunately everything costs money, but if you want your business to grow, you need to spend the money to grow. The proof is in the pudding people, internet marketing and internet advertising along with mobile marketing and mobile advertising is the next evolution in marketing and advertising, the question is what are you going to do about this for your business?

Do you think your business could use more information on internet advertising services, PPC marketing services, SEO Services, and/or mobile marketing services?

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Marketing and Advertising Forums

Forums related to marketing and advertising are generally seen on the Internet newsgroups and other online services or the BBS. Forums are mainly formed to exchange information on various products and subjects aided by a conferencing capacity. This allows participants to participate in question and answer sessions. They also comprise of various downloading fixes and demos. There are a number of marketing and advertising forums online that provide details about the industry as well as different products and also offer a number of trade links in order to connect with the manufacturers directly.

There are innumerable free marketing and advertising forums where classified ads can be posted to thousands of active clients. These forums are absolutely free and provide information about advertising and its growing importance, various products, services and programs. Although these forums are totally free, they require a registration before posting any free classifieds. This is generally the case when the forum is visited for the first time. Today marketing and advertising forums are a good way to gain the best possible information about different brands and products. These forums are also advertised using various techniques. Networking is considered a good option to advertise a particular forum. It is recommended that the name of the forum be advertised and should be posted on the message boards of people who are likely to be interested. Creating a newsletter is another good option to advertise since a number of active forum participants can subscribe to this newsletter informing family and friends about it.

Marketing and advertising forums are important sources for information and adequate knowledge about the marketing and advertising industry. These forums give a clear idea on the various prospects of this industry through question and answer sessions with a number of participants sharing their individual views.

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Where Does Advertising Fit Into the Marketing Mix?

Many people get confused about the role of advertising in the marketing mix so here’s a simple view of where it fits in.

In the traditional marketing model, we talk about the 4 P’s

o Product

o Pricing

o Place

o Promotion

The last section – Promotion is what we mean when we say you are “doing your marketing”. It’s your communications or your actual marketing activities.

But first, let’s get clear about the PURPOSE of marketing and why you want to get good at it.

“The PURPOSE of marketing or it’s biggest task is to

persuade prospects to visit you online or offline so you

can present your offer. Done well they come waving their

credit card and ready to buy so there’s no need for hard sell.”

Whenever and wherever you get in front of your potential market is your marketing opportunity – you are communicating or getting your message across.

You could say this started as far back as Babylon when the Town Crier was the only delivery method! They went around town shouting out to people to go to the marketplace and you went to the marketplace with your goods to “present your offer”.

With the invention of print and other technologies you now have a smorgasbord of delivery methods or media to reach people such as

o Print – newspapers, magazines, catalogues, newsletters

o Phone, mail, fax

o Radio & TV,

o Internet – through websites, blogs, social networking sites, email, video & Audio podcasts

o Teleseminars & webinars

o Mobile media – Blackberrys and mobile or cell phones

o And lets not forget in person public speaking and networking

Now that range adds a level of complexity. But choice is good and you don’t have to use all of these but they are available to you.

In any event you’ll either be speaking or writing. Simply narrow down what makes sense for you and your business and use your strengths to work out a plan.

JUST remember the marketing principles remain the same no matter the medium – so the PURPOSE of your marketing is still the same. To persuade prospects to visit you online or offline so you can present your offer.

So where does advertising fit into this?

Advertising is simply a subset of your marketing activities it’s the SALES function when you make the sales pitch or “present your offer”. This could be verbal or written in all the same media you use for your marketing communications. What adds to the confusion is sometimes big companies use image based ads for awareness so the “sales pitch” isn’t obvious.

But the primary purpose of advertising is to SELL.

So you create ads in one form or another and get them in front of your audience.

Small businesses can’t afford to waste money on image advertising that is designed for the masses to promote a well known brand. It simply isn’t designed to sell, NOW.

What I do and recommend is Direct Marketing which is based on one-on-one relationships and uses proven direct response advertising techniques instead of mass advertising.

The purpose of a direct response advertisement is to get a response, NOW! Which means these ads actually ask the prospect to DO something.

Whether you’re building a list, selling a product or service, an appointment or even something you are giving away – you still need to “sell” it to your prospect. And ask them to take the action you want them to take to move them through the sales process.

In a nutshell, advertising is a subset of marketing and direct response marketing and advertising is the champion for small business.

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Four Types of Marketing For Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you most likely spend quite a large amount of time trying to discern new ways to gain customers. Marketing can be a fun or stressful business. They key is to understand the types of marketing.

Instead of sending your marketing budget in many different directions, you can choose a specific type and be consistent with it. You will quickly see that your marketing budget pays off much more quickly.

Here, you will find information on four of the main types of marketing. This way, you will be able to choose the marketing actions that will work best for your business. You will then be able to point your marketing budget in the right direction.

1. Blanket marketing is a type that is often used by larger business. Blanket marketing means that you spend money advertising to everyone. Many people choose to do blanket marketing by advertising in magazines or newspapers. You will not really have control of who sees your advertising, but you will have the potential to reach many people.

The downside to blanket marketing is that it can be quite expensive, and you could be wasting money marketing to people who may never become your customers at all. Blanket marketing is best for those who have plenty of funds available and who feel that they will be able to gain many customers from the plan.

2. Targeted marketing is a method in which you choose a certain demographic and only market to them. This could mean that you advertise to everyone in a certain area. Alternatively, you could advertise to everyone in a certain age range.

The great thing about targeted marketing is that you will have a much better chance at getting customers since you will be advertising to the types of people who would most likely become customers. The downside is that it will take a little legwork to determine who your target is and then find the right way to advertise to them.

3. Social media marketing could be called the new kid in town since it is relatively a young concept. With this marketing, you use any one of the many popular social media sites to advertise your company. You can also use a daily blog to garner business.

The downside to this type of marketing is that you will be sending your information out to many people who may not be interested at all. With blogs, you will have to take the time to keep the blog up to date. Otherwise, people may stop reading it.

4. The last type of marketing is not marketing at all. There are not upsides to this. It may seem like a way to save money, but when your business fails, you will actually lose a great deal of money. It is extremely important to find marketing funds within your budget.

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Benefits of Using Text Messaging Marketing in Advertising Campaigns

Phone advertising is a method of advertising through mobile phones. This kind of advertising occurs immediately where your customers gets your promotional information immediately. As opposed to other forms of advertising, SMS texts get checked and responded to within a few times and this is what is making it effective.

Besides being one of the fastest methods of marketing, mobile phone coupons have a 15%-40% redemption percentage growth compared to the ordinary used coupons that have attained an increase of just 2%. This is the reason why mobile marketing is growing so fast. Also, with this method, it means that customers have the freedom to choose to sign up to appropriate messages of their choice. Because of this, this method becomes less invasive compared to other forms of advertising.

In mobile advertising, vendors send marketing SMS to their prospective buyers who have approved to get them from their company. As a vendor, you give your text an exclusive keyword written approach to gain more attraction. Having done that, the receivers gets written texts introducing them different services as well asking them to verify if they’re enthusiastic about signing up to your feature updates. After they have said yes, you can then send them promotional messages to their phones whenever there is something that is happening in your business.

Mobile marketing is one of the growing techniques that you can use to promote businesses, products, offers as well as new developments nowadays. Via mobile advertising, for example, healthcare practitioners can save their efforts and money by just sending their patients an SMS telling them about their next appointments. As compared to traditional strategies of advertising, this method is more affordable, personal as well as immediate. This has improved clients’ loyalty, attention and revenue, because it makes a very good connection between clients and businesses. This is one of the key factors that have led to its fast growth.

With the present rise of new generation of mobile phones, the computers will have to be modified in a certain way since people can access the web via their mobile devices. And for people who want to get a new kind of business client, they can use mobile advertising as a way to do this. At the same time, mobile advertising is a good way in which a company can develop its profile or brand with correctly focused customers. Mobile marketing is mostly used for product releases, coupons, offers and unique promotions. Besides its mobility, mobile advertising is valuable because it enables one to obtain precise records of promotion outcomes.

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