What To look for When Shopping on The Internet
Customer Experience Analytics
See if you can find some customer experience analytics on the company. These are also known as CEAs. They are reports that have been created by an outside company using statistics, data modeling, and other forms of research to determine customer satisfaction and company productivity. If you can find one of these reports, you can learn a lot about the place you are considering doing business with.
Customer Feedback from Social Media
Utilize social media to get some answers. See if they have a Facebook page that has comments on it. Check for reviews on other websites similar to YellowPages.com that allow customers to leave their feedback. Even a quick Google search for customer feedback from social media could lead you to some very useful information regarding the experience real customers have had doing business with that particular company. Just make sure that you find enough reviews to see patterns. If there are only a few and they don't seem to match, they may have been garnered for business. Also, if there is one or two out of many that are negative, it was probably an isolated incident that led to the bad review.
Check out the business background. Find out what their roots are, where they come from, and what inspired the start of the store. Sometimes, they have it directly on their website or on a Wikipedia page. This can help you to feel more comfortable if you know that they have been around for quite some time or have another reputable foot in the door.
Shipping and Return Policies
Finally, take a look at some of their policies, such as shipping and return. An honest company who has faith in their products will have a decent return policy. Of course, there are certain items that cannot be returned, but an "All Sales are Final" policy can send off some red flags. It means they are more concerned with the initial sale as opposed to returning customers. If the company even offers to pay for shipping on return items, that is a great signal to go ahead.