So you are no stranger to online shopping. Clothing, music, furniture and air tickets, you’d agree with me that there is much joy in shopping with your fingers! A surge of contentment fills you when you find a web store that stock what you saw in the mall for a much lower price, and you smile to yourself when you discover a site that carry one-of-a-kind pieces. However, before you click away, learn the pitfalls of shopping online. Glean lessons from these homeowners who have done their fair share of online shopping when furnishing their home.

Homeowner Michelle Yeo is a fan of China’s massive online marketplace, Taobao. She advises that making payment on a foreign website can be tricky. “It normally involves transfers from local bank accounts or payment by local credit cards, which we do not have,” Michelle explains. You may have to enlist the help of friends living in those countries to help make the payment first.

Also, if the seller doesn’t ship to Singapore, you’ll have to use agents to receive the items for you, and then forward it to you, for a fee. VPost by Singpost allows you to ship items from the US, Europe, Japan and China right to your doorstep, while many Taobao agents do the same for the website.

Etsy, a huge online marketplace for independent artists and designers selling quirky handcrafted items, is a favourite for homeowners Dominic and Joanne. ABC Home, Ebay, Pottery Barn and Scandinavian Design Center are other online shops that Joanne frequents.

To prevent the case of the item delievered to you not matching what you saw online, or not receiving the item at all, even after payment, they share the following tips. Ask the sellers the right questions, look carefully at the listed dimensions and the condition of the item, pay for tracking and insurance for a piece of mind.

Dominic's Purchase From Online

Homeowner, Dominic bought his mod sofa online from Canadian company Lunar Lounge, found on Etsy.


1) Shop at reputable stores. If you’re unsure about certain stores, search for consumer reviews on experiences with them.

2) Evaluate a new online store with these factors: user-friendliness of the site, a clearly stated reasonable refund and return policy, and sufficient company contact information (e-mail address, telephone number, address).

3) Take note of the retailer’s privacy policy. Did the retailer explicitly state that it would not share private information with third parties without consent?

4) SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the encryption of transferred online data, which is vital for secure online shopping. You can be sure that the vendor’s website is protected with SSL if the address on the credit card information entry screen begins with “https”.