1. Read customer testimonials before you buy anything. People are more than happy to complain about bad service online, so look for sites and testimonials that are terrible so you know what you're getting into. You need to take bad reviews with a grain of salt, but if you see many, you know there exists a problem.
2. Sign up for the website's newsletter if they have one. Many times stores will give you a price reduction or some kind of deal whenever you sign up for their newsletter. Determine if there is a deal associated with signing up for the newsletter at any store you would like to shop at.
3. If you're making an online purchase, don't hesitate to contact customer service if you have a matter. By contacting customer service prior to making your order, you'll find out how helpful customer care is and exactly how quickly they respond. This is useful information to have in the event that something goes completely wrong after you've made your purchase.
4. Make it a habit to register for price alerts. This goes even for purchases that you've recently made. Price alerts will let you know when a product has dropped to a price you like. And if you've recently purchased at full price, you can request a price adjustment to meet the newest deal.
5. A great way to stay safe when shopping online is to avoid clicking any web addresses that are sent into your email. If you are expecting an email from a company, visit the actual website and do not click any links. Legitimate businesses do not send emails seeking personal information or account information.