We all know the struggle, do you buy your cards at a department store where the deals may not be as good, the cards may be pre-weighed, and you may not find what you want? Or do you buy online, where things are more convenient, but you need to worry about whether you’re really going to get what you ordered?
We might be a bit biased when we say that buying pokemon cards online is the better way to go, but when you know how to do so without having to worry, you’ll agree with us too! Here’s our tips for buying Pokemon TCG products online, without fear.
Purchasing your cards from someone who specializes in trading card games, sports cards, memorabilia, or other collectors/hobby items will help to alleviate some of the stress of your online purchase.
Why? Well, the answers simple:retailers who don’t specialize in cards won’t have the same knowledge about their products. This means you may unintentionally get the wrong product and/or it may be shipped improperly and be damaged during shipping.
Online card shops will have the expertise needed to ship your cards so they aren’t damaged, and the knowledge to be able to send you the right product as well as provide more assistance if you need customer support.
Another way to ensure you’re buying from the best online source possible is to simply ask around. Friends who play the game, people at local events and tournaments, and even people on social media can be great sources for recommendations.
Generally, if they’ve recommended a store, it should be good to purchase from, but you may want to do a little more digging just to be sure!
An important thing to do is check the reviews. It’s remarkably easy and is a great indication of how the company is in terms of shipping practices, products, and customer service.
For starters, head to Facebook or Google and take a look at how many stars they have on each platform. Is it close to 5 stars? If so, let’s take a look at how many reviews are there. Ideally, there’ll be a dozen or more. If they have only a handful of reviews it may be worth considering an alternative!
Next, we can look at the individual reviews - you’re going to look for a few key things:
Shipping times is a bit of a given, but you may not think to look for any comments regarding box/card condition. This is important as cards, especially valuable ones can become worthless if they become creased, torn, or beaten up during shipping. A good online pokemon card shop will know to ship products in a way that minimizes or avoids damage entirely.
Next, you’ll want to look for experiences with customer service, did reviewers say representatives were nice? Was contacting them easy? Was the issue resolved quickly?
After that, look for a holiday review. This is important because some companies may be great during off season, but struggle to deal with the demand of the holidays. You never want to have an online retailer ruin Christmas!
Then there's the obvious red flags. If reviews talk about bad billing practices, unreachable customer service, products not arrive, incorrect products, or other issues, you’re best off looking elsewhere.
Lastly, look for instances where the company went above and beyond. These aren’t necessary, and shouldn't be expected (hence above and beyond), but it’s nice to know that a company cares enough to help parents get products in time for their child's birthday.
A good habit to get into is to place a small test order first. (This tip is great to keep in mind for any online purchase, Pokemon cards or not!) If you purchase a single booster pack and it arrives damaged or doesn’t arrive at all, you won’t be out for much money.
It also allows you to test other aspects of the company which may not be revealed in reviews. This could include:
If you’re strapped for time like in the event of a birthday or holiday where you need the item by a specific date and can’t afford to wait for a small order first, here’s an alternative: contact their customer service.
Simply reaching out to their customer service before you order can give you an idea of how easy it is to reach them and how courteous they are. Both important parts of an online shopping experience!