Do you have a teen in the house with a penchant for shopping online? If not you are a rare breed indeed. If, like me the answer is yes, please read on.
Fact – online shopping is on the rise in households worldwide and our household is no exception to the rule. In an average week the number of packages we receive, reaches well into double figures and this is before we add in those ordered by our resident teenagers, who just like all their Millennial and Gen Z peers are rarely without a phone in their hand and thus are well versed in navigating the world of online retail and pressing the dreaded “buy now” button.
Not surprisingly the impact of social media on the growth in shopping online is huge, particularly as more brands are using it as a shopping platform to sell their products and accept payments via Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, which in this influencer age is particularly popular among our impressionable teenagers.
My teens are definitely in this category. During the rare moments they are quiet, we can guarantee they are busy surfing from one social media platform to another, in hot pursuit of the trends advocated by their favoured idols and bookmarking their must haves.
The key question, however, is not just how to do they pay for those goods they want so much, but more importantly, how do they pay for them safely? After all, as parents we are all too aware of the implications of our teens over sharing personal details online and the dangers associated with them leaving a digital footprint.
As a household our favourite online payment methods are probably no different to most, PayPal and Amazon Pay being amongst them. I have learnt to my detriment, however, that having this as a default on your home computer and sharing this information with teenagers is a potential carte blanche for the delivery of packages of the “unapproved” kind.
My eldest is a student now, with a monthly allowance and a job on the side, so has been managing his finances and making purchases online for some time. My youngest on the other hand has only just received her first debit card, so is a relative novice at shopping online but is keen to get to grips with it and like most younger siblings, follow in the independent footsteps of her elder brother.
Despite the relative independence of having her own bank card, however, my daughter is new to budgeting and I am reluctant for her to be let loose online and create too much of a digital trail for herself so early on and all this aside, whatever their age there are still times when they both look to the bank of mum and dad for help and – so what then?
In my case, invariably they will both stalk me around the house with one of their various mobile devices to show me what they have found and ask my opinion, which really is teen speak for “Mum can you buy me this please?”
Of course it is never at a convenient time and not oblivious to their technique of catching me off guard, my get out clause is always to tell them to send me an email with a link so I can have a look later, which is mum speak for “I hope you will forget!” They never do of course as anyone with teens will know.
The result of a quick poll of my fellow bloggers with teenagers in the house, suggests that my teens are not alone in their coercive behaviour and it was exactly this kind of scenario that inspired the female founders of VeeLoop to launch their revolutionary new online payments system to take the hassle out of teens shopping online, whilst simultaneously protecting their privacy. A double win from a parents’ perspective and especially for those with kids and teens who are in the early days of wanting to buy online
So what exactly is VeeLoop and how does it work?
In a nutshell, it is a payment approval service, that quite literally provides a virtual loop (hence the name) between teens and their parents when they are shopping on line.
To operate it is relatively simple once you have got the hang of it. The teenager goes online as normal on their favourite sites, fills their basket and then at the checkout stage selects “Pay Via VeeLoop.” At this point they are asked to enter theirs and their parents’ email along with a message for their parent if they wish and to send the basket to their parents for approval.
The parent then receives an email from VeeLoop, which says that their teen has sent an order for review. A link takes the parent through to the items in the basket where they can either reject the items together with a reason for doing so if they wish, or alternatively if they are happy with the contents they can click confirm and proceed. At this point they are taken through the normal delivery and checkout process.
To use VeeLoop the parent must first of all set up an account so that VeeLoop can manage the information between the teenager and parent as well as the all important payment approval process.
It is this bit which I found extremely satisfying, as it enabled me to look at the list of goods my teens wanted to buy and decide individually which items I was happy for them to have, before saying yes or no and then going ahead to buy them.
More importantly I could do it in my own time without them coercing me to just do it, when I wasn’t really paying any due attention to the cumulative cost.
VeeLoop is still very much in its infancy but the online retailers they do have on board currently, include those we use on a regular basis as a household for toiletries etc as well as some cool new brands that my teenagers have definitely taken a liking to for festival and party gear and in teen world there is always another one of those just around the corner after all.
If you are looking for an online payment method that is easy to navigate; gives your kids and teens a relative sense of independence; takes the hassle out of your teenagers buying online without overspending and ultimately gives you control and the peace of mind of knowing they are not sharing their own details online, keep an eye out for it – it is worth it in terms of removing the hassle factor and my sense is that it won’t be long before it becomes the go to online payment method for all parents of teens with the inclination to press “buy now”.
Editor’s Note – Disclosure – I was approached by VeeLoop and asked to provide my opinion of the service. No payment was received. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and honest.