Shopping opportunities have made leaps and bounds in recent years. You are no longer limited to brick-and-mortar stores. Instead, you can hop online to purchase what you need. From stationery and office supplies to cleaning products, electronics, and appliances, almost everything is available in the online world.

According to 2021 research, we love shopping online; over 2.17 million kiwis (approximately 53% of us) are searching the Internet for our next purchase. Who needs the hassle of a trek across town and pushing a trolley around a store when you can have everything delivered to your door? E-commerce is awesome. You can save money, time, and effort by purchasing everything from the comfort of your sofa. On top of that, you can get access to a much wider selection of products that you might not experience in physical stores.

However, despite the obvious convenience and benefits of online shopping, you must be cautious, as you can't physically check the product until it reaches you. To help you make your shopping experience secure and satisfying, here are a few suggestions and qualities to look for in an online store:

1. Well-designed and informative website

The sign of a reliable store is how well its website is designed. When you buy supplies online, the website is your first and only interaction with the brand. Good design reflects the business's professionalism and level of service. A well-designed website should be user-friendly, have a clear product catalogue, provide detailed product descriptions, and feature high-quality images. Use these elements as your first basis in deciding whether or not to trust a store.

It's also essential to note that a reliable e-commerce website must-have solid business information, including the company's products and services, contact details, and a return policy. This will help you figure out the store's authenticity and legitimacy.

2. Safe and secure checkout page

In addition to an informative website, a secure checkout page is just as crucial. You’d be wary of giving up personal information to a total stranger, such as your credit card details. As such, look for signs telling you the store is trustworthy. This includes a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate that encrypts your data. Look out for an "HTTPS" in the checkout page's URL, and a lock icon in the address bar. An online shop with these features indicates that it values customer security and privacy.

3. Wide selection of products

No one wants to go through the hassle of having to search the whole web for e-commerce companies for a few products or variants – a one-stop-shop solution is always preferable. A good online store should have a wide selection of items, giving customers more options and value-added services. For example, business supplies shouldn't be limited to stationery; a business needs all sorts of supplies, office furniture, safety equipment and packaging. A one-stop shop can save you a lot of clicking and searching. Remember, you want your shopping experience to be as comprehensive and convenient as possible.

4. Transparent pricing

The price point is probably one of your considerations when shopping online. A trustworthy store will have transparent pricing, including shipping charges, delivery fees, and applicable taxes like Goods and Services Tax (GST). Prices should be clearly stated on the website and in line with the market rate to get a fair deal. If you are a business, does the store offer volume rates or can you create account that you only have to pay off once a month? All good ways to save money and look after your cash flow.

5. Reliable delivery and return systems

Time is money as they say, so you don’t want to be dealing with a company that wastes any of yours. An excellent online store should have reliable delivery and returns systems. Look for an e-commerce platform that offers good shipping and tracking services, as well as a return policy, so you can exchange the product or get a refund if the product is not what you expected.

So, how do you know if the store has these offers? It’s all in the reviews! Customer feedback is an excellent way to assess an online store's service and performance. Look for positive but genuine comments about the delivery times and return policy. Getting a first-hand account from other customers will give you a better idea of an online shop's reputation.

It's also worth mentioning that the return or replacement policy only applies if the product is still in good condition and unused. Ensure to thoroughly check the item upon delivery and contact customer service immediately for any issues. A good online store should be willing to work with you and provide solutions.

6. Prompt customer support

What if you are unsure about something? A credible online shop must have a prompt customer service team to answer your questions and give you technical advice. When you’re stuck, you need help to unstick things or to help you understand how something works. Look for stores that offer multiple communication channels, such as phone calls, emails, social media messaging, and live chat support. Knowing you can get help or technical advice sets your mind at ease when shopping online.

You may also take into account how they respond to customer inquiries. Do they provide helpful advice? How long does it take them to address your concern? Trusting the store is essential in the e-commerce industry; it's the key to a successful and satisfying shopping experience.

Start your online shopping journey with SupplyMe

SupplyMe has all these features and more. We strive to bring you the best selection of products at competitive prices, all in one place and every day we are adding to our inventory. As we like to say, you get what you want, when you need it, making your life a little bit easier. Here at SupplyMe, we take your privacy, security, and satisfaction seriously. Whether you are shopping for your business or home, we have not just stationary but lots of other supplies you need. Plus, they are stored at warehouses all round the country, so we can get your stuff to you in a jiffy.