Shopping Online Without Fear

July 12, 2017

In talking to some of my friends I realized that not many people are comfortable with shopping online. I’m not talking about shopping on secure websites and being careful where you put your credit card information. It’s 2017, everyone should really be familiar with the basic rules of internet safety.  

I’m talking about the irrational fear that somehow when purchasing clothes online your computer, laptop, phone, whatever somehow turns into a retail Decepticon, whose mission is to fool you into making unwise purchases that you will be stuck with for all eternity. And for the rest of your life, that dress will hang in your closet mocking you and your foolishness.  

It’s not that serious.

The fact is the face of retail is changing. Every year so many companies are closing their stores because it’s not making sense. People walk around with tiny little computers in their hands and everything is at their fingertips. It’s so much easier to browse in the comfort of your sofa, place an order and have it arrive at your door in 3-5 business days. We all have the ability to make purchases quickly and easily. It can’t get any easier… well, it can and I’ll show you how.

When shopping online there are a couple of things to keep in mind

Do your due diligence.

Know where/who you are purchasing from. If something looks too good to be probably is. This past year on Facebook there were so many people posting their prom dress nightmares..these people did not do their research. A dress that is sold elsewhere for upwards of $300 cannot logically be made available for $50. At least not one that you can wear out in public…in front of people. A quick internet search can show you whether a company is legit or not. If a customer has ever been duped, believe me, they will let the world know. I guess people are helpful like that.

Read the return policy.

Retailers know that e-commerce is the queen. And they are reacting accordingly. One benefit to the consumer (and one that I particularly like) is that for many retailers when you order online you can make any returns IN STORE. Make sure you understand the return policy of the retailer you are buying from. If a retailer does not offer free shipping and/or returns outright, they may have reward programs that can give you that benefit. For example, Bloomingdale’s has their Loyalist program. It’s free to sign up, offers free shipping and returns and you earn points with every purchase. The take away here is that retailers know that their business is going digital. They want your business and their e-commerce policies generally reflect that.

Know your brands and know your sizing.  

This is important. If you know how a particular size in a particular brand fits you then I don’t think shopping online is much of a risk. If you wear a size 6 in Banana Republic pants, I think you can order a size 6 in the new fall line with a relative degree of certainty that it will fit. Understanding that all brands may be sized differently and knowing how this translates to you and your wardrobe makes online shopping that much easier.

Read Reviews.

Shopping online has a nifty little added benefit, called reviews!  I use them..all..the..time. If there are reviews available use them to your advantage. Another shopper may provide some insight on the fit, sizing and even photo color distortion that can help you make an informed decision. Reviews are a great way to keep surprises to a minimum.  

Coupons and Cash Back.

There are so many sites out there that scour the web to find coupons just for you. There’s always a coupon somewhere. Pairing coupons with free shipping is always a sweet deal. Even sweeter, you can always sign up with sites like Ebates which give you cashback on all your purchases. You can’t get that in a store. Just think of it as a little reward for shopping:) Additionally, when you find retailers you like, sign up for their emails. They will send you little goodies that aren’t available to everyone.  

Online shopping is the evolution of retail and it doesn’t have to be scary. Know your brands, know your sizing and use available resources to your advantage.


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