About two decades ago, Australians were not too savvy about online shopping. However, things changed in 2020, and online purchases went up by 31% from last year. Statistics show that there was an upward trend even before the lockdown and COVID-19 hit the country. However, not every online department store can offer you the best deals and shopping experience. Before ordering any item, keep in mind some features you need to look for. Use this guide to navigate through a sea of options. The Best Deals Available An online department store won’t be that much of a help if it doesn’t carry those products you need, right? Since it is a virtual department store, it should at least have the following: ● Furniture ● Home and garden ● Baby and kids’ items ● Pet care ● Appliances ● Electronics ● Outdoor equipment ● Sports and fitness items ● Tools ● Commercial items ● Health and beauty items ● Audio and video ● Gifts and novelty items ● Christmas and things you need for different holidays The best online stores are designed to be one-stop-shops. They should have the products that you are interested in. Secure Payment Options Check if the online store offers secure payments. Options include direct deposits, electronic money transfer, and secure payments via phone apps. Of course, if an online department store can offer more convenient payment methods like PayPal, Zip, and others, that will be an added convenience. Order Management A responsive order management panel on an online department store’s website or app will make the shopping experience a lot better. It’s more than just a shopping cart where you place your orders. It is the place where all matters relating to your order are handled. In that section, you can cancel orders if you have to, add items to your cart, manage order returns and refunds, verify orders, follow up on shipping, update your shipping and billing information, and oversee your order's fulfillment until items get delivered to your home. This is actually a self-help feature if you don’t have the time to call customer service. High Res Photos and Product Videos Since you can’t touch and handle the goods, the next best thing is to have high-resolution photos of the actual products being sold. You should be able to see package labels, certain features, and options, and a point of reference so you can judge the size of the item you’re interested in. Along with the product photos and videos, the product descriptions, specs, dimensions and sizing guide should be clear. If you’re purchasing clothing, you should be able to see Australian standard sizing and not some other sizing standard. User-Generated Reviews User-generated reviews in an online department store have become very important. These reviews directly reflect the experience of other customers with the actual product. You might also want to choose products with customer-submitted pictures so you can see what the products actually look like while they are being used or handled by other people. Seller Contact and Product Questions The product questions section is another important feature you should be looking for. It allows you to ask questions to the seller, and they should be able to respond to your questions ASAP. If the seller is very responsive to product inquiries, that is another good sign that it’s someone you can trust. These are the six biggest features you should be looking for in any online store. They ensure that the online portal is reliable, and the seller actually cares about you, the customer.