Online shopping can make life a whole lot easier, especially when you have kids! But there can be pitfalls for the novice, to ensure your experience is smooth sailing check out our 5 tips to online shopping.
This post is sponsored by Catch.
Shopping with kids goes through stages… in the early days it requires you to leave the house with All. The. Things. And then as the kids get older it’s a cross between the potential for public humiliation in the form of melt downs and biting (if you have a non-talker), sharing of private insights with strangers (if you have a talker) and all the other things in between.
And then you have to pass all the things in the shop that your kid wants but can’t have – or the bribery resorted to in a moment of weakness as you try to keep them in the pram for just five minutes longer while you negotiate a busy car park. And don’t even start on getting an unwilling child back into the car seat or making a dash for the loo (that will fit the pram and has enough space that your kid can’t reach out and touch stuff – mine used to like unlocking the door, yay!).
I am all for getting the kids out and socialising – but if you can do more excursions to places you can both enjoy, then why not leave the shopping for when the kids are sleeping and you have a nice drink in one hand and your mouse in the other!
The internet is known for bargains – mainly because an online shop is much cheaper to run (less staff, no fancy shop fitting or prime real estate, semi automated customer service and it can all be done from a warehouse). You can jump onto Google and hope that your search turns up the best options – but for Australian consumers, the guys at Catch do all the work for you with loads of amazing bargains on anything from toys through to cosmetics, sports gear to wine.
Be wary tho, some online shops come with terms and conditions that are hidden away in the fine print. You’re so excited by the purchase that you fail to realise that the product description is different to the photo – and suddenly that amazing deal on a laptop becomes expensive to rectify when the delivery arrives and you have to send it back. My tip is to stick to online retailers (like Catch.com.au) and brands you know and trust – especially when it comes to big ticket items.
Some online retailers offer discount codes for special promotions – you don’t need to subscribe to all the email lists to keep up to date with discount codes… there are plenty of helpful peeps out on the Internet who share their “discount code”, so do a quick google before you purchase to see if there are any discount codes you can tap into!
Terms & Conditions.
Before you hit the “pay now” button, check the terms and conditions of sale (if you haven’t already).
I recently got a bit carried away and bought three things when I really only needed the one. I contacted the retailer 30minutes later to say I had changed my mind but they didn’t do refunds… it was there in black and white, but I wasn’t paying attention, so there was $50 I didn’t need to spend, doh.
Before you finalise your purchase you need to be familiar with how the online retailer manages refunds, exchanging, warranty periods, the delivery process (ie what happens if it’s lost or damaged en route, is it coming by air or sea?) and anything else that could impact on your purchase.
Measure, measure and then measure again.
This is an obvious one for clothing purchases – but sometimes you need to double check dimensions on other items too.
When you know a brand well it can be easier to skip the measuring stage, but if you’re new to a brand then it’s definitely worth getting out the measuring tape and checking that their version of a size 10 is the same as yours (and the UK and US size 10 can be different again). Feet can be tricky – as an adult I tend to only buy shoes online when I have had the same ones before. But when it comes to the kids, their feet keep growing! Bobux is a shoe brand we have loved (and purchased online) and they have a great size guide to help make sure you get it right the first time.
Even with brands I know well it’s still possible to get the sizing wrong – so double check what the return policy is if you need to do an exchange. Is it better to get both sizes and return the one you don’t need (especially if there is free postage when you spend a certain limit)? If you do need to return a wrong size, what is the refund process (some retailers take 60 days to return your money!).
Ask for help.
When ordering online don’t be afraid to ask the retailer for help – it’s not only going to ensure your purchase is correct, but you will also get an insight into their customer service (which can be reassuring if it’s the first time you’ve shopped online with them before).
If the product description isn’t 100% clear and you want to check something it’s definitely worth taking the time to jump into the help section and ask lots of questions. Some purchases are totally obvious and you know the product well – but outside that scope, if you’re unsure about anything I always check (as it saves time in the long term if it turns out not to be what you expected and you have to return it).
Leave your shopping basket.
I am one of those people. I have abandoned carts all over the internet. For the customer, there are some perks to this.
If the retailer has your email address they might reach out to you and remind you your cart is still waiting for you – they might even offer an incentive in the form of a discount to entice you to make the purchase.
I suspect that online shopping can become addictive (well I know that it is, but off the top of my head I can’t state any studies done by universities to prove it). Leaving a shopping cart and “sleeping on it” can curb impulse purchases done hastily (such as the one I mentioned above where I didn’t need the three things).
My (self-diagnosed) abandoned cart syndrome does fulfill a little bit of that shopping rush. It’s like taking all the jean designs into the fitting room and trying them on… maybe you’re just window shopping for the future, maybe you have time to kill and wonder if you need them in your life – either way, sometimes it’s just fun to do dress up… in real life or just in my head.
So what tips would you add to the list of 5 tips to online shopping?
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