If there is anything we’ve learned from the recent pandemic, it’s that many things that we once did in person can be just as easily handled online. Whereas many of us were used to shopping for groceries in person, the pandemic forced us to utilize delivery services, or simply turn to curbside pickups. For that matter, many also found that in the midst of a pandemic, the online shopping that we got used to no longer worked as it once did. You were probably already ordering a lot of clothes, luxuries, and gifts online, from super-websites like Amazon or even sites for small business owners and creators like Etsy. Nonetheless, as we transition into a new normal that is more reliant on online shopping than ever, it’s important for us to remember that online shopping is not foolproof. While in many ways it’s more convenient, in others it’s actually much trickier than it would be for you to make the effort, and perhaps drive a little further, to pick something up in person. For that matter, some items so are so individualized that they cannot be effectively purchased online.
Perhaps one of the most crucial things to remember when buying items online is that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. While you can often get great deals by shopping wholesale, many shoppers in need of a good price have fallen prey to websites trafficking in scams. Even more reputable websites often have terms and conditions that are less than ideal for shoppers. It’s often difficult to keep up with what you’re agreeing with when you buy something online, especially when you’re more concerned with the price than the fine print. But many online stores have strict requirements regarding returns, and for that matter require shoppers to jump through hoops for refunds even when the items arrive broken or get lost in the mail. For that matter, not all deals and coupons are usable online. Considering the fact that the 2.9 billion coupons redeemed in 2012 saved consumers about $800 million, that’s a major factor to consider. While leaving the house, particularly in a post-pandemic world, might seem like a tall order for simply groceries, there are plenty of reasons why you should do so for other items on your shopping list. There are simply some things you shouldn’t buy online, regardless of how much you may want to. Let’s look into what you can and should buy online, and what you should buy in person.
Buy Online: Cleaning Products
The fact is that prior to the pandemic, a lot of us simply didn’t pay as much attention to cleaning as we probably should have. It was easy to simply ensure that your home looked clean. Doing the work to ensure that it was cleaned in a deeper manner simply wasn’t a priority for a lot of shoppers. All of that has changed since COVID-19 became a major news story. This is why you’ll probably notice that a lot of household cleaning products commonly found in the grocery stores are still nowhere to be found on many shelves. Cleaning products, toilet paper, and bottled water were among the many basics that people stocked up on after the pandemic became a major issue. Many people bought these items with the precise purpose of re-selling them on the black market, usually at a major mark-up. While you may be tempted to either skip out on these products or even buy them from a re-seller in person, you can usually find them online.
There are a number of reasons why buying bathroom counter top cleaners and other household cleaning products online is worth it. For one thing, you can often buy them in greater quantities online than you can in person, allowing you to stock up when you wish. For another, of course, a lot of these items simply aren’t available in person at this time. Why go to the grocery store and waste your time looking for products that likely won’t be there? The same can be said for a lot of items at the grocery store, of course, but cleaning products are running particularly low at this time. With that being said, keep in mind when shopping for cleaning products that you must buy them from a reputable source; either a major online store or the product’s website directly. The last thing you want is to risk buying a homemade cleaning product made from chemicals that you can’t trust. Therefore, while you might initially be worried that these products are among the things you shouldn’t buy online, that’s not the case. You simply need to be careful about where you source them.
Buy In Person: Major Home Additions
The last thing you want is to spend a large amount of money on products that you end up being dissatisfied with. While a lot of people have more recently attempted to shop for major home additions online, many homeowners have found that it’s just not worth it. After all, it’s not easy to return furnaces after you buy them online ahead of time. This is why a number of people still consult with the experts before making any major purchases for the home. However, those experts can’t make product recommendations without first seeing your home and what you’re equipped with. These types of products are among things you shouldn’t buy online not only because they’re so expensive and difficult to return, but because you probably aren’t educated enough as a consumer to make the call about whether or not you’re making the right purchase.
Of course, this extends beyond products that you buy for the practical side of your home. A lot of people attempt to buy luxuries online as well. While you can buy jacuzzis online in theory, in reality, these types of products can often be much more complex than they might seem. You’re much better off going to a store or warehouse and shopping person. This way, you can see the dimensions and qualities in person. While these may be among the things you shouldn’t buy online, they’re actually quite accessible for those looking to buy them in person thanks to helpful salespeople and, for that matter, installation experts. When you buy these types of products online, they’ll often be shipped to you as is. When you buy them from a reputable source in person, you can often package in the installation process. Therefore, whether you’re buying something to add to your home’s heating and cooling system or something a bit more fun for the house, you need to make the effort to shop in person.
Buy Online: Electronics
If you aren’t buying your electronics online right now, you should probably think about buying them online now. A lot of people are still wary about taking electronic products off their “things you shouldn’t buy online” list. This is because many of them still sell at a premium, and for a number of reasons you might be nervous about spending a lot of money on a product you can’t see in person. But whether you’re buying a computer or a video game, its stats will likely be easy to access online. For that matter, you can often find the most competitive pricing for major purchases like entertainment systems online. Big tech superstores often rely on in-person shoppers making impulse purchases, which means that their pricing will often be higher in store than it would be online. At the very minimum, when you buy these products in person you may be so excited that you forget to double-check for coupons.
Of course, if you’re worried that there might be a chance that you might want to return a product, you’ll want to be sure about where you’re buying from. Major retailers usually have lenient return policies, particularly for electronics, because they know that many of these products are given as gifts. With that being said, this is a major reason why you don’t want to buy these products secondhand, even if they’re certified as new or refurbished. You simply can’t be sure about whether or not you’re really getting what you think you’re getting when you buy a product secondhand; this is why, when it comes to major purchases, anything sold secondhand should be on the list of things you shouldn’t buy online. Many people also find that having the peace of mind of knowing that they can get a replacement if their product arrives damaged in the mail is worth the extra money spent.
Buy In Person: Cars
You may very well notice a number of ads for car dealers that offer online sales, but you shouldn’t fall into that trap. There are a lot of reasons why you should buy a car in person. Most importantly, unless you’re buying a car brand new, you’re purchasing a specific individual item, versus one-off of a manufacturer’s line. Most people do not buy cars brand new, in part because new vehicles begin losing value as soon as they leave the lot. This is why it’s crucial for you to shop for used trucks or cars to be test driven before you commit to buying them. One of the major reasons why people choose to buy products online is that they know that they’re getting, and can simply have it delivered directly to them without care. With cars, you really don’t know what you’re getting until you see the car itself. A car is perhaps one of the most crucial things you shouldn’t buy online.
Remember that a car is not a small purchase. You’ll most likely need to finance it, which is another reason why you should count cars among things you shouldn’t buy online. When you go to a car dealership in person, you can make a better argument for yourself as a good bet for financing. You’ll be more than a piece of paper, and for that matter, you’ll be able to make your own terms clearer. It’s also important to remember that not every dealership is as reputable as they should be. They may claim, in-person and online, that a car is one thing. But if you do your research you should be able to recognize a good car for what it is in person. You simply can’t do that online, no matter how much work you do to prepare for purchasing ahead of time.
Buy Online: Home Security
If you’re worried about your home’s security, the best thing you can do is add on a security solutions system. This could include security cameras, or perhaps alarms. But either way, you don’t have to shop for these products in person. While in the past security systems may have counted among things you shouldn’t buy online, this is fortunately no longer the case. If you’re considering simply installing some cameras, you may very well be able to do so on your own. New additions to the repertoire like the Ring app have made it easier than ever for people to enhance their own security systems.
On the other hand, more complex security systems may still need to be installed by professionals. However, they do not need to be bought in person. You can easily make the order online and have the product installed by the pros. This way, you can be sure about the product you’re investing in. While you may consider security systems as one of many things you shouldn’t buy online, in this day and age they’re much more accessible than they once were.
Clearly, there are some things you shouldn’t buy online; but there are other things that you not only can buy online, but really should both for safety reasons, and financial reasons. You should take advantage of the ability to shop online, at least within reason. But don’t assume that every supposed deal you see online is exactly what you think it is, and do your research before buying.