As the internet gets more and more littered with shops going online — that little boutique in the center of town, that colorful store you only get to visit in summer, and that unforgettable store you found close to home that closed its doors to move to a more affluent area — it becomes necessary to discuss how to shop online. Through my frustrations and blunders, I hope to save you some time in your online endeavors. Whether you are shopping for necessity or pleasure, I will give you some tips to cut down on the stress.
Check Size Charts
One thing to keep in mind when shopping online is that sizing may vary. A perfect example of this is Modcloth. If you have never been to Modcloth.com this is an adventure you must take. The site has great character and a good variety of differing styles. However, Modcloth is a conglomeration of hundreds of different vendors, so although all the clothes come from Modcloth, they originated somewhere else.
This has caused me great trouble in the fact that I bought a dress online from Modcloth and it fit great… so I went back to buy a similar style dress in the same size, but when I got it, I couldn’t even get it over my chest. I learned two things from this experience: I learned to read reviews and I learned to look at the sizing chart before ordering. The sizing chart for different articles of clothing is not always accurate, so you are going to want to read peoples’ reviews on a piece before you buy.
Read Up on Returns
However, sometimes you don’t get the pleasure of learning from other peoples’ mistakes. This is when you are going to want to check the return agreement before you buy. Luckily for me, Modcloth has free returns, and they send you the return form with your order.
I was not so lucky with David’s Bridal Online. I say “David’s Bridal Online” because their online store is completely separate from their physical store. They will not allow you to buy something online and return it in a store. David’s Bridal also has a crazy return policy for online, that you have to contact them within two weeks of them shipping your order to be emailed a number and a place to send your article of clothing. If your package does not reach them within the two weeks, they will not accept it or refund your money.
The process of sending something back to them is so nerve-wracking that I would never shop online with them again, not to mention the fact that you have to pay the return shipping. I felt like I was part of Mission Impossible: Shopping Edition, with the whole “number will self destruct” and secret building thing. It’s not worth the hassle when you can just use a site like eShakti.
EShakti not only customizes their clothing to exact sizes for only $7.50, but they also carry sizes 0-36W in all their dresses. They also have regular sales and they make high quality clothing for reasonable prices. In truth, their prices are a fraction of what David’s Bridal charges, and the quality is infinitely better. I would strongly recommend that you try eShakti for the next time that you need a dress for a company picnic, a dinner out with your friends, or just a splurge after your next promotion.
Shop Local, Online
Finally, let’s talk about a new trend on the internet: clothing stores moving to Facebook. At first, I was a little skeptical about buying from stores on Facebook, but there are a lot of plus sides to shopping this way. One of the pluses is the ability for the store to give you a quick response. I have commented on several different stores’ pictures and received responses within hours. This is great because you have the ability to ask questions about size, length, and color, which might not be seen from the picture.
Also, some stores run sales on Facebook that they do not run in store. One of my favorite stores, Green Eyed Lady, runs a sale every Wednesday night on Facebook. You can also win things from this store online by just liking one of their pictures and commenting on it. They also ship for free.
There are a few little boutiques that I have visited in person that have now moved to Facebook. For instance, I love that Ella Rae Boutique and Miss Demeanor in Cape May, NJ, have done this, because it allows me to shop from them without traveling three and a half hours. I would suggest that if you live anywhere close to these stores to pop in and take a look for yourself, but at the very least you can visit them on Facebook.
I think it’s a good time for a summary of what we have discussed since there are a lot of little details that go into shopping online.
1) Measure yourself. (If you aren’t sure how, have a friend help.)
2) Check sizing information on each article of clothing.
3) Read comments.
4) Check return policy.
5) Try clothing on ASAP.
6) Return, if needed, ASAP.
If you follow these quick, easy steps, I am sure you will save yourself a lot of time and headaches. Shopping online is not foolproof, and I am sure there will still be some small hiccups, but don’t worry — keep shopping.