Buying online

Buying products online can help you streamline the purchasing for your business and save you time and money. Whether you need to buy raw materials, office supplies or equipment, online tools can help you manage your purchasing process.

Using the internet, you can:

  • search for information about products and suppliers
  • view product catalogues
  • compare product specifications and prices
  • contact suppliers
  • place orders
  • pay for products.

Online business tools can offer greater efficiency in dealing with your suppliers. You can place orders at any time of the day. You can also source items that are usually difficult to find, as you can search suppliers who are interstate or overseas and find more affordable products.

Getting ready for buying online

If you are unfamiliar with buying products online, you can start by discussing your options with your current suppliers, your colleagues and business and industry associations.

Search the internet to see if you can find the products you need, either from the suppliers you currently use or different ones and find out if you can get a better deal.

Before you begin buying online, it's a good idea to set up a security policy and web processes within your business. A simple checklist can be useful to make sure you and your staff manage online purchases in the same way.

Useful tips for buying online

  • While a lot of online purchases are made with credit cards, this is not always the only method. Check if other options might suit you better, such as direct debit cards.
  • Check that you are dealing with a legitimate business. In Australia, you can check the supplier's Australian Business Number (ABN) or Australian Company Number (ACN). If you are unsure, contact the supplier before you make any purchases.
  • Take care when buying products from overseas suppliers. They won't be covered under Australian trade laws, so you need to be sure they are reliable businesses.
  • Look at the web address to check that the site is secure. Secure sites start with 'https://'.
  • Check delivery details, including shipping fees, insurance and timings.
  • Find out about warranties and returns policies.
  • Keep a record of your online purchases, just as you would for purchases made in person.
  • If you deal with large volumes of goods or multiple suppliers, you might consider investing in supply chain software to help you streamline your online purchasing.

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