Online shopping is a great way to find great original fashion designs, fantastic bargains, great-odds competitions, shop when you want and have it all delivered to your door, saving you from the headaches of crowded parking stations and shopping centres.
Whether it's online clothes shopping, online gift shopping, shoes, jewellery and makeup shopping or finding that special gift idea you'll find online shopping from original and independent stores or the big corporate retailers easier from home than getting around to all the shopping malls.
We love safe online shopping so we thought we'd get together a series of useful tips about online shopping:
1. Email newsletters are great for keeping track of sales, specials, new designs and online competitions - from online magazines and blogs to individual online retailers - so be sure to sign up and check them out. When you want to unsubscribe make sure you use the unsubscribe link rather than hitting the nasty spam button that harms the small business behind the newsletter.
2. Google images is a good way to search for what you're looking for as it quickly lets you see what's being offered and compare it to other products.
3. Check the details of the goodies in the shopping cart to be sure they are what you think you've ordered, especially from drop down lists. There's no use getting upset with the retailer for sending you what's in the order and it's not what you thought you clicked. You're responsible for what you put in the shopping cart, the retailer is responsible for shipping what's listed in the order.
4. Look at the shipping costs, times and returns policy for your online shopping delivery so you can be sure you know what's involved. If in doubt email and ask.
5. While international online shopping is fun keep in mind that a lot of US based businesses have expensive postal services such as FedEx, DHL etc that can incur extra fees for coming into Australia (usually over $100). It is often better to use the USPS (equivalent to Australia Post) service than a corporate courier as the shipper.
6. Free online shopping - there's no such thing as free shipping - the cost of shipping will be absorbed into the prices of the goodies as shipping is a business cost. Saying it's free shipping is a good marketing ploy so if price is the most important thing for you make sure you know your comparative shopping and can compare the pricing of the goods.
7. Remember that shipping takes longer at the peak Christmas time so allow for this when ordering. Check to see if there's an express post option if you're in Australia Post's service area for this. If delivery times are important then call the online retailer and talk with them about what's possible. Keep in mind that being polite and friendly will get much better results than being bossy and uppity (yes, some people still think being nasty works better than having good-grace).
8. Credit cards and PayPal are great ways for secure online shopping as they give you some buyer's protection for missing parcels. If the parcel doesn't turn up and the sender cannot provide proof of sending then you can get a refund. If the sender can provide proof of sending, such as a receipt from Australia Post then the issue is with Australia Post, not the retailer. Australia Post will more likely be delayed in delivering a parcel rather than loosing one completely but paying the little bit more for insured or registered parcels will take away this risk. Express Post parcels cannot be insured. Registered Parcels can be insured but have a slower delivery time because they are being tracked.
9. Online shopping forums are great ways to find out about products and services. If in doubt, you can also test out an online shop with an initial small order before ordering up big. Keeping an eye on their email newsletters will also give you a feeling for the business too.
10. When sending an email in to an online business keep in mind they get a heap of emails, especially if their domains have made it onto the spammers lists (they'll be having to filter anything from 200 - 1000 spam emails a day), so filters can mis-sort emails. Be sure to include a sensible heading in the subject line, eg. Shipping question from customer, Checking on the delivery of online order #xxxx, and have the order details within the email body with your contact details.. If you don't get a reply within 2-3 business days, resend the email and follow up. Mail servers do have problems periodically and businesses get to find out when people follow up emails that didn't get a reply.
So whether you're into discount online shopping, online furniture shopping, online Christmas shopping you'll find a world of choice online. It is great fun having deliveries come right to your door or collecting them from the post office. You can also share the news of your bargain online shopping or fashion shopping on sites like the Vogue forum and see who got what - a personal favourite of mine!
Here at SheInspires we support online women's shopping from original, independent online stores, especially as so many of them are setup and run by inspirational and talented women. We hope you get to enjoy shopping from such normal and wonderful women too.