While online shopping is a fabulous invention of our modern age, there are pros and cons to purchasing your clothes online. Not only do you have an incredible range of choice both nationally and internationally, but you do need to make smart choices or it could end up costing you more than walking into your local shop and buying it off the rack in person. While we know now that buying from the UK, for example, and shipping here could often be cheaper than buying online here, there are a few things to bear in mind, not only to save yourself money, but to prevent wasting it too.
Each of these stores offers a good variety, from casuals to evening wear, and while only Boohoo.com has a ‘boutique’ section, the rest are all pretty standard, appeal to the masses type clothes.
Boohoo.com offers free shipping to Australia, while The Hut charges a crazily reasonable$1.70 on orders over $17. That’s not going to break the bank, but when you’re looking at Debenham’s $24 the sale items need to be pretty good to justify the shipping. A very similar brand, Marks and Spencer is currently offering free shipping to Australia, as is ASOS.
Where you need to be really careful with international shipping, however, is the returns policy. If you are likely to need to return an item, for example if you’re unsure about how a specific brand’s sizes measure up, very few shops will offer free international returns, and most will expect you to cover the cost.
Added to that, a few – like Boohoo.com or The Hut - only offer a 14 day return policy, so in order to send it back and have it reach the UK on time, you’ll probably have to pay for express shipping, which increases the price quite a bit. If there’s any chance of you having to send items back, you’re better off going with Marks and Spencer and ASOS who have a 35 and 28 day return policy. Debenhams is the worst though, at just 10 days.
Compare all this to local sellers The Iconic, Style Tread, Tony Bianco, Ezibuy, Show Pony and Beginning Boutique and you’ll find quite a few bargains to be had on home soil, especially now as they start gearing up towards spring.
Firstly, many of these are more designer brands than high street, so you’re going for a more individual look with these names than the high street labels.
Looking at shipping, The Iconic offers free overnight shipping with orders over $50, and 3 hour delivery in Sydney. Tony Bianco also offers 3 hour delivery in Melbourne and free shipping on orders over $80. Ezibuy wants a little more from you, offering no free delivery, but priority delivery at standard prices if you spend $150 although they do promise an overnight dispatch which is great if you want your goods fast. Show Pony offers free express delivery as well as a 10% discount to students and 3 hour shipping in Sydney.
Beginning Boutique offers free express delivery all over Australia, and students get 10% off too, at any time of year, while Style Tread also offers free shipping and free returns with standard delivery, or 3 hour delivery in Sydney, as well as $10 off for signing up for their newsletter. The Iconic also offers a $10 sign-up voucher for joining their newsletter.
Style Tread offers a whopping 365 returns policy, while The Iconic’s 100 day return policy is still pretty decent and leaves the very reasonable 30 days by Ezibuy look lame, not even to mention Show Pony and Beginning Boutique who only offer 14 days.
Of course, none of this even takes into consideration the ever evolving range of discounts and voucher codes, which you can always check on Buckscoop.
Taking all the above into consideration, it's worth weighing up the pros and cons before you shop internationally for something that may end up costing you less or the same locally. Alternatively, if there's a long enough return option and the savings are worth the shipping, you can grab some wonderful bargains in the UK shops. It's all about what you need really, and how you can make it work for you.