Over the past year, online shopping has become the norm for all kinds of purchases, from groceries and household essentials to gifts and clothing.
Shopping for clothes and other items from the comfort of your home has multiple advantages, including the convenience to shop on your own schedule and the ability to do more thorough research to get the best prices before you buy. However, if you’re not used to doing it, shopping online for items you typically purchase at brick and mortar stores can be daunting.
To make your online shopping experiences more efficient and successful, consider these tips from Kellie Brown, fashion influencer and author of the “And I Get Dressed” blog.
Look around for good deals
If you have your eye on a particular item, shop around on multiple sites for it. Prices can vary from one website to another, and you could be missing out on big savings by not doing your research. When you’re comparing items, be sure to pay attention to details. Verify model or style numbers, colors and other specifics to ensure you’re comparing apples to apples.
Ultimately, you may find the same item with a slight difference that you’re willing to accept for a better price. Be sure you’re checking diligently so you have all the data you need to make a well-informed decision.
Doing research online may also help you locate discount codes that can help bring down the price if you buy from a specific online retailer.
Know your measurements
Clothing is one category that shoppers either love or hate to buy online. Brown sees one distinct advantage: skipping the fitting room.
“Shopping for clothes online can seem daunting, but one of the biggest perks is being able to avoid the dreaded dressing room experience,” Brown said. “I hate the process of waiting in line, the overhead lighting, wonky mirrors and having to evaluate clothing in a flash.”
Buying online lets you ditch the fitting room in favor of the comfort of your own home, where you can take time to consider your new garments in private.
Brown cautions that the first rule of shopping for clothes online is recognizing sizing isn’t always universal. For example, a size 18 from one store may fit completely different at another store. If you know your measurements, you can compare those with the listed size chart. That way, you can select the best size for specific brands or products.
Use the right credit card
Joining a store’s loyalty program can be advantageous if you are a frequent shopper at a specific brand or retailer. Also, it’s important to realize not all credit cards are the same, and some offer rewards for online shopping, including cash back.
“The most versatile option is a card that adapts with your spending, such as the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card that lets you earn 3% cash back in a category of your choice,” Brown said. “Hint: Online shopping is one of those categories. The rewards don’t expire, and if you are a Preferred Rewards member, you could boost your rewards by 25-75%, which means you could earn up to 5.25% cash back on your transactions. These rewards can be redeemed into your savings account as money for future shopping.”
Double check return and exchange policies
Make sure you know the return policy of the retailer you’re shopping with to ensure your return or exchange will be accepted, if necessary. Being an avid online shopper, Brown offers a few important tips for dealing with items that may need returned.
Many stores won’t accept open packages or clothing with tags removed, so be sure you know the guidelines before tearing into your packages when they arrive.
You should also check whether you can return items to a local store, if there’s one available, or if you’ll have to ship a return, and find out who is responsible for return shipping costs.
It’s also important to be conscious of timing since most retailers have specific rules about how long you have to return an item. Some use the order date as the starting point while others use the delivery date. Especially with shipping delays that may occur, be clear on dates before you order. Many stores offer extended returns windows, but it’s still smart to know the expectations up front.
Online shopping can save you valuable time and money, especially when you’re smart about your purchases. Find more information at bankof
america.com/morerewarding. (Family Features)