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Online vs High Street Shopping

by Simon Ellson

Like most of us I appreciate, or rather expect, good customer service when I’m buying or deciding whether to buy something. If I’m going to part with my hard-earned cash I want good service and if I also receive a service which is above and beyond, I’m more likely to go back to the same supplier.

Over the weekend I was pondering that customer service has come full circle in a lot of ways and how online retail gives companies the opportunity to offer good old fashioned customer service; It was during Edwardian times that shopping came of age. The customer service and customer experience was second to none. Shopping was an experience to be enjoyed as well as a means to furnish oneself with the latest offerings as well as one’s daily needs. Fast forward to the supermarkets of the 1970’s and whilst certainly convenient and efficient, supermarket shopping often meant the personalised service of the Edwardian era was a distant memory. With the advent of the internet and online shopping, retailers again have the opportunity to show that they understand their customers’ shopping habits, purchase history and preferences. Online retail, done well, can leave consumers with a warm-feeling, that their likes have been accounted for, that they’ve been offered complimentary items to their online purchase and kept informed of goods and services they might want to look at in the future. All this without feeling pressured to buy, just reassured that their chosen outlet understands them. A bit like an Edwardian shopping experience.

But as with regular high street shopping, where one is careful when entering credit care PIN numbers, careful not to leave a purse or wallet unguarded or a mobile phone within easy reach of a pick-pocket, the same considerations have to be applied online:

1. Be smart with your passwords – Use a strong password for each online account you have and update your passwords regularly. Strong passwords contain a mixture of numbers, symbols, and letters in upper and lower case, such as “m&yD0y”. It doesn’t need to be a real word – just something that you’ll remember. Don’t choose the obvious and be creative.

2. Organise your online shopping – Set up an email account specifically to deal with online shopping. Provide as little information as possible to get the account set-up and don’t use it for anything else such as online banking, business correspondence or family matters. It is also useful to keep a credit card, with a low credit limit, just for online purchases.

3. Check that your antivirus software is up-to-date? Cybercriminals continue to be sophisticated and they’ll take advantage on any social trend to spread malware and steal your personal details. Security software from a recognised name such as Norton is the best and safest option when it comes to stopping malicious software installing on your PC.