Vol.1, No.5

Shopping national chain stores online

Shopping at nationwide stores can be done from your home. Get all the information you need to shop online at your favorite national chains.

Woman shopping
Photo Credit: Daniela Andreea Spyropoulos
Today, most national chain stores have websites that are equipped to handle all your purchases online. This means you can shop at that high-end department store nowhere near your hometown with just a few clicks on your keyboard. Now you have access to the same products without ever leaving your home. This unlimited access spells convenience. That's why most people shop national chain stores online and not in person.

The first thing to consider when shopping the national chain stores online is a username and password. I have a word of advice for those new to online shopping. Think of a username before you go to the website. It should be a name easy for you to remember. It's also a good idea to use the same username for all your online shopping. It makes it easier to shop multiple stores without having the headache of recalling your username. Choose a password, ahead of time, that you can reuse as well. Be sure and keep it private and not too easy for anyone else to guess. If you make it at least 8 characters, it'll be sure to work on most all the chain store's web sites.

Another convenient perk to shopping national chain stores online is 24-hour access. While some metropolises national chain stores open 24 hours, these are still the exception and not the rule. Feel like shopping for furniture in the wee hours of the morning? No problem. Log onto your computer and surf right to your favorite store's web site. Don't worry about not knowing the web address. Type the name of the national chain store in a search engine and you are sure to get the website link in the top ten search results.

Once you arrive at the national chain's website, you'll probably notice a lot of specials advertised just for online customers. Giving discounts and special discounts to online shoppers is a new trend with national chain stores. You can also find closeout sales and other huge reductions reserved just for online purchases. This is because you're often buying items that didn't sell in the stores and are now coming directly from the national chain's warehouse. You'll find online shopping especially rewarding at the end of seasons and around holidays. Manufacturers are looking to move product from their warehouses into your houses by any means necessary.

Most national chain stores in the rental car industry offer specials available exclusively online no matter the time of year. They want to encourage customers to reserve cars quickly and easily so less time is spent waiting in line to get a car. Ultimately, this savings for you translates into big bucks for them. They have more revenue with less staff needed.

National chain stores in the grocery industry work differently from the "giving you bargains from the warehouse" promise from department stores. Grocers provide you with actual products in your local store. So when you login to their web sites, you'll be viewing products from your locale brought directly to your home.

Before you make your online purchases, check the return policy. If the item doesn't work or is the wrong size/color and you need to return it, you need to know if you'll get a refund or not. Is this a closeout item and hence no return? Is there a restocking fee? Read the fine print and then shop.

Last and certainly not least are shipping costs and sales tax. That "online only" sale that some national chain stores offer might not be that much of a bargain once you add in all the extra charges. Be sure to go to the checkout and calculate a grand total. You can do this without entering your credit card number. At any point you can cancel the transaction without any financial consequences.

Shopping national chain stores online is easy and convenient. Make sure it's economical and smart by getting all the facts about your online items before you buy.