Guest Post: Top 5 Tips for Online Shoppers

While shopping in-store can be fun (especially seeing the product with your own eyes and touching the goods with your hands), I’m incredibly in favour of – and prefer – online shopping. I love the convenience, multiple options and ease.

I find that although everything is so accessible at just a click of a button, I have so much more self-control. I’m not walking through a mall with a friend, coffee in hand, chatting, laughing and losing track of time. There’s no walking past a window with lights, beautiful clothes or the sale signs. I may still buy a lot, but I find myself more likely to only buy what I need, or at least stick to a budget.

Online shopping provides a quick, efficient and easy way to shop. You can see photos of the product, including different angles, zoom in and read a product description. For clothes and accessories, this may include desired fit, how to wash or care for the item, styling ideas as well as consumer reviews. Unlike going to a department store or boutique, you can shop 24 hours a day – you can shop in the comfort of your own home – in your pyjamas, with a beverage of your choice and in front of your favourite TV show if you so wish. Laptop, tablet, smartphones… they are all compatible with shopping online and many websites have different versions tailored to whatever device you use.

You are in control. At the click of a button you can fill your shopping basket, remove items or, if you create/log in to an account, you can create a wishlist. This wishlist will be available for you whenever you go back to the site – an effective way to gather items you love and may someday buy when finances or time allow… the online version of window shopping.

I consider myself a seasoned online shopper. I do it regularly and love the thrill of opening my front door to a package full of clothes, shoes, accessories, beauty products or gifts.

There’s an element of risk – you want to get your money’s worth and be sure you’re buying from a reputable business. With this in mind, I’ve compiled five fantastic tips that will be perfect to prepare the inexperienced online shopper as well as providing a good reminder to the expert online shopper of how to make sure the experience doesn’t end in disaster.

Ensure reputability of the website and business

Make sure the website or brand is legitimate. This is most important, and will ensure that you’re less likely to be scammed. You can do this by looking for the consumer/browser-verified tick of approval (there will be a padlock in the bottom right hand corner of the browser window). Also look at the information available on the website (either tabs on the side or links at the bottom of the page), which should include an about page, frequently asked questions, contact information (make sure there’s a phone number, email address and street address) and customer service information. If I’ve never used the website before and am not completely familiar with the brand, I do a Google search and see what information is available independent of the website I have looked at. Word of mouth is always a good source of information too, so ask around with family and friends.

Be aware of the importance of true sizing

I have a few items that are a ‘must try on’. This means unless I’ve purchased that brand before and know my size in the item, I won’t buy them online. Mine include jeans, swimwear and for the most part shoes. These are items that sizes can vary depending on the make, brand and materials used. They’re also items I like to try on before I buy to get a feel for the fit and make sure I’m comfortable and happy with the look. I recommend each online shopper do this too.

When shopping on a website for clothes, make sure you check the sizing information available, including sizing charts (measurements and sizes for different countries) and compare your size and current measurements (yes – get out that measuring tape).

Read the product description – if it states a piece runs small, consider choosing a bigger size. If the website has consumer reviews on the product, spend some time reading them – pay attention to any cons mentioned, such as poor fit, quality or difference in sizing differing to the product description.

How much ship for your shop?

Now to get your purchase to you, be aware of the shipping charges you will face. I recommend looking into this prior to browsing! It’s a lot harder to stop yourself buying all the pretty items once you’ve gotten attached to them. If you feel you’ll be overcharged by the shipping cost, look for similar items elsewhere.

Free shipping is obviously better than the loaf of sliced bread that people always rave about – many sites do have this or have free shipping once you spend over a certain amount (often around $50, which is pretty reasonable). The next best thing is a flat rate, which is a basic shipping rate (usually ships over a longer period) that doesn’t change with how much or even how little you buy, which is a great opportunity to stock up and buy a lot of items.

And don’t forget to look at how much it could cost you to send an item back. There’s always the risk that something won’t fit or be as lovely in your hands as it looked online.

Always consider the time

It’s important to be mindful of when you need the item, the delivery estimation and where the product is coming from. Remember that whatever delivery time the site gives you is an estimation – the package could arrive before, but it could even come at a later time. If you’re buying for something in the distant future or ‘just because’, there shouldn’t be an issue. If you need it for the next week and you don’t have the express guarantee of 1-3 working days, you may not have the items for when you need them. Just leave yourself enough time to receive the item. This will ensure you’re not stressed and anxiously awaiting the arrival, but excited for when it arrives at your door.

Make like a VIP and keep informed

Keep yourself in the know! If there are brands or sites you love, subscribe to their emails. You’ll receive great updates on the brands including new designs but you’ll also be privy to any sales they have – including special deals (such as 24-48 hour spot sales/offers) or invitations to member events. It’s a great way to get the most for your money and stay brand savvy.
I hope you have found this useful for your ventures in the online shopping world. Have a lot of fun. Enjoy browsing, enjoy buying and most importantly – enjoy your purchases!

Kooklah Xx from For the Style Seeking Girl

About the Author

Sarah Giakoumatos(Kooklah) loves fashion, makeup, and online shopping! When she is not hunting for bargains online, she blogs at For the Style Seeking Girl.

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