It seems that many of you, my darling readers, are not very familiar with online shopping. This past weekend, also became really apparent that many of you have never shopped online at all, because you are afraid of it! That haunting fear of the unknown: if it looks different than the image on site? if it doesn't suit me? if it is the wrong size? if it is damaged or of bad quality? if I change my mind when I receive it? Then what??? There is absolutely no reason to panic, trust me!
I am not going to stuff your pretty and stylish brains with unnecessary details, but will share with you what I would really like to have known when I started shopping online!
1. Before falling in love with a dress, a skirt or a pair of heels, check the Shipping Details,
> Is your country (or city) on their shipping list of that online store you are interested in? And at what cost? Shipping costs and times can be a real disappointment sometimes, so please check these out first. For example, even if a website is shipping to your country, the postage costs might be too high and might take over a month (an average of 20 working days) to arrive at your doorstep. Don't buy that shirt or pair of jeans, unless you believe deeply in your heart that it's worth the money and/or the waiting...
> Are there going to be any duties and taxes? Some websites include those costs in the checkout, but some others don't, so be careful with that one too! It can be really tricky and if the parcel "stacks" at the customs office, they might ask for double or even triple the price of the merchandise to release it! Nasty...
2. The next most important thing to do is to check the website's Returns Policy. It is the most important thing that you must be aware of in full detail before adding any items to your 'bag' (or 'cart') and checking out. Among others you MUST check out:
> The time period that you are allowed to return an item; some give you a 30-day, some others a 60-day, but there are also other with a 14-day or even a 7-day policy!
> Which items are non-returnable; for most online retailers, earrings, underwear, stockings, socks, beauty products usually cannot be returned for a refund unless they arrive damaged or they have sent you the wrong product! You have to read that list carefully.
> The return method; in some cases you have to inform the store before returning the item so they provide you with a return number or fill in a special return request form. Make sure you follow the proper procedure so that you receive a full refund.
> The return postage costs; some pay it for you but in many cases the return costs are yours to pay. If the product is damaged they usually offer to refund you the postage cost as well, but you have to check that with the store, don't take it for granted.
3. After you have checked all of the above and you are happy with what you read, then you can happily navigate the website. Once you have found The One (or two, three etc.) choose your size carefully. Most online stores give detailed size guides for all their items, so please be willing to measure yourself before deciding what size to add to the cart.
4. Then, sign in to the website (or register, if you are visiting for the first time), go to your 'bag' and check again the order if the correct items, colors, sizes and quantities appear. You don't want to end up with 5 t-shirts in the wrong size of the same color!
5. Choose the payment method you prefer, a credit card or paypal, and always double check if your address is written correctly.
6. Now, you can finalize the transaction. Or not. It's up to you. Like going to the register and changing your mind the last minute, only better because in this case you don't feel embarrassed and the cashier doesn't give you THAT look, haha!
I hope I helped and didn't tire you with all that info, which can never be enough, believe me! Anyhow, if you still have questions or if there is something that you do not understand and need further explanation do ask me, I will be more than happy to help you!
Happy Online Shopping!