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Shopping Carts and Shopping Fun

After you decide on a purchase, it is time to place the order. Many similarities exist among companies in the actual order process. For instance, most shopping sites allow you to use a virtual shopping cart. As you shop, you can add items to your cart, and when you have finished shopping, you can view the contents of your cart, remove any items you really do not want, and then complete your order. A favorite online bookseller is Amazon.com. It offers good prices, a large selection, excellent service, and free shipping on many items. Today Amazon.com sells everything from books to pet supplies. It’s very easy to place an order with Amazon and the process is not unlike that of placing an order with most other online companies or catalogs.

You start out by going to Amazon.com’s website at http://www.amazon.com. Then find what you want to purchase, add the item to your shopping cart, view your cart, and then place your order.

Let’s go through the process of purchasing a current bestseller from Amazon.com in detail.

In your browser’s address bar, type http://www.amazon.com. Press the Enter key on your keyboard to go to Amazon.com’s website. Let’s see what books Amazon.com has that you might be interested in purchasing. To do this, click the Books tab at the top of Amazon.com’s home page, as shown in Figure 3.3.

Figure 3.3

Figure 3.3 At Amazon.com, you choose what you want to search for by choosing a tab at the top of the screen.

At the next page, click the Bestsellers link as shown in Figure 3.4, and scroll through the list of bestsellers. When you find a book you are interested in, click the link (usually the title of the book) for the book to get more information about it. If you want to purchase this book, click the Add to Shopping Cart button.

Then continue shopping. When you get ready to check out, click the View Cart link. This link is at the top of the web page. You can review your order on your Shopping Cart page and you can remove items by clicking the Delete button. Or you can increase the quantity of an item by changing the Quantity number. Be sure to click the Update button to update the page if you make changes.

Figure 3.4

Figure 3.4 Narrow your Amazon.com search down by choosing the list of bestsellers.

When you are ready to check out, click the Proceed to Checkout button, as shown in Figure 3.5. Continue following the onscreen instructions until you have set up your free Amazon.com account. You will be prompted to fill in your shipping address, billing address, and other information. Each time you complete a portion of the form, click the Continue link. Remember to review every screen carefully and be sure the page that requests your credit card number is secure.

Figure 3.5

Figure 3.5 Amazon.com makes purchasing items easy.

The next time you visit the Amazon.com website, you will simply have to enter your username and password and Amazon.com will remember who you are. It will also remember your address and credit card information so that you won’t have to enter it again. In fact, if you access Amazon.com from the same computer, it will probably recognize you immediately when you visit. Every time I visit Amazon.com, the top of the page says, "Hello, Sandy Berger."

Keep Good Records

When you have completed an online transaction, the last screen usually shows your order and confirmation number. Always print this page, just in case you have a problem with your purchase. You want to keep a written record of all shipping and handling costs, as well as the amount of the item(s).

Most companies will send you an email confirmation of your transaction. Be sure to read it as soon as you get it, particularly the fine print. By law, online businesses must deliver merchandise within 30 days of purchase or notify you if there will be a delay. It is not unusual for the company to send you additional email regarding your order. You might also get email correspondence telling you that your order has been filled and is ready to ship. You might even get a tracking number to use on the shipper’s website to track the progress of the shipment.

It is a good idea to promptly check your monthly bank and credit card statements as soon as you are notified your order has been shipped. Reconcile these statements with the records of your transactions to make sure that any billing errors or unauthorized purchases are reported within the required timeframe.

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