Online shopping is the future of retail, with the rising costs of operating physical retail stores. However, it’s important to make sure you aren’t being scammed, as it can be difficult to tell vendor from crook online. Home & Decor catches up with CEO and co-founder of online marketplace aggregator and product discovery platform iprice, David Chmelař, to talk about how consumers can protect themselves from scammers.
1. Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in the Czech Republic, and graduated from the London School of Economics. I spent five years at the Boston Consulting Group, and four years as a member of the board of a retail bank in the Czech Republic. I love great architecture, and spent a lot of time fine-tuning the furnishing of my own apartment back in Prague.
2. Tell us about iprice.
iprice is a marketplace aggregator and a product discovery platform. We’re currently Asia’s leading aggregator, with 250 million products in our catalogue across seven countries: Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines. Our goal is to provide our customers with the widest selection of products, no matter what you’re looking for, from red high heels to a brand new couch.
3. Many young homeowners are now looking to online shopping for furnishing their homes. True or false? Is this trend reflecting itself in your numbers?
Yes, we are seeing this happening. Sure, electronics is the biggest category, and it’s going to be the case in the future, but the Home and Living segment is picking up and we expect that it will grow substantially in the coming years.
4. What are the differences in online shopping versus actually visiting a shop where furnishings and accessories are concerned?
You can shop across varieties from different vendors, simultaneously, online. Not having to drive from shop to shop is a definite plus point. You can also compare prices between different vendors and filter your search according to specifications such as brand and colour.
5. How would you advise online shoppers to check for credibility when shopping online?
Scour the internet for reviews on the shopping site. Websites like TrustedCompany.com, which is a community review platform for e-commerce stores, can help shoppers identify trustworthy and reliable websites. Check the privacy statement, and that the return policy is clear. Also check for optionality in payment methods, through trusted payment gateways like Paypal, as they offer protection.
6. What are the telltale signs of scams that one should look out for?
One, that the prices are way below market range when you’re buying on a C2C platform, and two when the seller is insistent on immediate payment or payment via electronic funds transfer or wire service. Also, if the retailer doesn’t provide you with adequate information about the terms and conditions, privacy, dispute resolutions, and contact details, and especially if the seller is reluctant to make transactions via secure payment platforms.
7. Help! I’ve been scammed by an online shopping site. What do I do?
You should notify your financial institution immediately and try to get them to reverse the charges.
8. What are the actions I can take to avoid being scammed?
Educate yourself, and familiarise yourself with the identifiers. Shop from secure sites, and when bidding on online auctions or C2C websites, complete your transaction within the auction site, as you stand a chance of losing any protection offered by the website operator if you complete the sale offsite.
9. What’s iprice’s take on online shopping scams? As an online shopping solution, what would you say you’re doing to gain consumer confidence?
Online scammers are omnipresent, and scammers are getting smarter. However, so are shoppers, so take charge and familiarise yourself with identifiers. The more attuned you are to security measures, the better equipped you are at protecting yourself. At iprice, we thoroughly screen our vendors before featuring them on our site, so that process acts as an additional security measure. Shopping via our platform is an additional security blanket.
10. Any last advice for online shoppers?
Always check for online coupons before finalising the purchase, as you can save up to 80%!