The numbers don't lie: The Turkish market loves the online shopping trend. According to Statista, more than a half of all Turkish internet users have already hopped onto the e-commerce bandwagon and user penetration is expected to hit 62.8 percent in 2021. With average revenue per user at $186, the e-commerce market is expected to generate about $5.8 billion in Turkey. As with every fast-growing market, there are tremendous opportunities for both merchants and shoppers here.
This is exactly why there are so many new entries in the online shopping scene. With more and more people researching and comparing products on their smartphones, a new breed of retailers are aiming to serve their customers via platforms they are already in; like Facebook, Instagram or even WhatsApp. Nowadays, it's easy to set up a shop on popular social media networks and start selling fashion, furniture, toys, electronics and so on... You can just tap a button on Instagram and buy your new fancy shirt.
That convenience, however, comes at a price. You need to be more careful since the ever-growing e-commerce market also attracts all kinds of scammers. Since opening an online store is way easier (and cheaper) than setting up a brick and mortar shop; e-commerce is the new haven for online pirates.
You don't want to miss the crazy opening sale on that new online store, but you can't decide if it will be a reliable trade or not, here are some details to look for on a shopping portal to avoid scams.
Obtained by purchasing a specific certificate, HTTPS means the website underwent a vetting process and the owner is paying an annual subscription. The aforementioned certificate, named "SSL," adds a digital crypto file to the website server and ensures a secure connection between the website and the consumer. This is only essential for the checkout pages, so before you pay, always examine the address bar whether or not it starts with "https://" instead of "http://". While it's not a must for homepages, if the page you make the payment doesn't have the SSL certificate (a padlock symbol on the address bar), don't risk it - even if the website meets all the requirements we listed below.
The homepage design of an online store is considered as its storefront. If you're on a website with high-quality visual elements, you know that there's an investment in terms of time and money. That's something overlooked by most scammers. The images should preserve a certain degree of quality; fonts should be in harmony with the general feel of the website. Also, if the home page itself is full of flashing banner ads, you should probably stay away from there; especially if the ads are opening in background windows.
The footer sits at the bottom of a web page, and it should list a bunch of very important details/certifications about the seller or the company. First of all, there must be a full name and/or credits of the company behind this online store. For copyright purposes, there should also be a year as an "up-to-date-ness" indicator.
Another must for a footer is a trust mark badge from a company like TRUSTe, McAfee or Norton. These logos mean the website is compliant with data collection, secure, and free of malware, respectively. You should also click on each of them and see where they are redirected to ensure the website isn't fraudulently displaying these badges.
Other online databases
This might sound like a no-brainer. But, many times a quick Google search for "site name + scam" is what separates a reliable shopping experience from fraud. You can also look for Google Stores and portals like Reseller Ratings to see customer reviews of online stores. But, keep in mind that many Turkish online stores, especially new ones, are not featured in such databases. Additionally, you can utilize these online tools to distinguish a secure seller from a shady alternative:
This is an advanced measure, but if you want to know whether the owner of a website is credible, you can go to who.is and enter the URL address of your newfound shopping site. The service will provide you the registration details of the domain owner such as the date of registration and country of the registered owner. If a Turkish seller is registered in Philippines or China that should be your cue to slowly step away from that portal.
Web of Trust (WOT)
The WOT browser plugin is available for all major browsers like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari. By utilizing crowd sourced reports of scams, privacy leaks and vendor reputation, WOT delivers an instant warning if you step into a suspicious website. The indicators of Web of Trust plugin is fairly simple; green means a site is safe, red means danger while yellow is somewhere in between.