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Internet Basics - Shopping online

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Shopping basics

Shopping online is like shopping in the real world, but with hundreds of shops to choose from. It’s easy to compare prices from different online shops. But you should check the delivery costs on goods to make sure they are not too expensive. Online shops can also have different rules on returning goods so check their terms and conditions before starting your shopping.

Basket and checkout

Showing books to buy online
Showing items in online shopping basket

When you visit an online shop you can add goods to a virtual basket that can hold as many items as you want. You can also take items out of your virtual basket, or change the number of items you want to buy.

Once you’ve added everything to your basket you need to check out so you can pay for the goods. When you go to check out it will show you the total cost, including delivery.

Paying

If you haven’t used the site before you may need to register and create a username and password. Next you have to complete a form with personal details such as name, address and bank details for payment.

Security code on the back of a credit card

When you enter your card details you will need to include your card’s security code which is the last three digits of the number on the back of your card.

Secure sites and confirming

Before you start entering your details on a website make sure you are on a secure site. A secure site will have https in the address bar and there will often be a padlock symbol either next to the address, or in your status bar.

Showing order confirmation

Once you have completed all the form you will see a confirmation page with all the details of what you’ve just bought. This will normally include a reference number and a confirmation receipt which will be emailed to you. It’s a good idea to also print out the confirmation receipt for your records.

When you’ve received your goods, if there is something wrong with them you can return them by post. Each shop will have different rules on returning items so check their terms and conditions to find out about their specific policy.

It looks like you don't have Flash enabled on your computer. To view all the videos, tools and games on this website you will need to install the Flash player.

For information on how to do this, please visit the BBC WebWise guide to downloading Flash