It makes good sense to supply your clients directly online. There are some businesses that are just perfect for removing the costs of a shopfront. Online shopping, online printing services and VOIP-based business phone systems are just three businesses, while completely different, online operations are perfect for they way they work, and make using their services very convenient for us as consumers.
As a consumer, it is important to know if a business is reliable before you sign up or hand over your hard earned dollars, especially when the only thing you have is a website to know. Or do you? Here is a look at how to evaluate a supplier online. There are some obvious and easy ways to go about it.
- Location and more. Any company that is real about what they are doing will have contact details, and those contact details will contain a physical location and phone number. If they are only available by email, you should think twice about using their services. You need to think about the services they are offering and how that will influence your purchase. An online business card printing supplier should be in your locality, for example. Having a physical location and telephone contact are the top two issues you should consider before using any supplier. If they don’t exist, you should consider moving on.
- Professional associations. Professional associations that have real clout in your region are a real sign the supplier is good at what they do. Awards are even better. It is worth researching on what those awards were for, and what those professional associations actually represent. Unscrupulous websites have been known to put just about any logo on their site to improve their image.
- Terms and conditions. Every decent website will have a terms and conditions page. This page might be a little boring to read, but the time spent is well worth it. There will be certain laws for commerce in your region, and a respected site will make sure they cover all of those laws on their website and their activities. Be wary of their disclaimer, and make sure you spend the time on it too.
- Client testimonials. Testimonials from other clients are always good to see. Make sure those testimonials have the full details of the client and person who is making the statement. There is nothing wrong with checking the validity of those details.
- Lifetime of the business. Just because a business claims to be in operation for 10 years, it doesn’t mean they have been. There is nothing like a brand name you can trust. Spend a few minutes to research the company on your country or state’s business registry.
- Comparison and watchdog websites. True comparison websites do more than just collect prices on comparative business, they are true watchdog website. These sites investigate user complaints and give real unbiased feedback on business. A true watchdog website will also be based in your region, and at a minimum, your country. Check your supplier on these sites. Local forums are an excellent location to gather news on any of your proposed suppliers
- Consumer affairs. If your consumer affairs does not provide a watchdog website, you can always contact them to see if the vendor is involved in any, or has been involved in any conflicts with other customers.
Doing business online should be very cost effective and efficient. If you spend the time to research a good supplier, the long-term benefits are obvious. You can continue to use them with ease reducing opportunity cost. Good businesses are not always the cheapest. They offer the best services, and they do that every time. There is nothing like a guarantee with purchase to entice us as consumers. The best suppliers will offer a reasonable guarantee, and that should be what you are looking for after checking the points above.