Man shopping on his phone
Man shopping on his phone

5 tips for shopping smartly on social media

Tempted by the ads on social media? Make sure you’re shopping wisely, says Vicky Shaw.

Vicky Shaw
Monday 08 March 2021 10:00

Shopping via social media sites can be a quick and easy way to snap things up online – and there are so many ads that pop up these days, not to mention influencers, the temptation is all around.

And it’s not just younger generations who are embracing this way of shopping. One in 10 (10%) over-55s have shopped using social media, according to a survey by Visa of 2,000 consumers across the UK. Plus, nearly a quarter (24%) of this age group say they plan to make purchase via social media in the future.

Clothing and homeware are among most popular social media shopping purchases, the research found.

Woman shopping on social media

As with any type of shopping however, you’ll want to make sure you’re parting with your money in a safe and secure way.

Tempted to shop on social media? Here are five top tips from Visa UK&I managing director, Jeni Mundy, to help keep social media shopping safe and secure…

1. Do your research to find the best deal

With time-limited offers and online-only sales, ‘swipe up’ shopping is often faster paced than shopping in store. So check other websites, use price comparison websites, and scout around for email sign-up offers to get the best price.

2. Take a moment before you pay

Being able to purchase with only a few clicks or taps is convenient, but it can also make us feel less accountable for our actions. To help prevent purchase regret, pause or step away from the app for at least a few minutes (maybe even days, if you’re trying to be careful with your spending habits) before you buy. This acts as a ‘circuit breaker’ to allow you to assess if you really need or want to make the purchase.

3. Check the influencers promoting products

Influencers help to spread the word about a product and can help you imagine how it might look on you, or in your home. Check the caption to see if there’s any reference to an ad or sponsorship in the post, which means the promotion is a paid collaboration with a brand.

4. Be scam-aware

You should always remain cautious of potential scams. More than a third (35%) of people surveyed aged 55-plus who do not shop on social media said they are put off from doing so because they are worried about fraud.

Remember to research the website or company and check that the name of the webpage does not contain spelling errors or strange characters (tell-tale signs of scams). Read independent reviews to check how other people’s experience was with the seller.

5. Paying by credit card could give you added protections

Shoppers may have protections under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if something goes wrong. Visa also has a ‘zero liability’ policy on its cards, which provides a guarantee that its customers won’t be held responsible for unauthorised or fraudulent charges.

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