Online Shopping: Questions To Ask Before You Buy

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Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you can now buy almost anything online: televisions, holidays, clothes…even food! The ability to do this from your own home and skip those pesky waiting lines is one of the main reasons that so many of us are choosing to do all of our shopping on the web!

But, while online shopping is incredibly convenient, it is also not without its downfalls. Most of us have probably had at least one online shopping disaster. Maybe the product that arrived wasn’t what you ordered? Maybe it was the wrong size, or maybe it didn’t arrive at all? When you’re not familiar with the website you’re buying from, the thought of parting with your money can leave you feeling uneasy. We want your online shopping experience to be a seamless one which is why we’ve put together a list of questions that we think you should ask yourself before you buy!

Is the website secure?

First and foremost, it is very important to check that the website that you want to buy from is a secure site. This will greatly reduce the risk of fraud and help to put your mind at ease if you haven’t purchased anything from that particular site before.To check if a site is secure, look for a tiny padlock icon located on the top left of the browser’s URL bar. Another thing to be aware of is the site URL itself. Secure sites begin with https:// while non secure websites begin with http://.

Is it the right product for your needs?

Consider what you need the product for. Are you planning on using the product for work reasons or personal use? Perhaps you travel a lot and need the product to be compact? All of these factors can have an influence on the type of product that is right for you.

Is the product compatible with what you want to use it with?

Make sure that the item that you are buying is the one that you need. For example, the Kenu Stance is a portable tripod for your phone that is sold in both Android and iPhone versions.

Do you know what you’re buying?

Be clear about what you are getting for your money. For example, you may be wondering if a specific cable or accessory is included in the purchase price. If it is not clearly stated in the product’s description, contact the retailer! Most online retailers have contact details listed on the website specifically for dealing with customer-related queries. Unlike regular shopping, online shopping doesn’t give you the opportunity to view the product before buying. Check to see if the seller has included any images alongside the product’s listing. This will help to ensure that there are no unwanted surprises once the product arrives.

Is the brand reliable?

Research the brand and the product. See what other customers are saying about the quality and durability of the item. Many online retailers now include customer reviews alongside each product. Real-life experiences from people who have already purchased the product can help you to decide whether or not you really want to buy the product.

Does the product seem “too good to be true”?

A rule of thumb for online shopping is that if the price of an item seems too good to be true, the chances are it probably is. Trust your extincts. If a website is advertising Apple watches for €100 when they normally retail for €500 then you know it’s most likely not a legitimate offer. Again, check customer reviews to see what others are saying about the website!

Does your order need to be signed for?

Perhaps one of the most inconvenient aspects of online shopping is waiting for your product to be delivered. If your product needs to be signed for, you may want to check if tracking is available on your order so you have a rough idea of when your item will be delivered. This helps to ensure that someone is available to sign for your order when the courier comes knocking.  If there is rarely someone at home, it might be worth considering an alternative delivery address for your order, such as your work address or a family member’s address.

Does the product include a warranty?

It’s good practice to check a product’s warranty information before choosing to buy. It might also be worthwhile contacting the seller before you make your purchase to clarify warranty cover and also to confirm the seller’s returns policy should any issues arise with the product after purchase.

What payment options are available?

Deciding on what payment option to use can be a daunting aspect of online shopping. Most websites offer various options including credit card, debit card,  Paypal and more. Where possible, try to use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have spending limits whereas debit cards do not. It is also easier to dispute fraudulent charges on a credit card then on a debit card. With credit cards you can also dispute a fraudulent charge without being out-of-pocket for the amount disputed. Third party payment processors like Paypal and Stripe are also a safer option. Paypal and Stripe handle the payment for you, helping to minimise the risk of fraud.

The next time you want to buy something online, ask yourself, ‘can I answer these questions?’, if the answer’s ‘yes’, then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about!

Need help? Email us at: info@soundzdirect.com

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Key points from Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference

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Apple held its annual World Wide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco yesterday, and as usual the company that never does anything by halves, announced a whole host of new features that are coming our way.

Here’s a breakdown of everything that Apple announced:

Apple Music

Firstly, Apple are launching a new music streaming service called Apple Music that is set to rival Spotify. With Apple Music, users will be able to stream one of 30 million songs from within the Apple music library which will feature music from signed and unsigned artists. The streaming service is set to launch later this month and will be free for the first three months. Thereafter, the cost of using the service will be €10 a month, or €15 a month for up to six family members.

OS X El Capitan

Apple are rolling out a new operating system for the Mac entitled El Capitan. New features include improved Spotlight search, shake to enlarge the mouse cursor and a new way to pin websites to Safari. The browser will also include a speaker icon on the URL bar which will allow users to mute music coming from any opened tabs. El Capitan will also give users the ability to split their screen into multi-tasking windows by pressing down on the maximise button and dragging left or right.  The browser will also come with built-in metal graphics technology which is set to enhance a user’s gaming experience.

iOS 9

With iOS 9, Siri is becoming smarter and more in tune to your user behaviour. For example, if you usually scroll through Twitter first thing in the morning, Siri will be able to detect this and automatically open that app for you.

iOS 9 will come with improved battery life(+1 hour) and a new battery saving mode that will allow users to shut down non-essential features to enhance their iPhone’s battery by an extra three hours.

iOs 9 is also adding built-in trackpad to iPads which can be accessed by putting two fingers on the keyboard.

Apple Pay will officially launch in the UK and Northern Ireland in July. According to Apple, it will be compatible with nearly 70 percent of all UK debit and credit cards and you’ll be able to use it in Boots, Costa, Starbucks, KFC, New Look, Marks and Spencers, Mc Donald’s and more.

Lastly, iOS 9 will include a News app which will feature personalised news content that will automatically update anytime the user opens the app

Perhaps most importantly, iOS 9 will only require 1.3gb to install, a huge drop from iOS8’s required space of 4.48gb.

Watch OS

Watch OS is the newly improved operating system for the Apple Watch. Apps will now be able to access the microphone and accelerometer, play audio through the speakers, and even utilise the Digital Crown. HomeKit will also be made available on the Apple Watch via Siri.  A newly added watch face function called “Time Travel” will allow users to skip backward and forward to view past and upcoming events.Watch OS will also feature new watch faces, including several than can customise the watch face using a single photo or an updating photo album.

So there you have it. That’s all the main features that we can expect from Apple in the near future. Which announcement was your favourite?

Digitally transform your writing with Equil Smartmarker

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Picture the scene, you’re teaching a class or conducting a meeting while your notes are being displayed on a whiteboard. Then the class ends or the meeting finishes  and all of your colleagues or students are fumbling for their phones so that they can take a photograph of your notes before they get wiped away forever. Well, with the Smartmarker from Equil, you’ll never have to worry about your notes being erased again.

The Equil Smartmarker is a digital marker that turns any whiteboard into a smartboard, allowing you to capture, edit, sync, and stream your notes to anyone and anywhere.

With the Equil Smartmarker, collaboration couldn’t be easier. Stream your notes to one person or one hundred people, from France to Finland! Overseas colleagues will now be able to interpret and comment on your notes, thus becoming a part of the conversation.

Store your notes in Dropbox, Evernote or iCloud so they can be easily accessed at all times. You can even export and share your notes on Twitter, Facebook and more!

EQL-SMRTMRKR-BLUTH-O_IMG01_750Using the smartmarker is simple. There’s no calibration or training required so you can be as spontaneous and creative as you like. Just turn on the smart marker and start writing! Thanks to the sensor’s built in memory, you can be confident that everything you write is saved.

Equil Smartmarker gives you the ability to separate your work notes from your personal life. Organise, title and tag your notes so that they’re easy to find, and unlike photos, your notes  stay fully editable allowing you to select and manipulate each stroke.

Equil also recognises that great ideas need lots of room to grow which is why they’ve given you the world’s largest surface area. Use the Smartmarker to generate charts, diagrams, lists and maps on surfaces measuring up to 16ftx5ft.

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Suddenly struck by a great idea but there isn’t a whiteboard in sight? Don’t stress. The Equil smartpen will also work on walls with whiteboard paint, glass panels, smooth tables and even erase boards, so you’ll nearly always be prepared for when inspiration strikes!

The Smartmarker’s portable design means that it couldn’t be more convenient.  Carry it with you in your pocket, bag, or even in your suitcase!

The Equil Smartmarker is priced at €799.99 and is available on our website.