Buying software online is a risky proposition, especially if you are new to shopping online. Whether you are upgrading software version or looking for a new one to install, the process will be a much easier if you pay attention to details.
I never had a problem buying software online, its relatively easier these days as you don’t have to wait for the CD to arrive in your mail box. Rather, you can download instantly and start using within a few minutes as installation process completes.
10 Tips to Buy Software Online
1. Read customer review first. Almost every software store, such as Amazon, Buy.com etc, allows buyers to leave opinion about their products. Reading different customer reviews help to make the decision easier. Do read at least the highest satisfied and the lowest satisfied customer’s point of views (You can gauge by the rating they put).
2. Read what experts are saying. Software developers provide beta version or sample copies to the experts for their review much before the product launch. Try searching on Google for product reviews by experts, like PCMag (I trust PC mag a lot).
3. Check Compatibility. Not every piece of software could run on your computer. Read the specification and the system requirement section on product details section (all sites should have it, else don’t buy from them). By being familiar with your computer’s configuration, you will be able to select the right software.
4. Become familiar with the software by reading it’s description and capabilities. Before purchasing any type of software, you should make sure that it is exactly what you want or will enjoy learning. Many stores do not accept a return if shipping package is opened (this policy is difficult to digest, I don’t buy from them).
5. Buy from trusted source. This will ensure better customer service (some don’t provide at all), quality products and timely shipment. Buying from trusted stores ensures your copy is not pirated, and not tampered with. You don’t want to get called by the attorney, do you? You can check store ratings from BBB and Re-seller Rating and determine if it’s trusted.
6. Use Comparison Shopping. Software prices are competitive, take advantage of that, a Google search can bring you prices for your desired item from different stores, you will be surprised to see the variance.
7. Use credit card. Credit card issuing banks provide fraud protection service, this is a huge factor! Imagine a situation in which your purchased software didn’t work and the company refused to accept a return; in that case you can initiate a fraud claim against the company. Chances are high that your money will be returned to you.
8. Caution! When buying from Auction. If you are buying from another person through online auction sites like eBay, confirm that the software is not pirated or not an illegal copy before buying it. Read the eBay guide thoroughly before bidding.
|One tip, avoid buying antivirus software from auction sites, people buy anti-virus, install and re sell the CD with package on eBay. But they generally have limited install license, so it might not work on your computer.|
9. Total cost of ownership. Take a moment to look at the shipping costs. Although, I strongly discourage buying software that will only arrive via mail. Return/refund policy is another important aspect you should know before putting software in your shopping cart. There is every possibility that you may not like the product (why the heck you bought it in first place?). Is life-long version upgrades are free? If yes, than it’s a big advantage.
10. Do you need it? Ask yourself one last time, do I need it? There are many alternative software tools available in the market. For every paid software there is a free software which can provide similar/equivalent service. If you think of MS office, there is open office and Google docs, possibilities are endless when it comes to money-wise decisions.
Some of these tips are perfectly applicable to buying software from Brick & Mortar stores. Now tell me, was that helpful, readers?