6 Ways to Identify A Legitimate Online Business

Who isn’t shopping online in this era? Probably not everyone is but online shopping is the “new normal”, especially with the advancement of technology and easy access to the internet. Online shopping has become quite popular as it has a couple of advantages with fast and convenience at the top of the list. I mean, all you have to do is wake up at the press of your doorbell to receive your package. Who doesn’t want that?   Online shopping has been enabled by the use of websites and social media pages including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn just to mention a few. Some of the most popular shopping websites in Kenya include: https://www.jumia.co.ke, https://jiji.co.ke/, https://www.kilimall.co.ke/new/, https://www.masoko.com/, https://sky.garden/home, https://copia.co.ke/shop/, and https://shopit.co.ke/.   According to ‘consumer perceptions and behavior towards brands’ research done by a Madrid-based agency in May-June 2022 with 14,200 consumers, showed that 85% of them are regular online shoppers. The number of online shoppers and shopping apps keeps on increasing as the number of smartphone users keeps on increasing daily. It’s good to note that 75% of online shopping website traffic comes from smartphones.   Some of the top-selling online products in Kenya include:  
  1. Mobile phones.
  2. Clothing.
  3. Beauty and personal care.
  4. Game consoles.
  5. Books and School supplies.
  6. Electronics and appliances.
  7. Food & Beverages.
  So why do people shop online?  
    1. Convenience – Online shopping allows consumers to shop anywhere at any given time as long as they’re connected to the internet.
    2. Better Prices – The shoppers can shop directly from the businesses hence minimizing the cost of using middlemen. The shoppers can also compare prices with other online stores and work with the best deal for their pockets.
    3. Saves time & money – You don’t need to waste time visiting physical stores to make purchases. Businesses have plenty of discounts which consumers can take advantage of.
    4. Variety – Online shopping gives you a wide range of variety to choose from. The consumer has the option of choosing from a variety of businesses to decide on their most preferred product without having to go physically to the stores. In some cases, the return policy is open which makes motivates the consumer to shop.
    5. Shopping for others – Online shopping has made it easy for people to shop for others with much ease. You can send your loved ones’ gifts or cards easily by purchasing and mailing them to their home addresses.
    6. Reviews from other customers – It’s easier to shop when you can see the reviews of other people who used the product you want to purchase. From the reviews, you can gain enough insights before reaching the final decision.
  On the other hand, online shopping comes with its disadvantages including: delayed delivery time, not being sure what you’re getting, spending too much time online, less human contact, lack of support for local businesses, wrong packaging and the risk of fraud/scam.   Online scammers set up fake websites, mobile apps and social media pages pretending to be legitimate businesses who end up conning people who shop from them. Online scamming has been on the rise considering that at least 42% of the Kenyan population has internet access.   How do I avoid getting scammed online?
  1. Price – In most cases when the price is too good to be true you’re most likely going to be scammed. Before making any purchase, double-check with other businesses selling the same product.
  2. Online reviews – Make sure to search for the online reviews of the website/page you’d like to purchase from. The reviews give you all the information you need to know about the business and products. The comments on the posts can also provide this information.
  3. Business details & Information – If the business you intend to purchase from lacks basic information like phone number and email address or has very little unhelpful information, you need to be alarmed. A legitimate online business will provide all the helpful information needed by its customers.
  4. Unavailable contact Info – If the contact given is unavailable/unreachable or a wrong physical address is given, be very careful. Legitimate businesses always give correct information about their businesses.
  5. Unclear brand identity – Make sure to check the brand’s identity, if it’s not clear from the word go what the business is about then you’re most likely dealing with a fraudster business. You should be able to tell what the business is about.
  6. Transparent prices – Legitimate businesses offer transparent prices and you, therefore, don’t need to ask for their prices, and in cases where the prices are asked publicly the answer is always open and not responded to privately.
As a frequent internet user, you need to be more vigilant about what you’re doing online. Scammers pick on vulnerable people to take advantage of.
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