Want to know the best hacks for shopping online? This guide to buying sleep products online will help you out.
Secure online shopping
The first rule of online shopping for any type of product is to make sure the website you are buying from is legitimate and secure. Look for the padlock next to the URL up the top of your browser, and look for https instead of just http in the URL. If it is not a company that you have heard of before, try to find out about the company first. Have a look at the company’s social media profiles. The company’s Facebook page or Google MyBusiness profile might have a review section that will help you find out about other customers’ terrific or horrific experiences. But don’t worry about one bad review in an ocean of good ones. If you are not convinced they are an absolutely legitimate and truly marvellous company try to contact them with a question about the product or shipping. If they don’t respond to you before you hand over your money, imagine what fun it would be trying to get a refund out of them. Personal recommendations for online sites are great because they give you an extra level of confidence. If you can’t get recommendations from your friends, then look online on forums or groups.
Buying sleep products online
Online shopping is a virtual smorgasbord filled with great lighting and excellent editing. This is why its important to read the product description as well as look at the pretty photos. Don’t have time for reading? Then at least skim through and look for the juicy bits. Find the details or dimensions! Something might look huge in the pictures but don’t assume anything. Check the measurements in the product description.
This is especially relevant for clothes and pyjamas. Know your own measurements and check them against the garment measurements. When buying bedding or cot linen make sure you take the thickness of your mattress into account, especially when it comes to fitted sheets. Also, have a look at the materials it’s made from. The material can mean the difference between a luxurious silk eye mask and a free gift from an airline. If you are not sure about the product try searching <product name> review.
If it is a consumable product, always check the ingredients. Even if you know nothing about the ingredients, just the fact that they list the ingredients in an easy to find place is a good sign. Also, you may wish to check the country of manufacture and any ethical, organic, sustainable certifications that are important to you. Again, just the fact that they are open, and show these things is a big tick.
Have a close look at the postage costs and shipping times stated on the store website. Make sure your purchase will arrive when you need it, especially if you are buying a sleep gift for someone. Some sites will also offer free or cheap gift wrapping which is a lovely added bonus. Often stores will have a convenient option to send a gift straight to the recipient’s address. This option should not include an invoice with prices. If they don’t mention it during the check out, feel free to ask. Most companies will be happy to help you out with this.
A lot of sites will have a special offer for your first purchase, so keep a look out for pop ups with special offers. Another fabulous way to find out about specials and new products is to sign up to the company’s email list and follow them on social media. Companies often reward their followers with special deals so it’s a great way to save a few bucks.
Paying for sleep products online
Buying products online is exhilarating! To protect your money only use secure websites and check out the store’s returns policy. If you can’t find their return policy, don’t be afraid to ask. If the product is faulty you can expect the company to refund you or send a new product but if you change your mind or it doesn’t fit, it’s up to the company how they respond. Services like Paypal or Afterpay are great options because they offer you an extra level of buyer protection in case something goes wrong with the purchase. Your credit card provider may also offer some sort of buyer protection but you would have to check with them first. Try to only use direct deposit with companies you trust completely.
When you have made your purchase, most sites will send a confirmation email straight away. If you don’t get an email straight away take a screen shot of the purchase confirmation page and save it. This applies to second hand things, even more so. Always take a screen shot of the description because it may not be there or may be changed by the time you get your product.
If you want to check you are getting the best price for a product online try searching it on Google and look at the shopping tab. There are also sites that offer comparisons of prices for the same products from different websites. These can usually be found by simply searching ‘buy <product name> online’. These results are a handy guide but always click through to the actual store to make sure the price is correct, the item is in stock, and the postage price is reasonable. A lot of online stores also sell through Ebay as well, making Ebay a great comparison tool to see prices and make sure you are getting value for money. searching Amazon is another great way to compare prices. But beware of imitation products, they are usually cheaper because they are inferior in some way. Sometimes you can search online for coupon codes for the company you are buying from to save a little money – however, beware of this as it can be a waste of time.
Shopping overseas sites online
Being able to shop overseas is one of the best aspects of the internet! It can reveal amazing products and prices you never knew existed. But there are a couple of extra factors to consider when buying from overseas. Shipping. Shipping. Shipping. That mattress in the U.S. might be super cheap but that’s not going to be any use when you have to sell your house to pay for shipping. Check shipping times on the site too, to make sure you will get your product when you need it. Also, remember that Australian Consumer Laws may not apply to your purchase and it might be hard to get help if something goes wrong with your purchase.
Some overseas websites will show amounts in Australian dollars and others will show amounts in their local currency. You can easily check how much the total will be in Australian dollars with a conversion site like this one. There may also be fees and charges from your bank if you make credit card purchases in a different currency so check with your bank first, usually the charge is minimal.
If you are buying clothing its super important to check the measurements when shopping overseas. Other countries’ sizes can be completely different to Australian sizes so be sure you know what you are getting. If you are buying an electrical item check if they have a power plug that will work in Australia. If they don’t you can buy adapters online or in any travel shop, just know to factor it into the cost of your purchase. Safety standards also vary from country to country. If you are buying something like a cot, ensure it meets Australian safety standards.
Medical sleep aids
Proper sleep is an essential part of good health and lack of sleep is a serious medical issue. Sleep products range from making you comfortable, like fine linen, to actual medical devices like a CPAP machine. If you think sleep deprivation is a problem for you then go and see your GP or a sleep clinic. Sleep disorders and their treatments vary widely so find out what you need from a professional or you could lose a lot of time, money and sanity buying random sleep products. If in doubt – seek help. Check with your doctor before taking sleep supplements, even herbal supplements. Don’t buy medical devices such as anti-snoring devices second hand, its too hard to check if they are safe and reliable, even if you could clean them properly.
Second hand sleep products
There are so many benefits to buying second hand! It’s cheaper and can be more environmentally friendly. There are plenty of fabulous second hand sites online such as Ebay, Gumtree and Trading Post. Facebook also has an online marketplace which produces some great local finds. Not all things on these sites are second hand. Also, not all second hand things are offered at a reasonable price. Before you cough up your dough, do a quick Google search (choose the shopping tab) to find out how much the product you are considering actually costs new.
As a general rule, if it cannot be cleaned properly, don’t buy it second hand. For instance blue light blocking glasses can be thoroughly cleaned, but a pillow might not be able to be cleaned properly and you don’t want someone else’s germs on your face – Ew! Also check that you are getting what you expected. Companies often update products as problems are found or new technology comes to light. You might not need the latest model, but if you are getting an older model make sure you don’t pay as much for it. Also, be careful of changing safety standards when buying things second hand, especially baby products.
When buying second hand, check the seller’s history and feedback if possible. If they are local, pay cash when you get the item and if they are posting the product try to pay with Paypal to protect yourself if something goes wrong or the product doesn’t show up.
And there you have it! Now go forth and shop…