1. Always save copies of your orders and receipts from online purchases. Many stores will redirect one to a page after you've submitted an order detailing everything that was bought, customer information, the prices, etc. You should either print a duplicate of this or save a copy to your computer in case any issues arise before the end of the return period. Make sure to save any emails about your items' status or correspondence with the company regarding your orders, too.
2. If you think that you will be making a lot of online purchases down the road, consider trying to get a separate credit card to use just for these transactions. It is much easier to track all transactions when they are the only items listed on this card's transaction records. Additionally, you don't need to worry about your own funds being compromised, even temporarily, if you are a victim of fraud.
3. When a company includes a newsletter, sign up. Often, companies will give sneak peeks, deals and online coupons to people on their own mailing list. However, be careful. You don't want to sign up for every company's newsletter or you'll soon be buried under endless emails. Only sign up for a company's newsletter should you really like their products and would use a discount code.
4. Before buying from the new online retailer, do your homework on them. Check online reviews from other customers to see the way it handles things like customer service, shipping, and its overall buying experience. You can also check the BBB to find out if it has any disputes and whether those disputes were resolved professionally. Try contacting the company via email and phone number, if it's posted to ask questions on its business before you buy anything.
5. When shopping online, always try to keep in mind the cost of shipping. Many sites offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount. In the event that you have to pay shipping, make sure that it is going to match your budget after you've added everything in your cart. Having a full cart only to find out you cannot afford the shipping is never an enjoyable experience.