In this day and age, online shopping is the primary retail interaction for millions of people all over the world. In 2020 alone, over two billion people globally shopped online, and sales at online retail stores passed the 4.2 trillion dollar mark.
It’s clear. With everything from groceries to medications delivered to your doorstep, there’s no real need to go to the store.
If you’re an avid online shopper, or if you’re thinking about moving predominantly online, look at these smart tips and tricks. They’ll help make digital shopping an overall better experience.
Take Note of Shipping Times
While most online stores offer specific delivery slots, you can choose on checkout, it’s vital that you take careful note of shipping times.
Some items in your cart may be out of stock, or the store you’re shopping at may wait for stock from their supplier. Pay attention to these shipping times so that you’re aware of how long it will take for your shopping to arrive.
If the item you’re after is out of stock and you need it urgently, look elsewhere. If you have a full cart of items, they might all get delayed because just one item is out of stock.
Look Out for Free Shipping
Everyone loves saving money wherever possible. This has become especially true since the global health crisis shook the world.
Being able to save on shipping is always something of a blessing, so look out for free shipping options wherever possible.
Note free delivery options—many ecommerce sites offer this perk. Sometimes, if you spend a certain amount at an online store, shipping fees are waived. If it’s possible to get everything you need from one store and meet that threshold, then absolutely go for it.
Just be sure not to add to your cart unnecessarily just to qualify for free shipping!
Only Shop at Verified Stores
A major reason that so many people remain hesitant about shopping online has to do with security concerns.
Not putting a face to a purchase is quite daunting for some people, and they don’t trust the system as a result.
Make sure that whenever you buy a product or service, you buy it from a verified source. This will go a long way in helping you to eliminate any security anxieties you have.
At reputable ecommerce sites, all data gets encrypted to ensure the highest possible levels of online security. Only shop at sites that have https:// in their URL. This indicates that the site is secure and your data stays protected.
Read Customer Reviews
The internet has ensured that we all constantly have a wealth of information at our fingertips. It’s easy for us to uncover absolutely anything we need the answers to. This makes it a great resource for finding out more about the sites you’re thinking of purchasing from.
Whenever you come across a new site, do a bit of research and read the reviews about the service they provided in the past.
Did deliveries arrive on time? Were the products supplied up to the standard? Was the customer service team helpful and supportive?
Find out as much as you can about an online store before processing any orders. This will help you make the best possible decision about where to do your shopping.
Familiarize Yourself with The Returns Policy
With brick-and-mortar stores, it’s fairly easy to understand how return policies work. All you need to do is take the item that you’re not happy with back to the store, right? Right.
However, this is not the case online, as there aren’t physical stores to return the items to.
This is why it is vital that you familiarize yourself with the returns policy of the online store you’re shopping at. Especially if you are purchasing clothing and shoes in various sizes, or expensive goods where quality is paramount.
Ecommerce stores don’t always permit returns, and many others charge a fee for extra shipping if you process a return.
Always try to find options with more liberal returns policies. This will ensure that you don’t lose out if you encounter any issues.
Capitalize on Discounts, Freebies and Coupons
The ecommerce world is highly competitive, and sites will go to great lengths to attract and retain customers. For this reason, promotions are hugely popular online, and there are always plenty of stores offering discounts and special deals.
It can take time to sort through all the offers and find the ones that benefit you best. Thankfully, there is now technology that will make sure you never miss out on a deal or saving.
Download a code or coupon scanner app and it will trawl the internet for relevant discounts and coupon codes. The app will then advise you of any discounts or coupon codes, and may even apply them automatically on checkout.
Plenty of sites also offer freebies, whether these are discounts on certain items, credits towards future purchases, or complimentary items. You may need to do something in return, such as fill in a branded survey or questionnaire, share the promotion on social media, or leave a review. However, the rewards are worthwhile.
Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out to Customer Support
Online shopping has become an integral part of everyday life. So much so that customer service and support plays an integral role in the industry. A site that lacks a contact number, email or live chat facility is unheard of these days. AI programs like chatbots have also become popular, and can answer basic queries and provide information.
If something in your order is not up to standard, don’t be afraid to reach out to customer support. Not only will they likely help to rectify the issue, but they might also offer you a voucher or discount coupon for your next purchase.
Just as you would do at brick-and-mortar stores, it’s always a great idea to compare prices of products at different sites to find the best value for money.
There are plenty of sites and apps that will help make this process much easier. Simply search for what you’re looking for, and the app will tell you where it’s available at the cheapest price. Often, even a quick Google search brings up several comparative results. If you have a product SKU code you can refine your search even further.
There’s a bit of an art to online shopping, and these tips are sure to enhance your experience. Be smart when you add to cart—you’ll enjoy better service and your budget will benefit too.
How to get Loan with Bad Credit: 5 Surprising Ways
One of the most important metrics a lender uses before lending money is the borrower’s credit score. Whether you are applying for loans or credit cards, a poor score can lead to rejection. In fact, 21% of Australians were denied credit cards because of a low score.
If you are going to apply for a loan, your credit score will be a major factor in determining whether or not it gets approved.
However, it is not easy to ensure that you have a high score because it requires a combination of money management and a steady cash flow. This makes it important to know some ways to get a loan approval despite a low score. Here’s how you can do that:
1. Broaden your search horizon
Various lenders have different cut-offs for the credit scores they require to grant a loan. Some lenders tend to have a very steep credit score requirement while some can be a bit lenient and have lower requirements.
For people with low credit scores, it is critical to widen their search horizon for lenders. You can’t simply look into the requirements of a couple of lenders because, in all probability, their credit score requirements will be more than what you have. The more lenders you look into, the better your chances will be to find someone who is offering loans for the score that you have.
However, you need to make sure that you look only for reputed and credible lenders like https://www.greatsouthernbank.com.au/ and not fall for shady organizations.
2. Have a conversation with your lender
Your bad credit score can be a thing of the past. You might be in a better position financially now than you were sometime back. Your income can be more stable or your salary higher.
Whatever the case, if there is improvement in your finances, you need to provide proof of it to the lender you are approaching. If the improvement is genuine and sustainable, there is a better chance of your loan getting approved despite a low credit score.
You can even have a discussion with your previous banker from whom you had borrowed a loan as they can arrange for better financial terms for your loan even with a low credit score.
3. Opt for secured loans
Unsecured loans like personal loans and credit card loans are the hardest to get with a low credit score. There is a high chance that your request for an unsecured loan will get rejected.
On the other hand, lenders are much more likely to approve a secured loan. When there is enough collateral attached to a loan, the lenders would not mind a low credit score as they can make up the money if it isn’t paid back. Your request for a secured loan is much more likely to get approved.
However, be sure that you carefully analyze your financial situation before attaching collateral. Only if you are sure that you can repay the loan should you go for collateral otherwise you can end up in a lot of trouble.
4. Apply for a joint loan or add a guarantor
A great way for someone with a low credit score to get their loan approved is to apply for a joint loan. Get a trusted person like your spouse or someone else with a good credit score to apply for a joint loan with you.
This increases the chances of your loan getting approved by a lot as the other person’s credit score will reassure the lender as they too become liable for loan repayment. Adding a guarantor with a high score is a great way to get approval for your loan.
5. Go for a smaller loan amount
There is little chance of your loan getting approved if you are asking for a large amount. The creditor wouldn’t feel comfortable lending you a large amount owing to your low credit score. What you can do, instead, is to apply for a smaller amount. It is much more likely to get approved.
Payback the amount in time. Repeating this process several times will go a long way in improving your creditworthiness. Soon, it will become good enough for you to apply for a loan of a larger sum.
Trying to get loan approval with a low credit score can be a difficult task but if you follow the tips above, you should be able to get an approval.
Pet-Friendly Travel: Top 6 Moving Day Tips for Pets
It’s time for you and your pet to relocate! You’ve packed everything and are waiting for the movers to come. You’ve completed your pre-moving-day pet checklist, which includes new pet ID tags, a pet travel carrier, and a reservation at a pet-friendly hotel and other necessities of your pet as listed in Petstock. Here are the top six moving day recommendations for pets:
1. Assure that the pet is comfortable and secured
This is equally important while moving out of your old home and into your new one. With all of the commotion, open doors, and possible turmoil that a physical move entails, it’s critical to ensure that your pet is safe, happy, and secure.
Place your pet in a quiet and secure location. You should choose an area that they are acquainted with and feel at ease in. This may be their pet cage (located in an inconspicuous location) or a restroom you must assure that they are unable to escape and depart at any point during the transfer. If you confine your pet to a room, make sure to post a notice on the door stating that others are not permitted to enter.
2. Maintain a close check on them at all times
If your dogs are staying with you on moving day, keep an eye on them throughout the day. Maintain their regular feeding, walking, toilet breaks, and (most importantly) loving routines.
3. Familiar environments in a new home
While introducing your dog, cat, or another furry family member, one of the most effective ways to help them feel more at peace in their new home is to have their items in it. Whether it’s their favourite chair, dog bed, throw rug, toys, or all of the above, encircle your pet with familiar stuff. Prepare all of the stuff your pet will require from the moment you move into your new home.
4. Always keep your pets on a leash
Many heartbreaking experiences of dogs leaving when they relocate to a new home have been shared with us. Even dogs who are outstanding under voice control might get quickly sidetracked in a new neighbourhood and setting, so pet parents should be mindful of this. When you’re not at home, please keep your pet on a leash or in a gated yard, at least until they’ve shown to you that they’re at peace in their new surroundings.
5. It’s always preferable to be safe rather than regretful
You may not want to think about it, but keep a recent photo of your pet on your phone in case he or she becomes separated from you. In addition to their ID tag and microchip, a picture of your pet will aid in his or her safe return home.
Also, remember to have a calm demeanour. So please take a few deep breaths since our dogs can sense our emotions. Moving with your pet is a new adventure and a fresh start; grasp this sweetest opportunity and feel the bliss of being with your pet.
6. Pay a visit to the veterinarian
Gather all of your current veterinarian’s medical records and prescription medications. Take advantage of this chance to ensure that your immunizations and any medicines are current.
If you know your pet is nervous about travelling, talk to your veterinarian about utilizing anti-anxiety or car sickness medicine.
Make a note of the identity, location, and contact information of a new veterinarian in the region. In the event of an emergency, having the contact information on hand may be quite beneficial. You can also seek advice from your existing veterinarian.
Suppose you’re relocating to a new state or nation. In that case, it’s also a good idea to check with a local veterinarian or government body to see if there are any rules or regulations you must follow.
Moving is stressful and difficult, especially when dogs are involved. Most pets are creatures of habit, and they can develop strong attachments to their home. Changing one’s accustomed surroundings may be highly disorienting and annoying. Following the six suggestions above can help you and your pet feel less stressed and guarantee that your pet is safe and comfortable before, after, and on moving day.
Incentives and Solar Feed-in tariffs offered in Queensland
Queensland is the second-largest and third-most populated state in Australia. The capital of the state, Brisbane, is a sunny city with plenty of glimmering surfing beaches.
The state receives plenty of sun around the year, making it an excellent location for residents to install solar energy systems. In such weather, solar systems work effectively in a domestic setup.
Installing a solar system enables you to save money on power bills. In addition, you can make money by sending extra electricity back to the grid and earning a feed-in tariff.
There are a variety of electricity retailers in QLD, so the tariffs often vary. The solar feed in tariff QLD ranges from 7 to 18 cents per kWh, depending on the area and your electricity provider.
Other than the benefits of earning money through feed-in tariffs, the government also offers an incentive program. The incentive program helps eligible homeowners reduce the overall net cost of their solar energy systems.
Solar Incentives offered in Queensland in 2021
In Queensland, there is an incentive offered to homeowners under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, also known as SRES. Under this scheme, individuals and small businesses can install eligible solar systems and other renewable forms of energy.
The scheme mandates the creation of Small Scale Technology certificates, commonly known as STCs which renewable energy companies have a legal obligation to buy from individuals. Then renewable energy companies have to surrender these STCs to the Clean Energy Regulator in their state every two to three months.
As per the SRES scheme, projects with a maximum power output of 100Kw are eligible for incentives. If you acquire the solar energy systems for a recognised installer, you would be awarded STC for every 1000 kWh of the total expected energy estimation between 2021 and 2030.
For instance, if you live in Brisbane, QLD, and have a system of 6Kw, you will earn 82 STC for 2021 and 2030.
You can then sell these STCs to electricity providers as they are legally obliged to purchase them from individuals. In Queensland, you can get up to $38 for each STC.
So, a 6Kw system will receive an incentive of $3,116, reducing your net costs by almost 30%.
Whereas, in some inland regions of QLD where weather conditions are more favourable, one can qualify for more STCs owing to greater power output.
For the same system of 6Kw in Mount Isa, you can receive 92 STCs. This increases your incentive to $3,496.
The solar feed-in tariff in QLD varies from region to region. But on average, it is 7.8 cents/Kwh.
There are no regulations on minimum or maximum FiT amounts. Some providers may not even offer a cent, whereas others might offer up to 18 cents/ kWh.
For instance, most family homes opt for a 6KW solar energy system that can produce approximately 8,400KwH, but if your consumption is only 6000KwH, you can send the remaining power to the grid. Assuming the average FiT in QLD, your annual feed-in earnings would come up to $200.
So, with an average saving of $1500 on power bills and an additional $200 of the feed-in tariff, you can easily save at least $1600 to $2000 depending on the usage and tariffs in your local area.
The incentive and feed-in tariffs make it easier for homeowners to install solar energy systems in Queensland. But there are stringent rules set up by the authorities for a person to be eligible for such incentives.
To be eligible, you must only get the system installed from companies accredited by the Clean Energy Council (CEC). Moreover, all the components of the energy system must be approved by the CEC.
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