One of the best things about the internet is how easy it is to shop online. From the comfort of your home, you can buy from your favourite stores, with your shopping delivered directly to your front door. There’s no trudging the high street or waiting in queues, and it’s easy to discover a bargain.
Many online stores offer next day delivery, with a few even able to deliver the same day. Getting started is simple and secure – we show you how.
Set up an online shopping account
Before you buy from most online shops, you’ll need to create a customer account with them. This involves making a username – usually your email address – and choosing a password. Go to the website (such as amazon.co.uk) and click either Create account or Register.
Follow the instructions to create an account. When you visit the website again, you can click Sign in and enter your username and password. You’ll need to enter your contact details, delivery address and the details of the credit or debit card you wish to pay with.
The online store saves this information securely, so the next time you visit the website, it remembers who you are.
Checkout and paying
Most online shops use virtual shopping baskets. When you see an item you want to buy, click the button that says Add to basket (or similar). You can carry on shopping, or click View your basket to delete items or change quantities.
When you’ve finished shopping, click the Proceed to Checkout button (or similar). You should be given the chance to check details of your chosen items before placing the order.
You can also select delivery details. Standard delivery for most online stores is typically three to five working days. Many offer faster delivery options for an extra charge.
You’ll now see a confirmation page with details of what you’ve just bought and an order number. Keep a note of this until your goods arrive. A confirmation receipt will be emailed to you.
Returning an item
You can cancel an online order as long as you do so within 14 working days of your goods arriving. You then have another 14 days to return the unused item. Some retailers, such as John Lewis or M&S, offer even more generous windows for returns.
Getting a refund
To get a refund, you’ll need to return the item to the seller. You can either return items to one of the retailer’s physical stores or by post or courier service. The retailer will list the return methods on its website, normally under the Returns & Refunds section.
For more detailed advice on your rights as an online shopper, visit our Which? Consumer Rights hub.