Hello Beautiful Fashionistas,
As you may already know, online shopping is nowadays the most trending way for people to buy goods. Not only because it gives the opportunity to buy products from around the world but also because it is an amazing way to save time! However it can easily become a nightmare and a waste of money; specially if you deal with foreign retailers or small new brands. I started buying clothes and accessories online back in 2011 and I placed many orders that ended up being a one way ticket to headaches. Over the years I have learned a lot from these experiences and finally found my way in this big online world.
Today almost 70% of my wardrobe comes from online stores and eshopping became a big part of my life and my blogging routine. Lately I have been getting questions from some of my Instagram followers about tips to avoid scam and be a better eshopper so I thought it would be a good idea to do a post about it; sharing tips I wish I knew back in 2011 🙂
#1 Website Credibility
Before placing an order from a brand/retailer you don’t know I highly suggest you take the time to verify if the brand/retailer is legit. One of the best way to do this is to research for reviews and tags on social networks like Instagram and Youtube. Verify on Google if you find reviews, go on Instagram to check hashtags with the brand/retailer’s name. The Facebook page is also a good idea.
#2 Customer review section
Always check if there is a review section on the website. If yes, you could find pictures uploaded by customers. This will help you get more informations about service, shipping, sizing and quality but most of all you will be able to see if the item you want to buy looks just like the picture advertised by the brand/retailer.
#3 The sizing chart
Make sure you know your size before buying. Check the sizing chart for correspondences, especially if you buy from a foreign brand/retailer. Usually asian sizes are smaller than US and european sizes so you better go one size up if buying from China unless you see customers’ pictures or read a review saying it fits true to size.
For your first order, I suggest you go for stretchy or oversized items so you will be able to wear them even if you don’t get the size right. That being said, if you buy a dress, go for a midi or maxi dress (less chance for the dress to be too short on you). If you buy shoes, try to avoid 4inch+ high heel /stiletto shoes (particularly if you are not used to the height), prefer flats, sneakers or sandals with small heel. If you buy a swimsuit, go for a onepiece or a two pieces that you can tie yourself (that way you can adjust the fit). The point here is to play it safe until you get familiar with that brand/retailer.
#4 Set a budget
Don’t spend too much on your first order. I know affordable prices and sale season can be tempted but it is also the best way to end up frustrated with a bunch of items that don’t meet your expectations. Set a budget you know you will be okay with in case you have to return items.
#5 The Shipping
Free shipping is the best, I think we all agree on that. However you should never buy more just to get it. Always buy what you really like and want. If you buy small items and the shipping fee is almost the same with the amount you are about to spend then you should maybe ask yourself if you really need those items. Sometimes you can find the same items on other websites that offer more affordable shipping options so take couple minutes to do your research.
Also take a minute to verify the shipping company that the brand/retailer is using and if there will be customs fees. I have had some unpleasant experiences where I had to pay customs duties which I did not know about before (the shipping company was DHL in most cases). Some brands/retailers are very bad at being transparent with their fees; particularly when it comes to express shipping so be aware !
If you take standard shipping, try to shop on business days, like Monday/Tuesday, your order should be shipped out faster. It is also easier to get in touch with customer service if you want to modify it.
#6 Sales and Coupon codes
Brands/retailers will most often go on sale at the beginning of a new season or at midseason and it is THE moment you don’t want to miss. Check for coupon codes and visit often your favorite estores. There is no way I would have been able to buy nice designers bags if it was not for Nordstrom, SSENSE and THEOUTNET sales ( I am obsessed with bags, don’t ask me why 🙂 ). I like to visit my favorite brands/retailers Instagram pages to see if they’ve shared coupon codes which they do every time they go on sale.
Subscribing to brands/retailers newsletters is also another good way to get discounts and of course you can unsubscribe whenever you want (after receiving your order might be better).
#7 Get a Refund
If you are in the situation where unfortunately you need to return an item do it as soon as you can because the process can be very long, especially if you want an exchange. When in that situation I prefer to ask for a refund; it is usually easier and less frustrating. If the reason why I am sending back the item is because it does not fit and I really want that item, I place a new order with the right size, send back the wrong item with tracking number and ask a refund for that first order and generally get my new item and the refund approximately at the same time. When dealing with customer service for a refund it always helps to mention that you placed a new order for the same item and give them the order number.
#8 Buy The Design not The Brand
What I mean is that you should not always focus on the brand. Ask yourself if you like that item because of the brand or because of the design and style. When not shopping for bags (my main obsession) I always browse the internet for same style.
Same thing with the trending Cult Gaia bamboo ark bag
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t say the quality will be the same but if you browse the internet right, you should find good quality, particularly if the item is very trendy. I am not talking about fake items here; I am talking about same style from a cheaper brand. So before buying the expensive designer one, research the item name on Google without the brand name and see what you find. But hey, if you like designers items, you can also price comparing for the best deal between well known big retailers.
#9 Know what suits you best
The way I see it is that you have to know your body. Personally I did not start buying shoes online until last year because I know how complicated it is for me to find beautiful shoes that are comfortable on my feet. I have weird feet…long story short, pumps are most of the time a bit too tight on my left foot so I always wanted to try shoes before buying. Over time I learned to recognize shoes styles that will hurt my feet for sure. How did I learn it ? by trying on and shopping in stores. It may sound obvious but in store shopping will help you shop better online by helping you figuring out what suits you. This works for colthes, shoes but also for accessories like sunglasses.
#10 Get Recommendations
Last but not least, if you are new to online shopping, it would be a good idea to ask for recommendations from friends or bloggers who shop a lot online. People are usually happy to share their favorite shopping experiences.
So tell me, what is your best tip when shopping online?