Online Stores & Shopping Online

Internet has revolutionized the way people had access to information. What they earlier took hours and days to accomplish, it became affordable for them now to do it in a few minutes time, with very few mouse clicks, while remaining within the square space of a browser window.

One of the direct fallouts of this web revolution is the entry of online stores or the concept of shopping online. As the term itself indicates, shopping online is the way of shopping buying goods from a virtual store (called online store) by selecting the items with mouse clicks and drag & drop and making the payments through credit card, again online.

The major advantage of online shopping is that there is no need for the customer to physically go to a store and move around the shelves. Instead, he/she can achieve the same efficiency or more than that while remaining in the comforts of one’s own home.

And the maximum infrastructure one may need to set the ball rolling could be a PC, a good enough broadband internet connection, and a valid credit card. With online stores, shopping can never become taxing and exhausting.

When it comes to shopping online, there is no better a starting point than looking in online shopping websites/directories. The plus with online shopping website/directory is that it presents to the user a comprehensive list of online shopping resources and that from virtually all part of the world, under a single URL. That is, once stumbled across an online shopping directory, very rarely does one might feel the need for overtly searching in the web for shopping URLs again.

Further, since open to general submission, the contents of online shopping directories are only poised to grow over a period of time, and this is good news for the netizens who constantly rely on online shopping for their day-to-day purchases.

Finally, since it is the human editors who make the final call on which all websites to be included in the directory, for the user, he/she could only find the most relevant and best web resources in the world, in the directories.

For the common man, the job is as simple as spending few minutes browsing the online shopping directory contents and selecting the best website out of it that offers the particular product you are looking for. Shopping won’t get simpler than that!

Don’t Worry About The Safety Of Online Shopping Just Protect Yourself

With a little knowledge, you can make your online shopping experience safe and secure.

If you are uncertain whether online shopping is safe, you are right to be concerned. There ARE online shopping sites that may not do an adequate job of protecting your financial date or the privacy of your personal information.

But if you are careful and follow a few simple guidelines, your online shopping experience can be safe and secure.

First, be certain to check the website of the online store for their privacy policy (or Terms and Conditions or Terms of Use), and/or for certification by third party sources like the Better Business Bureau Online, Verisign, TRUSTe, and SquareTrade.

If the company does NOT list a privacy policy or provide third party verification, look at the site itself. Does the site look professional, or are there misspellings and errors everywhere? If there is a customer service number to call, you can call and speak with a representative to get a sense of their policies and professionalism.

Look on the ‘About Us’ or ‘Company Background’ page and find their mailing address. If the company only lists a Post Office Box mailing address, you may want to steer clear.

Try consumer rating sites that list businesses and provide customer references from online shoppers just like you. and are two sites you might find helpful.

When you purchase products online, some companies will ask you for a lot of extraneous information (what other types of products you buy online, how many other people live in your household, what size you wear, etc.).

You don’t have to answer these questions, and you DON’T have to check the boxes that allow the vendor to sell your email address to others who want to market online shopping products to you. Complete the basic information required to finish your purchase and ONLY that information.
Some companies will allow you to register for an online account.

Unless you plan to buy from this vendor often, DON’T sign up for an account. Just complete your purchase as a ‘guest’ or ‘unregistered’ customer.

The vendor’s data base will not permanently store your credit card or personal information if you do not register for an account. So you can be sure that your information will only be used for THAT purchase.

NEVER shop in an online store that requires you to give your social security number, bank account information or personal information like your mother’s maiden name.

If you want to be especially careful about online shopping, you can set your internet security settings so that they do not accept ‘cookies’. Cookies are files that are stored on your computer to more easily load and bring you back to information you searched or bought on a website when you return to that website to shop again.

But you don’t NEED cookies if you know the website address for the online store. You can just type in the website address from scratch.

You can also check to be sure that your browser supports 128-bit encryption. The encryption process translates your credit card and personal information in a ‘code’ so that it is harder for thieves to grab your personal data.

If the online shopping site you are considering is encrypted, the address on the page you are viewing will begin with ‘https’, instead of just ‘http’, and there may be an image of a padlock in the bottom right corner of the web page.

If you DO choose to store your data so you can more easily return for online shopping, be sure that you choose a password that does not relate to information you have already stored (no address, phone number or name related passwords) and make your password a combination of numbers and letters to make it harder to figure out.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, credit cards are the safest way to pay for your online shopping purchases. In most cases, your credit card company will support you in any disputes over valid charges if someone steals your credit card information.

If you charge something on an online shopping site, check online a day or two later to see if the charge shows up. If there appears to be any problem with the name of the vendor, the amount of the charge or anything else that looks strange, call your credit card company immediately.

If you follow these simple guidelines, your online shopping experience will be safer and more satisfying!

Online Shopping: Be Smart, Be Safe!

Make your online shopping experience safe and secure, by following these few, simple guidelines

You may be right to feel uncertain about the safety of online shopping. There are certainly some online shopping sites that fail to protect your financial and personal information.

But you don’t have to stop shopping online. All you have to do is to follow a few simple guidelines, to keep your shopping experience safe and secure.

1.Check the website for a privacy policy. It may be called Terms and Conditions, or Terms of Use, and for third party certification by organizations like Verisign, The Better Business Bureau Online, SquareTrade or TRUSTe.

2.If the company doesn’t have a posted privacy policy and you can’t find any third party verification, look at the site for other signs. Look at the site with a critical eye. Does it look professional or are there misspelled words and errors on the site that seem to indicate the vendor is fly-by-night? Call the customer service number and speak with an agent, to get an idea of their professionalism.

3.Look at the company page, or the ‘About Us’ page to find the company mailing address. If the company lists ONLY a Post Office Box mailing address, you might want to shop elsewhere.

4.Review this company on consumer rating sites. These sites provide customer references from online shoppers like you. Here are two sites you might find helpful: and

5.Avoid giving additional information when you purchase products online. You don’t have to tell the vendor what other types of products you buy online, how many other people live in your house, or what size shoes you wear.

6.You DON’T have to check the boxes that allow this company to sell your email address to other vendors who want to market THEIR products to you. Complete ONLY the basic information required to finish your purchase!

7.If the online shopping site asks you to register for an online account, don’t do so unless you plan to buy from this site often. Just complete your purchase as a ‘guest’. That way, the vendor’s data base will not capture and store your personal information. You personal data will ONLY be used for that one purchase!

8.NEVER do business with an online store that requires your social security number, your personal bank account information or other personal information.

9.You can change your internet security settings so that your computer does not accept ‘cookies’. Cookie files are stored on your computer so that the site, and your personal information, will reload more easily when you come back to do more shopping. But you don’t NEED cookies, if you don’t mind re-typing the website address from scratch. You may have to re-enter personal information, but you will feel more secure.

10.Check your browser to see if it supports 128-bit encryption. Encryption translates your credit card and personal information into a ‘code’ that it is harder for thieves to grab. If your online shopping site is encrypted, the address on the page will begin with ‘https’, not just ‘http’. There may also be a picture of a padlock in the bottom right corner of the page.

11.If you choose to store your data on an online shopping site, be sure you choose a password that is not obvious. Don’t use a password that relates to information you have already stored on that site (like your street address, numbers from your phone number or a password that is related to your name). Use a combination of numbers and letters for your password.

12.Pay by credit card. That is the safest way to pay for your online shopping purchases. Most credit card companies will support you in a dispute over charges or if someone steals your credit card information. When you charge an online shopping purchase, check your credit card account online a day or two later to see if the charge shows up. If there is any problem with the identity of the vendor, the charged amount, or anything else, call your credit card company immediately

Too Many Reasons To Love Shopping

Most women, although not all, love shopping. I’d be lying if I did not place myself in the category of women who love almost nothing more than a great day or two of shopping. There are too many great things about shopping for me to ever stop liking it so much.

For me, one of the biggest reasons I love shopping is because of how relaxing it is. We all know how busy days become busy weeks that become busy months, and once in a while I like to get away from it all by spending an afternoon shopping. Shopping allows me to unwind and to take my mind off all of the more serious things that are happening in life. I can just wander through stores and think about the color of shirt or shoes I am looking for. Of course, living in this sort of dream world would not be healthy all of the time, but once in a while I think it is healthy to escape. Shopping is definitely my preferred method of escape.

Another thing I love about shopping is that it is exciting almost all of the time. I can set out on a shopping trip with one item in mind and end up discovering several other items that I hadn’t thought to buy before. I rarely if ever wander into a store without being pleasantly surprised by at least one item that they have for sale. Shopping is as exciting for me as watching basketball is to my husband. I just cannot get enough of it.

Shopping is a great way for me to connect with friends that I do not often see. Because all of my girlfriends have a love for shopping in common, shopping becomes a great way for us to spend some time together after weeks or months apart. I love that I can go shopping for endless hours with my girlfriends without getting bored. It is fun to shop with people that have unique tastes. I find myself learning from the style of my friends and I gather new ideas for future shopping every time I am with them. Shopping provides us with enough time to share great conversation as well. We never let shopping rush us or distract us from being together, we just shop as we reconnect.

And of course, I must mention that I love shopping because I find great things to wear, to give away, and to decorate my home with whenever I shop. I love to replace old things with new things and to update my style every so often.

Phone Shopping That Gets Results!

Lots of people are shopping online to find the best deals available to them. This can be a great way to comparison shop by making certain that the price you ultimately pay is the lowest price available. Unfortunately, there is one big drawback to online shopping: unless you are already familiar with a particular product, you simply have no idea how it works and in some cases how it looks. Sure, you can drive to a local retailer to get a hands on” look, but that eats up more of your time. Online shopping is supposed to be convenient, isn’t it? Well, there is a way for you to shop quickly and without all of the hassles: it involves using your cell phone.

You knew that cell phone of yours has a purpose beyond chatting with friends and taking some pictures, didn’t you? Yes, your cell phone can be used to retrieve prices on a whole host of products and you don’t even have to access the internet to accomplish that task.

Today, 21st century marketers have discovered a whole new way for consumers to shop. By simply calling a toll free number and keying in a product code, a whole list of stores selling the product you want along with their prices is given back to you. This automated feature will even allow for you to place an order for the product from your cell phone if you wish.

Yes, if you head to your local big box retailer and search the aisles for, let’s say, a high speed color printer you can locate the product code, input the information into your cell phone, and get a whole list of stores back with prices for that very same item. If it turns out that the lowest price is in that store, then go ahead and pick up the item, pay for it, and you are on your way. Should it turn out that a competitor has the same item for less, you could either go over to that store to buy it or you can key in additional information and place your order right over the phone for shipment to your home. It is that easy!

Are there exceptions to the rule? Yes, if a product is made exclusively for that retailer, then there won’t be other stores carrying the item. Simply go ahead and make your purchase there. Also, not everything is listed through this service…yet. This can include brand new products plus a few select products that aren’t even listed online. This particular service checks the internet sites for the product so if it isn’t available to you online, you won’t be able to order it over the phone either.

In all, service like these can be terrific for time pressed individuals and who isn’t pressed for time these days? Why run from store to store wasting gas? Instead, simply visit just one retailer, examine the product in person, and then call a toll free number to compare prices and place your order. It’s a free service, can make your life easier, and save you tons of money.

Go Online For A Terrific One-stop Shopping Experience

Online shopping isn’t new, but it continues to grow. An increasing number of people are letting their fingers do the clicking rather than head out to the mall or to a specialty store. Moreover, online shoppers are choosing boutique one-stop shopping sites over the Web’s traditional e-commerce giants. Why? Because, in doing so, they can support entrepreneurs while taking advantage of wholesale prices and dropship bargains.

What can you find at these one-stop shopping online stores? Just about everything. These sites typically have everything from jewelry, electronics, and leather goods to automotive parts, supplies for pets, and toys. And, just like the mega sites, they have brand names in virtually every category imaginable.

You might, for example, find a Magnavox widescreen LCD TV with an integrated DVD player as well as Britney Spears’ latest fragrance. You could find novelty items from your favorite sports team along with Olympus digital cameras. Or, you could shop for the latest Xbox 360 game along with a gorgeous pair of designer earrings.

Online Buying Tips

How do you choose which online store to patronize? When I’m looking for a site, I first look for selection and brand names. Unless I’m looking for a rare item, I always go for the online store that has at least 5,000 items in stock. Next, I look for organization. I like to shop at sites that organize their items by easy-to-find categories. I don’t want pet supplies to pop up when I’m looking for jewelry, or to search for personal electronics and have outdoor furniture appear in my search results.

I’m also a big fan of sites that dropship. When my items come directly from the manufacturer, I find that they arrive faster and in better condition. Plus, since the site doesn’t have to worry about stocking inventory, the owners tend to pay more attention to customer service.

Since I’m somewhat of a privacy nut, I prefer to shop on sites that don’t sell or disclose my personal information to third parties (other than the shipper) without first giving me the opportunity to prevent my information from being shared.

Security is also extremely important to me, especially since I’m sharing sensitive information like my credit card number. So, before I click, I always make sure the site uses a secure server with encryption technology. If a site accepts PayPal, that’s even better.

If you’ve been stuck in the online mega-store rut, I encourage you to give the smaller one-stop shopping sites a try. You’ll likely receive better service, and have an overall better shopping experience.

The Growing Trend Of Comparing Shopping On Your Mobile Phone

We live in a world where we can do just about anything from a computer; chat with people in other countries, trade stocks, visit exotic locations that would never be seen otherwise; rent DVDs, and of course engage in the growing trend of comparison shopping. The Internet is gaining in popularity at an exponential rate and as adoption for broadband increases, so does the opportunity for consumers to compare prices for products and services as they look for the best deals on the web. Based on a recent ComScore study, 55 percent of Internet users now have broadband access at home; and are more likely to engage in online comparison shopping. Even better is that the majority of US consumers also have a mobile phone; and combined, takes comparison shopping to the next level.

It’s no secret that the Internet is the bargain shopper’s dream comes true. It has been for the last several years. For consumers that are concerned about stretching their dollars, finding the best deals, and getting what they want at rock-bottom prices, then the Internet is the greatest shopping tool to ever exist. Why? Because prices are often much cheaper online than they are at local retailers. The only caveat is that consumers cannot touch and feel the products before the actual purchase; a problem now alleviated with the use of mobile phones delivering the results in voice format.

It’s obvious that online comparison shopping is more efficient than pounding the pavement and searching local retail stores for the best deals and prices. However, consumers today still like to touch and feel products before making that purchase decision; a hard task to do through a computer. The fact is that consumers still enjoy spending their weekends at the mall, conversing with friends and family as they hunt for bargains and touch and feel products before buying them. Until these online comparison websites can provide the entire customer experience from beginning to end, they will never capture the full attention of value conscious consumers.

Is there an alternative?

Yes, introducing Frucall; the first voice-enabled comparison shopping service that allows consumers to compare retail store prices with prices online, directly from their mobile phone. It’s a quick and easy solution that sidelines many of the competitive sites that only offer comparison shopping while online. Better yet, is that consumers can soon purchase products directly from their mobile phone.

The way it works is simple. For consumers who are at a retail store browsing for products; all they have to do is dial a toll free number, enter in the bar code; and wait a few seconds for the results. Not to mention that the service is free so it’s obviously a no brainer.

Comparison shopping using mobile phones is one of the latest trends that have catapulted new business ventures that provide consumers with a one stop shopping experience. Consumers can simply dial a toll-free number from any retail location and compare prices of products and services of any type, style or magnitude. And, most of the time, walk away with a much better deal than they would find elsewhere. It will soon become second nature to most value conscious consumers, so it’s only natural that online comparison shopping using mobile phones will become a huge market for Internet buyers.

The growing trend of voice-enabled comparison shopping is a fascinating concept for value conscious consumers who still like the traditional approach to shopping, yet want to save money. Today, with so many of our daily activities performed with a mobile phone, Frucall provides a unique value proposition and adds to that growing list.

4 Great Reasons To Love On-line Shopping

More and more people are shopping on-line today than ever before, especially with the holidays just around the corner. We’re looking for gifts for our kids, gifts for our family, and gifts for our friends. But is shopping on-line safe? Is our information secure? Is it convenient? For as many of those who are on-line shoppers (and I am a big on-line shopper myself), there are just as many, or more, who don’t or won’t shop on-line. They cite various reasons for their reluctance. Believe me, it can be scary to try new things. So, I have considered the reasons for their fear and apathy and have come up with what I believe are great reasons you gotta love on-line shopping.

1. Security Issues

Many people are worried about putting their personal information out into cyberspace”. Personally, I feel safer on-line. Identity theft actually occurs more in the malls and department stores than on-line according to a recent report on CNN. They report that there are far more opportunities available in a mall.

The truth of the matter is that through the process of encryption, the internet is actually a safe place to shop. Encryption is like coding. The only one who knows what is being coded is the one with the key. Secure socket layers, or SSL, is the protocol that most browsers and web servers use to protect our personal information while it is being transmitted. Keys are created with each transaction and then discarded, with each new transaction producing a new, unique key. There are so many combinations possible with 128-bit, for example, that is has been likened to trying to find one particular grain of sand in the Sahara Desert. You can tell that you are using encryption when you see the padlock symbol on the toolbar. And you should see an s” appear after the http in the address window.

2. Save Money

These days it is a lot easier to save money on the internet. Shipping and handling can get pretty pricey. However, today many of the stores you can shop at on-line are offering some great shipping deals. In some instances, shipping and handling are waived entirely, if you spend a certain amount of money. Many of the book clubs and stores are offering a low fee for S&H, too, when you purchase a specific dollar amount. The price of gas alone is well worth the cost of S&H. And, although the price of gas has come down some, it can still get pretty costly as you run from mall to mall in search of the newest, hottest, gotta have item.

3. Convenience

This one is a biggie for myself. Rather than fight the throng of mad shoppers, I can shop in the comfort of my own home and buy, compare, research anything I want. You can find just about anything on-line, too, no matter how obscure. I also love the fact that I don’t have to beat the traffic to get my shopping done. I don’t have to run from store to store to store to try and purchase the items and gifts I know will please everyone on my holiday list. One stop gift shops are perfect in that you can shop for everyone on your list in one place and still get that special something for each person on your list.

4. Comparison Shopping

There are a number of sites on-line where you can comparison shop and get the best deal. The holidays are about giving. That doesn’t mean you should break the bank in order to do so. Look at sites like,, or to buy at the best prices on-line or even in your area.

There you are. No more reasons not to avail yourself of the convenience and safety of shopping on-line. I hope I have been able to help you become more comfortable in cyber space. You should enjoy your holidays and shopping on-line gives you that extra time to spend with family and good friends. Happy Holidays and Great Wishes to all of you and yours!!

6 Tips For Choosing The Perfect Shopping Cart

OK – Just What Is A Shopping Cart Supposed to Do?
Shopping carts are more commonly used as a way to display physical products, products like televisions, groceries, electronic equipment, clothes, and memorabilia, etc, NOT digital products. Shopping carts make it easy to cross-sell and up-sell your customers once they arrive at your store. Shopping carts typically handle the shipping and handling calculation, taxes and credit card processing. A good shopping cart handles all of these efficiently and securely.

Dynamic Operation
A good shopping cart program also creates dynamic order forms on the fly as the order takes place. The shopping cart should be totally dynamic; meaning it only executes code and retrieves products, images, and product descriptions from your database when your customers request it. During the checkout process it should also calculate shipping/handling and taxes for you.

Real-Time Credit Card Processing
Powerful CGI, PHP, CFM, ASP, etc, scripting, processes commands for you on secure servers when your customers place their orders. Don’t get this confused with credit card processing. What I’m speaking of here is the passing of your customers’ order information from a secure form, to your merchant or payment processor, using one of the scripting languages above. Your payment processor or merchant, like PayPal, 2CheckOut, or Authorize.Net will then process the credit card. If you don’t currently have a merchant or payment processor, and you are going to be selling online, then you NEED one.

You can choose what options you want your customer to see. For instance, you can choose to display a search form on your shopping cart. A search form allows your customers to search your store for items by keyword or product name, etc. You can choose to display options like color, size and quantity, and even adjust the price based on the customer’s selection. These are called options. Your shopping cart should also allow you to upload images of your products as well.

Stand-Alone -vs- Hosted Shopping Carts
However, you CAN purchase standalone shopping cart software or services. The stand alone software, of course, requires skill and expertise to install it on your web host or on your own server. Some of the shopping cart services, although it may not seem like it at first, limit you as to what you can and cannot do. These services are most commonly offered by web hosts as a way to entice you to host your site with them. When using these types of services, remember, you’re locked into using that web host when you opt to use their shopping cart service. Your business is not portable and becomes a part of that web host. Make sure there is a simple export process that allows you to easily download your website and shopping cart if you no longer wish to use their services. In my opinion, the best option is to use a shopping cart that runs from your own website, independent of your web host. Both Prowebware and stand-alone shopping cart applications run from YOUR website, giving you both control and flexibility.

So, Which Is The Right System For You?
Choosing a shopping cart boils down to 4 things:
1 Your Budget – Is FREE your only option or are you
serious about your business?
2 Your Skill-level – Do you have the expertise to
edit & install scripts on your server?
3 Desired Functionality – Want a professional results
oriented system or a display case?
4 Time – Have time to take away from your business to
shape and mold a new program?

Whatever you decide, your cart should also permit you to follow-up with your customers automatically and even instantly auto-subscribe them to your mailing list.

To implement most out-of-the-box applications, you will need to know how to edit PHP, HTML, or ASP code and how to set up a MySQL database on your server for dynamic operation. Then, with some, all you need to know is how to copy/paste some simple code to your existing web pages or the template you’re using. The system should also include some type of easy help or instructions, like an HTML file or contextual help menus that walk you through setting up your new cart.

If either of these fits you, a “Copy/Past” system, or a boxed program, then, why not try one of them today? Try it out and see if the system is right for you.

Mystery Shopping Jobs Are Fun And Rewarding

Part-time and work-at-home opportunities abound on the internet these days. So many households need the flexibility of a self-employed schedule as well as the additional income such efforts can produce. Near the top of this long list of potentially viable employment options are mystery shopping jobs.

Not only do mystery shopping jobs allow flexible scheduling and supplemental income but many find mystery shopping jobs a perfect complement to their already existing passion for shopping and dining out.

Many have referred to mystery shopping jobs as a dream come true. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like to dine out or shop or travel and get paid for it? The right opportunity with a well established company can provide the prospective shopper with several benefits in addition to the extra money.

The goods and services consumed or utilized by a mystery are free. One need only provide the necessary feedback regarding the quality of the merchandise and an outline of the consumer’s experience. So a competent mystery shopper working for a bona fide company can perhaps be said to have one the best part time job.

But, breaking into mystery shopping may not be as easy as one might suspect. The seductive aspects of this type of employment have driven demand for these opportunities through the roof. Typically, one looking for mystery shopping jobs needs to start by subscribing to some type of referral service. This, of course, invariably involves a non-refundable fee. This becomes a challenge for the prospective mystery shopper.

Many of these “services” are shaky and unreliable as they tend to misrepresent their potential for helping a new shopper find jobs. This can be quite frustrating and rookie mystery shoppers should be forewarned before they sign up with any randomly selected service. Try to find out more about the company before you commit to a fee.

Once associated with a decent referral agency your path becomes easier as worthwhile mystery shopping jobs start the come your way. Good and have fun while you earn extra money!