Ready, Set, Click!
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By Mandy Boyle
Advertising Sales Manager/Entertainment Editor

With energy costs rising steadily, it’s no surprise that shoppers across the nation are turning to the internet to satisfy their needs and “must-haves.” In an article published in a July issue of The New York Times, retailers like Gap, JC Penney, and Victoria’s Secret report steady growth in their online sales, indicating a definite shift in the way we traditionally shop.

Just think about it. No lines. No parking worries. No buying gas to make the trip to the mall. Online shopping seems to be the smart way to go in times like these, especially for students.

Most students already buy their textbooks online, as it usually offers a wider selection of goods at a much more affordable price. In addition, online shopping proves especially helpful to students who don’t have a car, or who have limited access to popular big box stores like Target to shop for the back-to-school season.

Even if you’re not a traditional online shopper, it’s something to start looking into. Before you start cruising the net for deals on clothing, computers, textbooks, etc., here’s a few tips on how to be internet shopping savvy:

Tip #1 – Security is Key

When dealing with online retailers, you’ll often find that the only methods of payment are through credit card or PayPal. Seeing that credit card information is extremely sensitive, make sure that you research the site before shopping at it. Another way to make sure that your information is safe is to check with the site to see if it’s using a secure entering system for personal data. This can usually be indicated by an “https://” address in your navigation bar.

Tip # 2 – Coupons Are Your Friend

Just because you don’t have traditional cut outs doesn’t mean that you can’t use coupons on the net. Many major brands include special coupon codes that are sent out in subscriber emails; giving out deals on shipping, free items, or discounts on your purchases. is a great site for finding some of the latest coupon deals. Users simply submit their email codes, or retailers themselves issue out public codes to be used on their site. also has a networking feature, so you can connect with other shoppers in a forum environment.

Tip #3 – Enter the Blog-o-sphere

Blogs are a shopper’s paradise. Dedicated to subjects ranging from technology to pets, blogs have become one of the most influential tools to shoppers. Shopping blogs are springing up all over the net, giving readers product reviews, pricing information, suggestions, and tips in order to simplify your internet shopping experience. Before making a purchase, try checking out a blog for item suggestions and possible retailers. Blogs are also a great way to sniff out scams and unsecure shopping sites.

You have the tips and tools, so now it’s time to use them. If you’re feeling unsure about anything, don’t be afraid to search for it or ask around. Friends, family, business, and forums are all valuable resources when it comes to online shopping. Be sure to read all site terms of service before using, and do your research on a product/retailer before making the buy. You wouldn’t buy a house without seeing it first, so treat online shopping the same way. Ready, set, click!

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