Online shopping; tips and tricks

I shop online constantly. As a matter of fact, I shop online way more often than I shop in stores. Part of the reason for this is that I really don’t have a lot of money and I’ve found that if I stay out of stores my wallet stays a happier, fuller environment and I can afford important things like groceries.

Having said that, I adore online shopping. Most people I meet can’t seem to understand why I enjoy it so much and have expressed their distaste for the online market. I decided that the reason these naysayers are raining on my parade is simply because they don’t know the right way to shop online. When I came to this conclusion, I thought it would be really fun to share a handy guide to online shopping, so here goes!

Whenever I’m shopping online, there are a few important things I do.

1) bookmark, bookmark, bookmark

The great thing about online shopping is that you don’t have to decide what store or mall to go to. It’s also great because once you’re at a particular site, who’s to say you can’t search for the same garment at a lower price elsewhere before you make your purchase? I have a folder on my computer reserved specifically for “things I want to buy ASAP”. I tend to do this a lot with handmade items that I can’t afford but would love to own when I do have the money. It helps keep me prioritized when shopping. If I liked something enough to add it to my bookmark list, it automatically trumps something I’ve seen in passing.
It is also important to bookmark online vendors that you like. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a site that I adore, only to forget what it is and regret not bookmarking it. If you’re like me, eventually you’ll find a few hotspots that you check out regularly because they’ve done you well in the past.

2) Read reviews

One of the biggest complaints I hear about online shopping is that you can’t try things on before you buy them. I know that the sensory part of shopping is quite important but it is not all lost online. Most sites offer a section for reviews on the particular item you’re looking at. I can’t count how many times I’ve been dissuaded from buying something because of the reviews. Learn from other people’s mistakes! This is where you’re going to find out if the fabric is cheap or the bust fits weird. If you see a lot of negative reviews, chances are you aren’t going to like the garment either. Best to pass it up. However, if you do make a mistake…

3) Read return policies BEFORE buying

You CAN return things to online vendors. Exciting right?! The only drawback to this is depending where you’re buying from, the return policies vary greatly. Sites like modcloth, free people, and mod cloth all offer free returns. Sadly, some sites do not. If you think you’re taking a chance on what you’re buying, make sure the company has a gracious return policy. Nothing is worse than buying something you hate, paying shipping for it, then paying MORE shipping to get rid of it. Be sure you’re well versed on the return policies of wherever you’re shopping.

4) Pay attention to shipping costs

This is the other major drawback to online shopping, but an easy one to avoid. One main reason to shop online is to get a deal that you won’t find in stores. Most of the sites I frequent offer discounted prices on items. The way I look at it is that if I’m getting a discount, I don’t mind paying that extra $10.00 for shipping. Especially if I’m sure that I’ll love whatever it is that I’m buying. However, some places charge WAY TOO MUCH for shipping. In my opinion, you really shouldn’t ever have to pay more than ten dollars to have a garment shipped to you. This obviously changes if you’re buying something like furniture, but as far as that cute summer dress you’ve been drooling over goes, ten is more than enough for shipping. Don’t get trapped into paying ridiculous shipping prices!

5) Look for deals

There are about a billion gazillion (yes…that is a real number) discounted designer retailers online. No matter who you are, you CAN find a discounted price on what you’re looking for if you’re patient enough. Some of my favorite places to find great prices are as follows:

Private Membership Only Sales
Gilt Group

A little something fashionable for all
Shop Bop
Mod Cloth

My Favorite Vintage
Billie Goat Vintage
Marion Mercer
Chic and You Shall Find

Lara Lewis

Urban Outfitters

The Happiest little e-mail of my week
Shop it to Me

I hope this changed your opinion (at least a little?) on online shopping! I know I love it, so you should too.

Have a beautiful Saturday

2 thoughts on “Online shopping; tips and tricks

  1. That is some really good advice! I don't have a lot of experience with online shopping, just really Trademe which is kind of like a New Zealand version of EBay. I have always been curious about shopping at store websites so I'm certainly going to use your advice :D

  2. thanks for the advice!the major hurdle for me and online shopping is that they often don't ship to canada. or, i'll have to pay duty and taxes on the item when it is shipped to me. in the end it doesn't save much. and yeah, i think i'll be a store shopper forever for things like clothes, unless it was somewhere like h&m, where i have bought so many things from them i know what size i need in which style shirt, etc! ha ha…

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