In today’s digitally run kingdom of selfies, Netflix & Chill, Pokemon Go, and Insta-fame it’s no surprise that even our most mundane tasks can be carried out with the click of a button or the swipe of a finger. You can even buy your groceries online and have them shipped straight to your door if you’re that serious about not putting pants on (I know I am).
For me personally, the entire process of shopping for clothes is one I'd rather avoid. There’s either too many options or not enough, my size is always gone, there’s never enough black, and then of course there’s all the people who haven’t learned the concept of personal space. And that's without mentioning the worst part - dressing room lighting.
Needless to say, shopping online has quickly become a lifesaver. And chances are, if you’re visiting the site, you feel the same to some degree. So, I figured I’d share some of my top tips for shopping for clothes online. Most of these are pretty general and can be applied to any online retailer, however, there are also a handful that are unique to Amazon since that’s the platform I utilize the most.
1. Know Your Sizes
This will take a little work up-front on your part, but is completely worth it. Simply spend some time trying on different styles, brands, and sizes of clothes and keep a note in your phone of what looks the best. You could even take photos of how the garments look on you so you have an idea of what could be paired with them. For example, if you already know that a size 29 W 33 L, low rise, boot-cut jean in X brand looks good on you, you can purchase that online with confidence. It's also a good idea to know your measurements and body type as this will help a lot with buying from brands that you might not have worn before. Which brings me to my next tip...
2. Utilize Size Charts
Basically every online retailer has a size chart listed with their products. If you are unfamiliar with the brand it’s a good idea to take a glance at this to determine what size you should order. What if your measurements don't line up perfectly with the chart? Keep reading.
3. Read the Comments
If you fall between a measurement on the chart and aren't sure if you should go up a size or down a size, you can always look to the comments/reviews on the items. On Amazon especially there is usually a ton of useful information in the product reviews. Customers will often post photos of themselves wearing the garments along with their measurements which can be extremely helpful if one of those people happen to have a similar body type to yours.
Also on Amazon, most clothing items have a “fit expectation” on their product page below the price. This will let you know if the item fits as expected or runs small or large based on customer reviews.
4. Know the Return Policy
Returning items - especially those bought from an online retailer that doesn’t also have a physical storefront - can be a huge pain. Unfortunately, if you do much online shopping this will be a part of the game at some point. To save yourself some major potential frustration, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re aware of the retailer’s return policy BEFORE you place your order.
Most retailers offer full refunds with a receipt within a certain amount of time after the purchase. But some do not. And some offer exchanges only.
To find this information on an Amazon seller, look at the product description page. Under your color options you’ll see “sold by …..” Click on the seller’s name, and from there you can click on Refunds and Returns to view their return policy.
5. Shipping Time vs Processing Time
Need your outfit by this weekend? Most places offer overnight or 2nd day shipping. However, this doesn’t always include processing time which could take a week in itself. The retailer will usually include how many days it takes to process an order somewhere near their shipping options. Just make sure to give yourself plenty of time. I like to allow for an entire extra day added on to the estimated delivery date just to be safe.
6. Ask Questions
If ever in doubt about sizing, return policies, or shipping and processing time your best bet is to always just ask. Most online retailers have contact information where you can receive customer support pretty quickly - if not immediately. Come on, you know the control freak inside of you wants to ask ALL the questions haha.
7. Seller Feedback
This one applies mainly to shopping on websites like Amazon or Ebay where anyone can sell anything. It is important in these cases to make sure you are buying from a reputable seller.
If you click on the seller’s name it will take your to their information page where their seller feedback score is listed. This score is based on the percentage of customers who were happy with their transaction vs those who were not.
You can also just take a look at the product reviews as these will usually include great customer feedback as well.
8. Free Shipping
Who doesn’t like free stuff?! Amazon offers free 2-day shipping to Prime members. There are also individual sellers on the site who will offer free regular shipping after you have spent a certain amount of money. Quite a few other online retailers will offer this perk as well, just keep an eye out for it.
9. Promo Codes
One of my favorite ways to save money when shopping online is to look for promo codes. Anytime I order anything at all I always type “promo code for x” into google to see if I can come up with a quick discount. You’d be surprised with how much savings are hidden in plain sight!
10. Leave Items In Your Cart
Don’t need your clothes in a rush? Sometimes it pays (literally) to leave them in your cart for a few days.
With Amazon if you are signed in and create a shopping cart but don’t check out, they will always email you to see if you are still interested in the items left behind. Don’t throw out those emails! A large percentage of the time, Amazon will discount the items in your cart as an incentive for you to buy them. So unless you lack impulse control like I do, sit back and wait for your savings.