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A Complete Guide To Online Shopping

Posted by A Shopaholic on

Now, cards on the table, I’m in my mid twenties. Which means I’m one of those damn Millennials that is hell bent on destroying all that we as a society hold dear. But don’t be afraid my little Gen X pretties, I don’t bite. (Hello Baby Boomers in the far off distance! Heard you like towels too!).

In fact I have nothing but empathy for the generations that weren't brought up on Facebook, even a bit of dare I say, jealousy? Which is why I thought it practical to write this guide - because what may seem simple to some is quite literally in another language to others.

Now we’ll be using Canningvale as an example, and it is important to note that not every online retailer will have the same setup - so do not expect the same jumping from one shop to another.

Easiest way to start any online shopping? Google. Whether you know the website or not, Google is pretty good at spitting out the most relevant page depending on your search. So open Google, and type in Canningvale, and click the first thing you see.

Congratulations you are now in an online shop! Before you click on anything have a scroll and look around. Some of the features up the top you’ll see are your Canningvale on the right (if you have an account with us and are signed in), Currency selection on the left, and a little below you’ll see Product Categories, Search Bar and Your Shopping Bag. This is the standard for most online shops - the control panel for the customer (you) is up the top, front and centre.

Canningvale Header

Scroll down and you’ll see Our Social Community Live Feeds, or links to the social media pages including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Scroll down further to the very bottom of the page, and you’ll find all the nitty gritty. Contact Us details, Information which includes About, Warranty, Delivery & Returns, Wholesale, FAQ, Stockists and a Sitemap. The text at the very bottom of the website is the copyright, ABN, T&C’s and Privacy Policy.

Canningvale ABN

If you need to know something about the company you’re purchasing from it is at the bottom. Are you skittish about online shopping and nervous about signing away your details and money to what seems like Big Brother? Any official and legit online retailer should have an ABN, Terms & Conditions and a Privacy Policy. They should have them available for the customer to see. Never be afraid to contact the page if you can’t find them.

Before you contact the retailer check the FAQs and Info, more than likely your question will be answered there. When you do contact Customer Service they should have an email and usually a phone number, if you cannot easily find any contact details -  BIG RED WARNING FLAG - it means whoever is controlling the website doesn’t want to be contacted and is probably scamming people.

Canningvale Header Menu

Now if you know what you’re looking for go straight to the Categories, found at both the top and the bottom of Canningvale’s home page. Canningvale’s are sorted easily enough into rooms and function, e.g.: Bathroom, Bedroom, Bath Towels, Sheet Sets. The categories themselves are very self-explanatory.

If you’re ever having trouble or just have zero clue as to what is going on, our website has a handy little feature that personally I think should be a requirement of all retail sites. The Chat feature, during business hours from 9am to 5.30pm you can speak to a real person, can be found in bold red letters at the very top of our website, 'Live chat now', clicking it will open a box, enter your name and email then start chatting!

Canningvale Live Chat Link

Complete and utter honesty - Canningvale is El Capitano Customer Service. Customer Service people are there to serve you - the customer. They are paid to be patient and understanding. They know navigating the internet can be a frustrating experience, so don’t be afraid to take your time and ask as many questions as you like. Got a problem, open a chat, come say hi!

Now as I said earlier we here at Canningvale get that online shopping is not something you just know how to do. This is why we have a help line. And I worked for an online company previously that deleted their phone number off the website, so I’m aware that there is a push to do everything online with or without consumers giving the “okay”. You can definitely call us and while, yes, most of the time we’ll need you to send a follow up email or we’ll have to send you one, there are in fact people sitting behind the computers, not A.I. An A.I controlling a luxury towel and sheet website. Yeah, okay.

Now once you’ve found that little something you just absolutely cannot live without, select the size and colour then click “ADD TO CART”. You’ll get a pop-up asking if you want to “PROCEED TO CHECKOUT”, “CONTINUE SHOPPING” or “VIEW OR EDIT YOUR CART”. If you have a voucher or discount code you need to click View or Edit Your Cart. No code? Proceed to Checkout. Want to buy more things and stuff? Continue Shopping.

Let’s say you’re done shopping and want to pay. You’ve clicked Proceed to Checkout. If you have an account it’ll ask you to sign in, if you don’t have an account you can either Checkout as a Guest or Create an Account. Checking out as a guest is a feature some, but not all, online retailers offer. If you are planning on purchasing on more than one occasion from a particular retailer - it'll be faster to create an account, as you can save your delivery and contact details. Not to mention I have account with quite a few online shops that reward their constantly returning customers with special ‘Members Only’ discounts and even birthday presents.

Side note: the few times I couldn’t be bothered to create an account for whatever reason, I'd go back to check on the status of my order - at which point it would ask me to sign in - and being a guest I couldn't, which meant I was blindly waiting for a magical fairy to update my order. Learnt my lesson - make an account. It’ll save you a hassle down the track.

The checkout will ask you for your shipping details, below is the only thing you ever need to enter, ever.

  • Full name
  • Country
  • State
  • Suburb
  • Post code
  • Street name
  • House number
  • (optional) Phone number
  • Email

Don’t expect that there is any level of assumed knowledge on the driver’s part, the warehouse or the order processing team when it comes to your address. If your house is at the east end of St Georges Terrace, and that is what everyone says when they say your address, do not put St Georges Terrace East. If your address is Wels Street in West Perth, but you know it borders the suburb of Deepdene, do not put more than one suburb. You are adding minor details that Joe the delivery driver will either flat out ignore, in which case why bother adding them in the first place, or worst case scenario and the more common outcome unfortunately, Joe will not be able to deliver. Because he’ll input it into his GPS and nothing will come up, or something will come up but it’ll be St Georges East Terrace, on the other side of town. Joe is not your neighbour and he has no idea where St Georges Terrace is - even if you have a regular delivery or postman who knows the area and the street, you may not get him. Or it’ll be a different courier company. Don’t assume your common knowledge is the same as someone else’s.

Now any good online retailer will give you access to tracking details once your order has been shipped. I definitely know some shysters who charge extra for tracking, which arguably they shouldn’t really do even for international orders. It is in both the retailer and the customer’s best interest to have tracking details, the online retailer can say “We’ve sent the goods, look here is the tracking.” And the customer can say “According to my tracking a card was left at my door.” In both cases the responsibility is now on the courier to deliver the goods. Most retailers will be helpful either way, though some have no obligation to once they’ve sent the goods and they have proof of it.

Once your order hits delivery time, and you’ve been sent the little delivery update, you should have three key pieces of information.

Order Number - e.g. 400018592

Tracking Number - e.g. CPAWX8C1027411

Carrier - e.g. Couriers Please

You can Google most courier companies and on the first page there will be an option to enter a tracking number and track your delivery.

For example:

So click away shopaholics! (you've been doing it for years offline anyways, the only difference now is you don't have to deal with blaring music, annoying crowds, apathetic 16 year old retail chicks and finding a damn park.)

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