Being an online shopping addict, I thought I'd share some of my tips I've learnt over the past few years. I have made many mistakes I hope to not make again, but it really helped me become a smart shopper! I hope these will help some of you, whether you are an experienced online shopper or a newbie! :)
If your looking for that perfect dress for your date tomorrow night, please do not online shop! Whatever you're buying will likely not show up that quickly. I have had a few instances where I've bought from Zara & Garage Clothing (online) and received the item in a day or two! But these were shipped from their warehouse in Montreal to me in Toronto. I have never had an online store from the USA or Europe show up faster than a week. Make sure you are ordering weeks ahead, and that you have a backup outfit, incase what you ordered does not fit!
On 'deal' websites with time limits like Hautelook, Beyond the Rack, and Modnique, it is easy to impulse buy. You think you need it because the deal is so good. Make sure you thouroughly check measurements, fine print, model sizing, and even try googling the garment name. Sometimes you can find bloggers wearing the same item which can help you determine whether you really want it or not.
The same thing can happen with websites like Groupon, WagJag, and TeamBuy. Only buy what you know you will use, or what has already been on your want list. I spent $70+ on 2 vouchers for a Makeup Course and Styling Course on Groupon from TrendiMi, and it was the biggest waste of $70 ever! I learnt nothing from the repetitive, basic jot notes and cartoon face examples of how to apply makeup! I definitely should have done my research first, or only bought 1 course, rather than both courses.
Hautelook, Beyond the Rack, Modnique, Groupon, WagJag, TeamBuy
Use a Credit Card or PayPal:
I wouldn't recommend using a prepaid credit card, especially with small shop or boutique purchases. If you don't end up receiving the item, or it's not as described, it can be easier to go through your credit card company sometimes, for a chargeback. I have never done it, but I have seen many people do it over items not as described.
Don't Send Your Money to a Boutique In an Envelope:
There are a lot of Facebook boutiques out there, and I wouldn't recommend sending them money in an envelope like I have seen many people do. Even if they are reputable, you are putting your money in the hands of the postage company, and I have seen many instances where money has been stolen out of an envelope, or the envelope was never delivered. Instead, ask them if they accept PayPal. Many shops will.
Be Careful Buying from Sellers with Low Ratings & Check Feedback:
Please check the feedback of the seller before you make a purchase. And I'd recommend not buying multiple items until you have experience purchasing from that seller first, so you are familiar with the quality and accuracy of the item. For online shops, you can google "____ Shop Reviews" and you will often find enough information on them to make your decision.
Buying clothes on websites that use other websites photos, or stock photos, always worries me. I'd prefer not to do it. I feel much more comfortable seeing a photo taken by the seller/website. Sometimes sellers that use stock photos, send you something that looks similar, but is not the exact same. The colour, material, and design could be slightly different!
If you are shopping on websites with sellers such as eBay, Etsy, Kijiji, make sure you go over the listing more than once. Sometimes you can miss small details, fine print, or in some cases the seller could potentially edit the listing before your chance to purchase.
No matter what you are buying; whether it be clothes, electronics, household items, decoratives, etc, make sure you are checking the measurements of the item! I have had tons of mishaps where I have bought something that looked huge, but in reality was very tiny, or vice versa. My boyfriend actually bought turn signals for his bike the other day, only to get them in a tiny package, that were 1/3 of the size they should be/looked on eBay because he didn't check the measurements.
Just because the money isn't physically in your hand, do not overspend! You can spend hundreds of dollars without realizing it online. Record what you have bought, and make sure you budget yourself, and don't go over your credit limit!
I know this isn't what you want to hear, but if you don't shop smart, or even if you do, prepare yourself for disappointment! Great sellers and stores can even disappoint by sending defective items. The item colour could be slightly different, not fit you properly, or look terrible on you. There is always that risk you are taking when buying something without physically seeing it in your hand or trying it on.
I know this list is pretty long but the headings pretty much explain everything (if you just skimmed through it :p). What are your tips and tricks for online shopping?