Tips when Shopping Online for Clothes
When I was young, the local boutiques allowed my mother to bring clothes (dresses mostly) home to try. She chose her top picks from an initial try-on in the shop. The beauty of trying on at home is that you have access to natural daylight, your own shoes and accessories and you’re not under pressure to vacate a changing room. The other advantage for my mother was that my father also got to voice his opinion – and in fact, he often had the final say!
I meet clients who, throughout the pandemic, haven’t bought clothes online. There are many reasons. There is apprehension about delivery and returns, sizing, authenticity of what they see versus what they get, some fears about technology and lack of access to broadband services. Some simply love the experience of being in the shop, touching, feeling and trying the clothes.
One of the positive outcomes from this year is that most of the Irish independent boutiques have had to put an ecommerce offering in place in order to survive. We, in Ireland, are very fortunate to have a wealth of diverse independent boutiques which offer super personal customer service, a huge variety of clothing ranges and they have incorporated returns policies to match the large retail outlets. Access to these boutiques has never been easier. (We need to support them and shop local!)
I’m regularly asked for advice about online shopping of which I am a fan. I love that I can try on clothes in my own bedroom. This is how I shop online.
1. I do lots of research and create a wish list before placing items in my ‘shopping basket’
2. I always use the online filters to narrow my search by colour, size, style, etc
3. I very rarely buy immediately I find something. I usually walk away, sleep on it, come back to my wish list several times before I checkout online. Why do I do that?
· I need to ensure that what I’m buying is filling a gap or is a necessity.
· I need to ensure that it will fit into my wardrobe, ie, that it will go with lots of the clothes I already own. I don’t like ‘loners’ taking up space.
· I need to ensure it satisfies my budget (including any alterations I might need).
4. Once I place my order, I keep the confirmation email, filed in an electronic folder.
When my order arrives
I try it on in daylight in front of a full length mirror. I move, sit, stand. I check the fit from the front, back, side. I check that the colour is what I ordered and one that fits in with my colour palette. I often take photographs from all angles and check that the garment details are flattering. When I know that I’m keeping it, I move it into my wardrobe. If I’m unsure about it, I will hang it on a clothes rail and try it on a second time in daylight. I am particular about each garment. Only items I love make the cut. “It will do” won’t do for me.
Once I know that I am not keeping it, I parcel it up again and return it straight away. I keep any return confirmations until I have been refunded.
I use the same process when shopping for my clients. As I understand what styles and colours suit them, I know where to look. I become their funnel. They get a wish list from which they choose what to order.
Online shopping is here to stay. I like a blend of online and offline and am looking forward to the day when the shops open again.
Blog written by Maria Macklin, consultant for Monaghan / Louth Ireland
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