Shopping Online – you gotta love it!

Shopping online

I love shopping online! But there are some issues when you purchase a product, which include:

• Not knowing when the item will be delivered
• Worried that it might get lost or stolen or delivered to the wrong address
• The dress you’ve ordered is the wrong size and you have to go to the hassle of exchanging or getting a refund
• You have to pay extra for postage, and return postage, if you want a refund/exchange
• And if you do want a refund, you worry if you will get the refund and how long it might take

I am pleased to say that so far I have been very happy with my online purchasing experience, even when I needed a refund for a couple of dresses (out of the numerous that I’ve ordered from this one online store!)

Case in point for this dress-a-holic…

There is one major online UK clothing and accessories store that I absolutely love, and would have no problem buying online from. In fact I’ve purchased several dresses from this site without any problem. I remember one particular weekend I spent 3 hours on a Saturday, perusing every single dress in my size – there were about 1200 styles! – looking for the dresses I wanted. Then I copied the URL address of every one of my favourite dresses into a word document, to be viewed later. Then I spent another hour, or was it two? clicking on every URL address and being in the difficult position of having to narrow down my twenty dresses to a purchaseable-without-breaking-the-budget four! This was extremely difficult and quite a mental dilemma that stressed me out quite a bit!

But no checking into dress-a-holics anonymous , I’m happy to report!

So recently I purchased (from the US equivalent online retailer) two dresses at US size 12 (I was so used to purchasing UK size 12 that I didn’t stop and think that I was actually purchasing a UK size 16). That will teach me to be an impulsive buyer!

Anyway, I needed to either get my money back, or exchange them for the correct size. But they didn’t have the same dresses in a UK size 12 that I wanted, and I didn’t want an exchange with any other dresses, so I read up on their refund policy. All very straight forward. And I returned the item back to sender. Now this particular site, while fantastic to navigate around, didn’t have a customer service number, only an email address, and I was a bit concerned. What if they don’t receive my returned item? What if they don’t refund me? How will I be able to follow this up if I can’t actually speak to anyone?

Thankfully I got my refund without any hassle, and I am very confident now with ordering from this site, knowing that not only do they have choice, choice, choice at fairly reasonable prices, but they have an excellent refund process – I only had to wait two weeks, and not only did I receive email notification that the refund was back on my credit card, but the money did go back onto my credit card.

But was I just lucky?

In any case I have been more than happy with my online purchasing experience. The fact that you can search for anything at all is fantastic. But I also like shopping the old fashioned way – going into a clothing shop, shoe shop, jewellery shop, cosmetics shop etc because it’s so nice to walk away from a shop with something tangible in your hand.

In conclusion

So, yes, I’m an advocate for online shopping – at just the click of mouse you can search for practically anything, and find practically everything – from clothing to jewellery, from electronics to fishing item, from shoes to books – without having to leave your desk, or your home! But I hope there’ll still be a market for retail shops, because at the end of the day, as I’ve already mentioned in my other article Shopping Online – smart shopping there’s something to be said about going into a shop, looking, touching, trying, feeling, that you can’t get online.

Shopping online – smart shopping?

Shopping online – smart shopping?

Walk this way….

So, you’ve got an hour to kill for your lunchbreak, you work near a major shopping centre, and you want to buy something. Do you:

A. Use your iphone to search for what you want and then buy it online?
B. Walk into a shop and browse the array of goodies on display and buy something that way?

It seems that unless you and your iphone are permanently attached at the hip, or you can’t go for an hour without getting your Facebook or Twitter fix, you would choose B. Which makes sense. You can try before you buy, whether it be clothes, cosmetics, jewellery, shoes, handbags. And you can be content knowing that you’ve purchased something you like at a price you were happy to pay. No stress. No paying for postage. Walking out with that item on the same day you bought it. All good.

But can the same be said about online shopping?

The Online’th degree

Now, if you were to order any of these items online, you have all these things to consider:

• How long will the item take to be delivered?
• What if the item gets lost in transit?
• What if it gets stolen?
• What if the clothes or shoes you’ve purchased are the wrong size?
• Or that lipstick is so the wrong shade for you and looked much better on the catalogue model than it does on you?
• Or the jewellery isn’t the quality that you’d been led to believe?

Maybe shopping online isn’t worth it after all?

So you’re not happy with your purchase and you want to get a refund or an exchange. You have these factors to consider:

• You need to pay additional postage costs to return the items (provided you can return them for a refund)
• What if the company doesn’t refund your money?
• What if there’s only an email address you can contact the company on and no contact phone number?
• What if they don’t have the size you want so you can’t exchange? (So you have the refund issues to think about!)
• How long will it take for them to refund your money?
• What if there’s some hidden refund charge you weren’t aware of?

So what turned out initially to be a very stress-free and pleasurable experience turns out to be quite a drama.

Or…

You could be so happy with your online purchasing experience that you would buy from that online store/s again.

Convenience and choice

I’ve only had very good experiences when I’ve bought something online, so I’m an advocate for online shopping, as well as the walk in retail experience.
Any negatives of online shopping aside, at just the click of a mouse button you can search for practically anything – from clothes to handbags, shoes to gifts, electronic gadgets to books… The list goes on. You can book an exotic holiday away, look for a property to buy, search for the perfect restaurant to take your special someone, look at wedding venues, and so much more, all online, without having to leave wherever you are, and with just one click, (or a couple), so you’d probably be able to put up with any negatives.

And with the non-online retail sector suffering a bit of a downturn in sales, with the online shopping world so appealing to many customers because it’s fast, convenient shopping right at your fingertips, does this mean there’ll be an end to the walk in, walk out retail shopping experience that many of us grew up with?

My cents worth…

I don’t think it will be the end. At least I hope not. After all, there’s something to be said about going into a shop, looking, feeling, touching, trying, that you can’t get online.

In my opinion, both modes of shopping have their place in the world, and we should shop both ways. I just hope that people will still buy items the old-fashioned way. After all, shopping this way is helping our economy, which in turn is helping all of us.

We’re keeping the bucks here.