Vol.1, No.5

Tips for shopping for toys online

Shopping online can make your search for a particular item easy and less expensive. Use these tips to assist you in buying toys over the Internet!

Online toy shopping
Photo Credit: Edyta Pawiowska
Online shopping for toys, as for most products, gives the shopper of a wide selection of products from all over the world, as well as the advantage of comparing prices with considerably less effort and time. Chances are, if you are doing your toy shopping online, you are either looking for a particular toy or a good deal, both of which are easy to find on the Internet.

The best place to start is a search engine, which will enable you to compare prices and find any rarer products that you may be in search of. You can also use a search engine in order to determine a general sale and resale price guide for collectibles.

Once you have done some research, you much decide whether you will be shopping at an online auction site such as eBay, or from a retailer's website. The former is by far the cheapest route (and the easiest to find vintage items), however, you must use caution when bidding on such auctions. Take precautions to determine that the toy will not be bootlegged (carefully inspect the picture, and never bid on anything without a photo) and read over potential sellers' feedback. Inquire about shipping and payment options, if they are not outright stated, and the cost of shipping insurance, if you think you will require it.

Be prepared to make website purchases using a credit card. Some auction sellers will accept other forms of payment, such as the popular Paypal or money orders, so weigh the risks of each route before committing to a purchase. Many sellers will require you to pay through a certain method.

One very important point to keep in mind is to always read the auction description thoroughly. It is through lack of attention on the bidder's part that people have been "scammed" on eBay, purchasing broken items or even just the box that an item came in for ludicrous amounts of money. If you want to bid on a foreign item, ask someone to help you translate it, if the online translation systems are insufficient. You don't want to be surprised when your item arrives!

Whether you are buying from a website or an auction, you may also have multiple postal methods available to you to expedite the arrival of the item or lessen the cost. For website transactions, ensure you have chosen the correct shipping method before confirming your order - then, print the order invoice, as they often do not keep as thorough records as an auction site does. Until your item arrives, it is your proof of purchase. If you are paying via a money order, keep your copy in a safe place in case it becomes waylaid in the mail.

The important thing to remember when buying toys online is simply to explore all avenues. No matter what your intent is - lower cost, rare items, or shipping to a particular country - there is something on the Internet to suit your needs. Use caution and do your research, and you'll be fine.