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How to buy secure on Temu, the new purchasing app that might be a fad

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If you’re a sentient being within the United States, your eyeballs have most likely been blasted with ads for Temu.

The purchasing app, a chaotic on-line flea market of Willy Wonka’s fever goals, is closing in on eBay because the third hottest purchasing website within the United States behind Amazon and Walmart, in keeping with knowledge supplied to analysis agency eMarketer by Comscore.

Temu grew in style a minimum of partly by turning into one of many greatest patrons of adverts on Facebook apps and Google. Temu has additionally purchased dear TV commercials in the course of the previous two Super Bowl video games, together with a number of adverts this 12 months with an earworm jingle.

The huge questions on Temu: Can an organization promote its approach into your coronary heart? And can America’s love for Temu final?

Quick solutions: Yes and perhaps no.

“I think it’s a fad,” mentioned Sucharita Kodali, a retail and e-commerce principal analyst with the analysis agency Forrester.

We have a behavior of falling laborious for purchasing novelties — whether or not it’s a gown that sells like sizzling truffles out of nowhere or retailers similar to Zara, Poshmark or Wish. But lots of our purchasing infatuations are transient.

There might be not a lot hurt when you’re gaga for Temu and it turns into a has-been. Just watch out to not stake an excessive amount of of your cash or your livelihood on a sizzling purchasing app that may not final.

And maintain studying for recommendation if you wish to store safely on Temu. Like many spots for getting on-line, you don’t have a lot details about the product sellers on Temu. That heightens the chance that purchases might be disappointing or hurt you.

What is our cope with purchasing fads?

E-commerce crushes that cool off are a persistent phenomenon.

We have been infatuated within the early 2010s with websites similar to Groupon that featured short-lived reductions. Those websites have principally light. Then we fell laborious for month-to-month deliveries of merchandise in a field similar to clothes, pet merchandise or razors. The mania died down, too.

Then Wish grew to become the new bargain-basement purchasing app.

Wish is fairly much like Temu. Both promote a seize bag of usually low-cost and infrequently random stuff straight from distributors which might be principally in China.

(Temu is predicated in Boston however owned by a Chinese firm, PDD. The firm additionally operates a preferred e-commerce app in China known as Pinduoduo.)

Wish, like Temu, for some time blitzed Facebook and Google with adverts pitching oddball merchandise similar to meat socks. The technique labored on you, till it didn’t. Wish has lapsed into irrelevance.

In 2023, Temu spent more cash promoting on-line within the United States than all however three different giant firms: Amazon, shopper merchandise big Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo, in keeping with estimates by Sensor Tower and Pathmatics that analysis agency eMarketer shared with me.

(Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Temu’s promoting blitz might work. TikTok was among the many greatest advertisers on-line for some time, too. And TikTok has remained in style.

Temu additionally has caught on not solely due to its heavy promoting.

The app additionally sells all the things you may think, together with backyard gnomes and faux eyelashes. Its casino-style advertising consists of restricted time gross sales that create a way of urgency. If you rating a deal, Temu needs to unfold the information to your pals.

Juozas Kaziukenas, founding father of the e-commerce analysis agency Marketplace Pulse, says past Temu’s advertising savvy, it has benefits that Wish didn’t.

Temu can harness PDD’s monitor file in wrangling giant numbers of Chinese distributors and making certain orders arrive effectively at your door, he mentioned.

“Fads come and go, but the desire for value does not,” Temu said. The company said it believes its expertise will “bring a new level of efficiency and cost savings.”

How to buy safely on Temu

Now that many on-line outlets, together with Amazon, Walmart, TikTok Shop, Temu and Shein, promote you merchandise that come straight from factories or distributors that you just don’t know something about, high quality management is trickier than it’s with the restricted picks in bodily shops.

That places the onus on you to attempt to keep away from shopping for merchandise which might be poorly made.

Read my colleague Heather Kelly’s recommendation on avoiding scams or different undesirable outcomes if you purchase on-line. Most of this recommendation applies to all on-line purchasing.

When you’re shopping for on Temu, chances are you’ll need to see if the identical product or vendor is on Amazon, Etsy or Shopify. You are attempting to get a way if persons are complaining about being misled or ripped off. Not all merchandise you discover on Temu will likely be bought different locations.

One reader instructed me final 12 months that she had a ruler helpful when she shopped from Temu. The actual dimension of merchandise will be deceptive in pictures, she mentioned, however product dimensions could also be included in Temu’s on-line listings.

If you peek at these, you may keep away from shopping for a canine mattress that seems to be thimble-size.

If you’re shopping for an affordable ceiling-fan duster on Temu and it seems to be junk, it’s not an enormous deal. But do watch out with or keep away from shopping for merchandise on Temu that go into your physique or in your pores and skin.

Without realizing a lot concerning the reliability of the sellers, merchandise similar to pretend eyelashes, nutritional vitamins or pores and skin cream might harm you.

Temu mentioned that it has particular high quality management to vet merchandise in your physique. Temu additionally mentioned folks ought to analysis components and seek the advice of evaluations earlier than shopping for merchandise.

Also in your security, be cautious of shopping for merchandise from Temu if they’re toys or different merchandise meant for youngsters, in the event that they’re powered by a rechargeable battery, or in the event that they’re protecting gear like a bike helmet.

Temu’s ability is making discount looking really feel like a sugar-high treasure hunt. So have enjoyable on the market. Just be cautious. And don’t get in so deep with Temu that you just’ll be left within the lurch if it winds up being a fad.

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