Over the past 15 years, the Internet has exploded and pretty much become a necessity in our everyday lives. The home telephone used to be our primary form of communication, ringing people to catch up on recent events and news. Paper mail was used to send cards to wish people Happy Birthday or Merry 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. While some of these things still remain part of our lives, the Internet has changed how we do day to day things dramatically. Could you go without Facebook, Twitter or dare I say it, email, for more than a couple of weeks?
The shopping side of our lives is slowly changing, such is the world of "comfort from our own homes" online shopping. The wine industry is no different in this world of online shopping, although it has been a little slower to catch on than a lot of other industries.
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 adds a certain 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. The most important thing with any online store is security. 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 hackers cannot read the important information as its being sent across the internet.
How can I be sure 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 enter a screen which asks for your credit card details, check if the address starts with https: //, if it doesn't, don't continue. Don't buy from a store that doesn't have this type of security as its putting your personal information at risk. It's not that the store can't be trusted, its other people on the net that take advantage of such stores that can't be.
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".