While online shopping has its perks, it definitely has it’s disadvantages as well. I’ve tried countless websites and have spent one too many paychecks trying various sites. I’ve finally been able to narrow it down to a few that I trust and know well enough to order off of regularly. These are a few tips and things to look out for while online shopping so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.
1. Make sure you’re shopping in the right currency! As simple as this is, many people I’ve known have completely forgotten to check this step and end up completely disappointed once they find out what the real price is. Being from Canada, there have been numerous amounts of times that I’d go online and start loading up my shopping cart and seeing how cheap everything was to notice I was shopping in US dollars. Typically, reputable online shops will have an option at the top, near your cart, to switch currencies. Doing this at the beginning of your shopping spree will spare you from disappointment and keep you on your budget track.
2. Check to see where the products come from. You can probably find out all the information you need by scrolling all the way down and clicking on an ‘about us’ or ‘FAQ’ page. Seeing where they come from can determine how the sizing is probably going to be, how long everything will take to get to you, if returning options will be feasible, and what the quality will be like. As a rule of thumb, being from North America, anything from China typically runs on smaller sizes so I always use the size charts, and for the cheap price, you usually can’t expect the quality to be top notch. Often times wearable, but nothing crazy. Along with size, returns aren’t feasible coming from China so if you’re going to buy something, make sure it’s not risky because chances are you won’t be able to return it.
3. Always do free shipping. I’ll never pay for shipping. Whether or not that’s because I’m cheap is a whole other issue. However, I find the best deals to be ones that have free shipping. Usually it’s a ‘spend over 50 and you get free shipping’ or some deal like that. If you get something coming from external sources and need to return it, you’ll be pretty happy you didn’t have to pay for shipping, as it could get more expensive to return something then its original price. Also see what the return policy is as a majority of sites don’t cover return shipping and handling prices for you. Make sure to keep track of how much you spent on a certain item to see if having it returned is even worth it.
4. Check to see if they pay duty. This one has got me many, many times. They say free shipping, but if it’s anything outside of your home country, you typically have to pay duty and extra taxes for the products to come across your country’s boarder. I’ve had experiences where I’ve gotten charged an extra 50 dollars just for duty fees. In other words, I was not pleased, but you don’t exactly have a choice once you get the statement on your card. Something of this sort should be mentioned if you scroll down to their shipping and handling page.
5. Promo Codes. Sweet, sweet promo codes. Probably the number one reason I shop online, minus the whole no human interaction or having to leave my house thing. For a lot of sites, even shops you shop at frequently in a mall will have email newsletters. Majority of them will give you 15% off or a certain promo deal for your first order if you sign up, so save your email for times when you know you’re going to buy something, as they do expire. Along with newsletter signups, a lot of promos online won’t be advertised on the actual website for obvious reasons, but will be sent out in an email with a code to use at checkout. If you really don’t like receiving emails there are numerous of sites that give you the codes to popular online websites to use at checkout. All you have to do is Google promo codes for ‘_____’ whatever site you desire. Often you’ll have to manually enter promo codes for free shipping, but it’s all worth it in the end when you get a butt load of clothes for a decent price.
Since online shopping, especially for clothes, has become a big part of society in the past couple of years, the stores online often have better deals but sometimes at a cost. As does every business, they want to make money, and tricking people through fine print and hidden charges is one way they often do it. It’s super important to read through their FAQ, about us, and shipping/return pages. If they don’t have one and they’re not a reputable site, it’s probably not worth purchasing from. Another handy tip is to read reviews of the products and the company in general. Even the most notable company on Sephora could have bad reviews, so try not to get too discouraged if all the reviews you see are negative. Typically people only leave comments when something is bad or, in the rare case, exceptionally good. In the end it comes down to trying a few out, not going crazy, and testing the waters to see which sites you like better.
I’m always looking for affordable sites to shop on. If you have any that you use on a regular and trust and isn’t too bad with shipping to Canada, let me know about them. I’ll probably be doing a haul and review of clothes I’ve gotten from various online sites and recommend a few that I use regularly.