Placing Orders through the Website
One of the most popular options for placing orders when online shopping is to place the orders directly through the online retailer’s website. In most cases online retailers offer the ability to add items to a virtual shopping cart while browsing through the available items offered for sale. After the consumer is done shopping he can review the contents of his shopping cart and add, subtract or modify the contents of the shopping cart as necessary before proceeding to the checkout process of the online shopping experience. During the checkout process the consumer provides information such as credit card information and billing address as well as the address to which the consumer would like the items shipped. The online shopper can choose to have the item shipped to himself or to others. Although shopping online is generally considered to be safe, consumers should verify the website is being made through a secure server which will protect sensitive information. One way to do this is to look at the website address. Secure websites start with https:// while websites which are not secure start with http://.
Calling Customer Service to Place an Order
Online shoppers may browse for items online but may decide to purchase items by calling a customer service representative instead of placing the order online. Customers may choose this option for a number of different reasons. Some online retailers may not have an option for completing the purchase online or these features may not be functioning correctly and in these cases the shopper will likely place the order over the phone. However, there are situations in which a consumer may opt to call customer service to place the order even when it is possible to do so online. This may include situations in which the order is particularly complex or situations in which the consumer has questions he would like answered before placing an order. Online shoppers who make a purchase this way should have all of the necessary information available before contacting customer service. This information includes the product number, billing information and shipping information.
Faxing or Mailing Orders
Online shoppers can also place orders by faxing or mailing the order to the online retailer. The consumer may browse for items online and even print the order form from the online retailer’s website. Although this is not the most common method of online shopping there are some consumers who still use this method. One of the examples to using this method is the ability to pay for an order with a check instead of a credit card. A credit card will likely be required for orders placed online or with a customer service representative. Customers who fax or mail an order form may have the option of using a credit card to pay for the order but may also have the option of using a check as well. This is ideal for online shoppers who either do not have a credit card or do not want to charge items to a credit card. Although there are some advantages to this method of placing an order from an online retailer there is one major disadvantage to this method. This disadvantage is the order may take longer to process than it would through other methods. When a customer places an order through a website or on the phone the order is typically processed instantly. However, when the consumer mails the order form it may take a few days to arrive and then may require extra time for processing. Even orders which are faxed in may not be processed immediately despite arriving quickly.