A girlfriend recently admitted to me that she still hasn’t “gotten into” online shopping, and I have to say, this isn’t the first time someone in my age bracket has expressed this sentiment...
As completely jaw-dropping as I find the notion of not enjoying or partaking in online shopping, it did make me think it might be time to divulge all my tips and tricks that I use to make online shopping a smooth and enjoyable process. Now let me start by saying online shopping and me go way, way back. I used to order things I saw in magazines via phone and money order when I was a teenager pre-internet, and I distinctly remember my first orders to Shopbop and Net-A-Porter when the sites were in their infancy. I’m on a first-name basis with my DHL delivery man (Hi Pete!), and I’m pretty sure my husband will vouch for the fact that I’m an expert based on the number of weekly packages left on our doorstep. So how do I make the entire online shopping experience a success? Read on to find out and also shop my edit of the most covetable clothes and accessories to buy now…
Words: Marisa Remond | Photo: Grace Alyssa Kyo
1. Have a Handful of Go-To Sites to Rely on
It’s true, there are more online stores around than ever before, but that doesn’t mean you need to scour them all when looking for your next purchase. Narrowing down your selection to a handful of trustworthy sites ensures you see a wide range of options without being totally overwhelmed. My weekly go-to sites include Net-A-Porter, MATCHESFASHION, Shopbop, J.Crew and Mango. If I can’t find what I’m looking for from these guys, I have a second-round of sites I rely on and keep filtering until I find what I’m looking for. Once you gain confidence shopping from familiar sites, you can add to your repertoire and start hunting for lesser-known brands in lesser-known places, but as a general rule, it’s safest to start with the main guys and work from there.
2. Window Shop Often
Yes, even when you’re not actually going to purchase. The beauty of online shopping means you can browse latest arrivals, get inspired, add to cart and then close your laptop. Even if it takes you hours, days or even weeks to decide to buy something, at least you’re keeping on top of your favourite stores regularly so you’re better equipped at purchasing when you are ready to commit. I browse online stores the same way I browse online newspapers and blogs – daily or weekly. It means I’m constantly inspired and ready to buy when I need something fast.
3. Be Ruthless With Newsletter Subscriptions
Subscribing to online store newsletters can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you’re constantly updated on new arrivals and sales, but on the other hand, you’re getting a hefty dose of emails (and temptation!) when you don’t always really need it. I’m pretty ruthless with my email subscriptions and only let a handful of stores and brands send me marketing material. I also keep these emails in a separate folder so I don’t have to see them unless I really want to. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting early access to sales and having secret VIP codes, but limiting these to no more than a handful means a more tightly edited selection to choose from and less of the stuff you don’t want.
4. Unsure of Sizing? Buy Two, Return One
This process is made all the more simple when online stores have generous and flexible return policies, and luckily enough, most of them do now. If you’re usually in-between sizes or are shopping from a brand you’ve never worn before, don’t risk it! Buy two sizes, try on at home and simply return the one that doesn’t fit best. If this sounds like a hassle, trust me, it isn’t. With free courier pick-ups on offer, it’s simply a matter of making a phone call. I also make a point of organising returns on the same day as delivery to ensure I don’t get too lazy and have boxes lying around at home. Efficiency is key here!
5. Filters are Everything
If you’re simply searching via the ‘Shop All’ button, immediately stop what you’re doing! There’s no use being confronted and tempted with hundreds of options when they don’t come in your size, ideal colour or price point, so take them out of the equation before you even bother looking. I always like to search via size (you can choose more than one if you’re in-between sizes or just not sure), colour and price point (usually low-to-high so I stop scrolling when I hit my mental price limit), as this gives me a more curated selection of pieces I know will suit exactly what I’m looking for.
My Most Frequently Visited Sites And What To Buy Now:
Quick shipping, easy and free returns, amazing selection of brands. NO brainer (especially when it’s sale time)! Go to www.net-a-porter.com
Net-A-Porter’s sister site is one newsletter to keep in your inbox! Their pieces move seriously fast so get in quick, and don’t forget to check out their own line, Iris and Ink, for wearable and luxe pieces. Go to www.theoutnet.com
Barneys New York
Barneys’ sales are legendary, often offering up to 60% off already reduced prices. I always check them out when I’m after a designer pick-me-up or something special for the kids. Go to www.barneys.com
Who can go past the variety on offer or the affordable prices? Not me. Bonus mention for their amazing selection of trainers (Adidas and Nike are always particularly abundant). Go to www.asos.com
My heart skips a beat when browsing Smallable – possibly one of the best selection of kidswear available online in one place. But beware, shipping to Australia is super expensive so try and do a bulk order with friends or wait for sale time to make it truly worth it. Go to www.en.smallable.com
Marks & Spencer
Your one-stop-shop when it comes to baby-supplies and affordable kids fashion. I’ve also recently discovered their Isabella lace bralets and knickers which look and feel way more expensive than they are. Go to www.marksandspencerlondon.com
I buy my kids pieces from here almost monthly. The quality is terrific, pricing super affordable and delivery quick and reliable. Especially good if you’re on the hunt for pyjamas, singlets and socks for little ones that stand the test of time. Go to www.next.com.au