As a fashion-obsessed human being, I have been devouring fashion & beauty blogs and online shops for years and years. After many years of also purchasing clothing and beauty products online, I compiled in my head a list of tips that I always go through every time I plan on buying something online. Because online shopping is such a joyful experience! You’re sitting cozily on your couch, sipping on wine or coffee (depending the time of the day you’re doing this) and you’re browsing, looking and tens of items at once to see which one will catch you eye. You are getting this overview of the offer at a higher speed than when you go in a shop, all from the comfort of your house. Indeed, you cannot examine the time closely, you cannot try it on, check for problems or test the foundation on your skin. That is why certain products I prefer to buy in a brick and mortar shop, such as pants, lingerie or foundation (Lying here, I actually bought a Korean foundation online but after tons of research and also knowing that my European skin would be a bit darker. I have experience this with a Japanese BB cream).
With that being said, here’s my 10 general tips for online shopping like a pro:
Of course, one of the most important tip for online shopping is to pay on a secure website. This is crucial! If you are worried, use a Paypal account that is not connected to any card – in addition, you have more protection as a buyer if you are using Paypal anyway. I will not delve into this, as this post is focusing more on the fun part of shopping – browsing and picking the goodies, but Mashable has an article with some great ones on safety tips for online shopping.
Be up to date with the latest offers
If you really like a brand, subscribe to their newsletter and make an account on your website. That way you get notified about any promotions or new products. Plus, there are shops that have a loyalty program that allows you to add points nd later transform them into discounts.
If you prefer not to be flooded with such emails, you can create a new email address that will be filled only with awesome fashion & beauty emails every day, luring you to spend your money on their stuff. The advantage of creating a new email address is that it will not clog up your personal inbox, and you will be less tempted to spend your money. Thus, whenever you really want to buy something, you can go into your ‘shopping’ email and see what’s new. Cool, right?
Do the research and be patient
If you are looking for a specific piece of clothing, let’s say a velvet slip dress, make sure to check out on several retailers. You could find very similar pieces, so it’s worth to do your research and compare the prices to get the best deal.
Have a look at the sales first
Every time I enter a shop, I ALWAYS look first in their sales section. And you should be doing this when you’re shopping online too! As I said previously, with online shopping allowing you to see more items at once, imagine how easy it is to simply scroll through the sales pages instead of going by hand through each leftover blouse on the sales rack (plus it can get crowded and annoying)
Hunt for coupons and special offers
Before you check out and pay, make sure you have done some research on coupons and special offers. You could either do a simple Google search, or simply pay attention to the actual shop’s discounts. Very often, newcomers have a first time discount code, and also holiday periods are a great time!
However, beware of deals that make you spend more than intended (even though I always fall in this trap). If you have to spend 50E to get free shipping but you wanted something that cost 10E, and the shipping would be 5E, then you are definitely saving more money than going with the free shipping option. But, if you still want to take advantage of the free shipping, you can delay the shopping spree until you have a cart that reaches that amount – with products that you actually need and not fluff.
Investigate thoroughly to avoid disappointment
Make sure to check out the details of the items you want to buy – everything from materials, whether it is stretchy or not, if you can wash by hand etc. When you are in a shop, you can actually feel the material and quickly have a look at the tag. But here, you have to be extra careful.
Read customers’ reviews
I always use this especially for beauty and makeup products. I am always reading customer reviews either on the website or on reddit, particularly if I’m loking for foundation or primers. I want to see how other people with my skin type and color rate products I would like to buy. By the way, this also helps if you choose to buy beauty/makeup products in a brick and mortar shop.
I remember reading once a comment of a customer advising European customers to go for one size up when it comes to shoes. And boy, was that helpful! I am usually a size 36 in shoes (37 at Primark) but buying online on Asian websites, I go for 37 and it’s perfect!
No matter the customer review, be skeptic about it. If you read bad reviews and are worried, you could still give the shop a try and start with a small buy ( no more than 10E for example) and take it from there.
Check out the return policy
As much fun online shopping can be, it can also be risky. You cannot try on the products or inspect them for faults. If you are unsure about a product, make sure you read the return policy. Make sure you see whether shipping costs would be covered how long would it take etc. you any purchases!
Triple check the size chart
Take all measurements and make sure they correspond. If you usually wear an M from H&M that doesn’t mean you are an M on all websites. Each online shop has its own sizing chart (sometimes each item). After measuring everywhere, make sure they match as closely as possible the one of your dream dress. I your measurements are matching exactly the ones of your dream dress, have a look at the type of material. If it’s synthetic, it will be fitted. If it’s natural, it will be a bit looser. Think about this when you decide.
Make a wish list that you can tweak
First, add to your wish list anything that catches you eye – this is the most fun part of online shopping, clicking ‘add to cart’ to anything you fancy. After all this wine-fueled ecstatic experience, you have to wake up and realize that you cannot simply buy a whole bunch of cute sheet masks that add up to 100E. Before deciding to check out, go through your cart one more time and look for similar products, for example. You can always have a wish list and a cart, so items that you don’t buy now, you can buy later.
Which of these tips are the most important for you? What are your tips for online shopping tips and favorite online shops? Let me know in the comments below !