I shop online for two reasons, 1) I blog fashion, which exposes me to more online shopping than your average person, and 2) I live in New Zealand… where we have horribly few retail options that meet price and style half way. Online shopping isn’t always easy though, and I’ve heard plenty of horror stores (and experienced at least one of my own). These are a few of the tips I’ve picked up over the past few years for rocking at online shopping.
1. Shop Around
You don’t have to do all your online shopping in one place, and you can shop around to get a better deal. I like to use Google’s Boutiques.com for this. In the search box, enter the name of the item you’re looking for and you’ll be presented with a mass of options – some of which include the same option available in different online stores at different prices (one of them will be cheaper!).
When you see something you like, hover over it and then where it says ‘Visually Similar Items’ click on ‘See All’ – viola! A whole lot more goodness!
2. Take Measurements
I mean measurements for all kinds of things, especially lengths! The last thing you want is to order a cute top only to find out that it’s actually a crop top when you’re just not into that sort of thing. If the retailer gives you measurements, then take note. If they don’t, then send an email and ask. If you’re not too sure on how to measure yourself, then click here for a guide (with pictures). Another option is to compare the measurements of the clothing to clothing that you already own.
It can also help you know what size the model is (if they use a model), and what size clothing she’s wearing. I find comparisons like these in particular immensely helpful in deciding which size to buy.
2. Keep An Eye on Shipping
That (above) being said, before getting to immersed in a particular online store, check its shipping rates and determine whether or not you’re willing to pay it. A lot of places do offer free shipping / free shipping on orders over $X (which is GREAT), but a lot still don’t and you want to be aware of what you’re getting into! Nothing sucks more than finding the perfect pair of shoes only to find that the cost of shipping makes purchasing them totally unfeasible.
3. Look for (and Read) Reviews
One of the hardest things about buying online is the fact that you don’t always know if what you’re buying is going to fit you. There is a way around this – especially with the more well known brands. I find that reading customer reviews is immensely useful for figuring out which brands size small and when to go up/down a size. This works for a whole range of scenarios to how comfortable is the clothing, is it see through or what’s the quality like?
You can try Googling things like ‘Jeffrey Campbell reviews’ or even try more specific questions such as ‘how do J Brand jeans fit?’ It’s always worth checking out because the information is totally free.
5. Be Familiar with Import Tax Thresholds
If you’re buying online internationally, then you need to be aware of your home country’s import taxes. Usually these are only applied if you spend over a certain threshold (in New Zealand its NZ$400). If your package records a spend in excess of this, they’ll hold it and demand you hand over even more of your cash.
You’ll also want to be aware of any discounts or free shipping offers that keep your spend under the threshold; because these may not necessarily be reflected on the invoice sent with your package. Keep a record of your receipt so that if your package is unfairly held up at customs you can contest having to pay the fee.
Other Little Things…
Be smart about shopping online. Only give out your credit card number on secure sites, take not of any returns policies (though it may not be feasible if you have to foot the bill for shipping the item back) and finally, read any customer reviews to get an idea as to what other people are saying about a particular retailer.
There you have it, my tips for shopping online (any hopefully rocking at it)! Now, over to you… What are your tips for shopping online? How do make online shopping work for you?