During the last decade, the internet has pretty much become a part of our day to day lives. The home telephone used to be our primary form of communication, ringing people to catch up on recent events and news. “Snail Mail” as its called now, was the primary source to send cards and well wishes to people for birthdays and Christmas. The local library used to be used as our reference point for studying and a place to go to borrow books to read up on topics we were interested in.
We used to walk through shopping centers and malls to find things that we like, go to the register and pay cash for items that we’d like to buy. Some of things still remain part of our lives, but the internet has overwhelmed the ways we once used to do many day to day things. Could you go without Facebook, Twitter or dare I say it, email, for more than a couple of weeks?
One of the main things the Internet has bought us in online shopping, which allows us to purchase products while sitting in the comfort of our own homes. The wine industry is not immune from this sudden change in shopping habits, although it has been slower to catch on.
The main difference between the wine industry and most other industries is the sheer volume of product choice. If you walk into your local liquor store, it’s not uncommon to see 50% or more of the floor space taken up by wine products. This also brings a level of complexity to the online wine world.
With this in mind, there are many choices of different online wine stores. There are literally hundreds of stores offering an almost exclusive range of wine, and some at a very exclusive price. So what is the easiest ways to tell the better ones from the not so good ones?
Therein lies the ultimate question and one which could be asked of any industry on the internet. As with any online store, security is the most important thing. The most important part of any online store is what’s referred to as the digital certificate. This certificate encrypts (or digitally jumbles up) any information that is sent between the person buying and the store so that unsavory people cannot read the important information as its being sent across the internet.
How can you tell if a store has a digital certificate? Generally at the time of purchase (especially when you are entering credit card details), the web site address should change from http:// to https://. If you get to any screen on the internet that is asking for credit card details and the web site address doesn’t start with https://, do not buy from that store. Refuse to buy from that store as they are putting your private information at risk. It’s not the store that can’t be trusted, its people on the net that target stores like this to “listen in on” and steal your information.
If you stick to that one golden rule in relation to security on the internet, you will be well on your way to enjoying your shopping experience with online wine stores without the worry of somebody “looking over your shoulder”.