A Guide to: Online Shopping

THE general response to shopping online is always a bit of a mixed bag (no pun intended).

For the likes of my grandma, the very idea of the internet alone sends shivers down her spine so the thought of using her credit card details online is a definite no-no, but as a recent online shopping convert I can’t get enough of it.

There’s something about getting that knock on the door from the courier and opening it as soon as it’s been signed for that brings back memories of Christmas – minus the well branded, plastic packaging. And there’s no denying that shopping online has been the saviour of our economy. Buying a nice new coat off ASOS is your good deed for the day. Right?

Surprisingly, the sites I spend most of my time (and money) on are the likes of Amazon and eBay rather than high street websites, where my purchase history ranges from a HDMI lead and a waterproof poncho to a second hand copy of Othello, for the sole reason that you really can get anything and everything at a small cost. Plus buying second hand books for uni means that sometimes you get someone else’s annotations to judge, which is always a nice added bonus.

That’s not to say I steer clear of shopping online for clothes. Current personal favourites are boohoo.com and missguided.co.uk as I get to flex my student card as well as my debit card, which makes me feel less guilty about paying three pound odd for delivery.

And a new budget website I will certainly be making use of is shelikes.com which offers the ‘Minimum Wage’ dress for – wait for it – £3.68. Seriously. I may or may not have one waiting to be dispatched because I got distracted and just spent fifteen minutes perusing their other cheap deals. Whoops.

There’s also what’s being branded the new Primark, forever21.com offering some pretty decent ‘flash deals’ with up to 21 per cent (clever) off selected items – another site added to my hit list.

From time to time – usually around payday would you believe – I tend to expand my shopping horizons and stumble onto ASOS, maybe even River Island if I’m feeling daring, though mostly its ASOS’s range of River Island because, yes, I can use my student discount.

I’m not entirely frugal though I promise.

I have been known in the past to pay for next day delivery (gasp) and when I was an eBay novice I was so determined to win, I ended up paying £8 plus postage for a Primark top. Thankfully the seller had been so kind to tear off the original price to make me feel slightly better.

But for those of you who can shop in Topshop without it sending you into the minuses, the internet has a lot to feed your fashion appetites. ASOS aside (it doesn’t really need bigging up because it’s just brill) John Lewis remains in the top ten of most popular online retailers but there’s really no surprise there. One site I often find myself browsing (with my dream budget) is anthropologie.eu which has some really nice stuff and it’s not that expensive.

Blackwhitedenim.com also has good wardrobe staples with their ‘buy now, keep forever’ tag line as well as stocking Victoria Beckham, which if that isn’t enough to sway you to dress like Posh Spice, then I don’t know what will.

So for a few tips next time you fancy shopping from the comfort of your couch:

– Don’t be worried about using your card details – when a website isn’t legit it’s pretty obvious, and with the beauty of PayPal you know that everything’s safe. Plus it saves you inputting your details into every different website. Which is effort.

– Second hand is sometimes the better option – cheaper and you get added bonuses (like annotations). ASOS marketplace is a hub of vintage and second hand too and saves you the stench of going into a vintage shop and trawling through the £3 and under basket.

– Don’t get roped into spending £40 or more for free delivery if all you need is a pair of twenty quid jeans. It’s not worth the guilt when you have to turn down a night out. Trust me.

– Read the item information – especially on eBay – so you don’t make my sorry mistake and bid on something that’s from Primark.

– Do opt for ‘Click and Collect’ if you really can’t hack the delivery charges, then all you have to do is go straight to the till and can even return it in store. Just don’t look around while you wait for them to go into the stockroom and end up buying something else.

– Leave a note on your door (or before you buy) to leave it elsewhere if you’re not in. The dreaded ‘we called but you weren’t in’ note followed by the fifteen minute drive to the depot to pick it up takes all the fun out of doing everything online.

And remember, if in doubt, just Amazon it.



About Laura Scott

I'm a 22 year old copywriter working for an ecommerce website based in Manchester.

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