Online Shopping Checklist

As more and more people prefer to shop online over the ol' brick-and-mortar option (which I still personally love more), I decided to do a blogpost dedicated to the things you should definitely check off in your mind before making your next purchase.

These are lists purely from trial and error and copious amounts of shopping online that may or may not have been done in the past year or so.  There are a lot of extremely deceptive little tricks that the smaller and even a couple big retailers do to fool you into thinking you're buying some high quality product which will turn out to be one really sad piece of clothing or a cheap looking piece of jewelry. My cousin recently had an incident where she thought what was embroidery on a kurti turned out to be this weird looking foil print. Not nice.

There are tonnes of options when it comes to retail sites and although I have my favorites, I would definitely try shopping at a few new ones soon!

So. Let's get into it.

Things to look out for:

1. Sizing charts : This is the number one reason that people return clothes that they buy online. Because they obviously haven't tried it on, there is no way to tell how something will fit, unless you've tried the exact same item at a store and it's merely on some special discount online. Check the measurement chart ALWAYS. S/M/L means different things for different brands. There is also the matter that UK/US/AUS  etc sizing runs very differently. So please, always check the sizing charts and keep a tape measure handy!

2. Color Options
Sometimes sites do not have those tiny icons which let you view the same item in different colors; it takes a significant amount of scrolling to figure this out. It's extremely annoying but I cannot count the number of times I see the same dress that I didn't want in blue but see in red a couple of days later and is already sold out in my size because I didn't check properly. It takes a while but don't give up! Make sure you've checked the whole site exhaustively. Of course, after you've narrowed down the search. Don't scroll through all 44,834 items, please :P

3. Returns Policy
Most sites offer 30-day returns. But in reality, how easy is it to actually return an item that you don't want? Make sure you check exactly what the terms and conditions of these policies are. More often than not you won't get your money back, only store credit.

4. Legitimacy of a Site
MAKE SURE you're going on a site that is legit. Maybe you can check if it has a Facebook/Twitter page where you can see other customers' feedback and issues. The 'Customer Testimonials' are more often than not written by the person who owns the site. I've seen many, many instances on Instagram where girls are just losing their sh*t and spamming the comments section of these Instagram pop-up shops because items haven't been delivered, but they've paid the money. Which is completely unfair.

5. Price Comparison
Because a lot of sellers retail the same brands, it's always good to compare prices on at least FOUR sites before you make your purchase. (Take into account the delivery and shipping charges too!)

6. Tracking?
Check if they have a decent tracking system. Ask around. This will make your life easier, especially if you want it delivered on a specific date.


1. Materials/Vague descriptions of materials
 A few of the bigger online shopping sites do have extremely comprehensive photos of each product from around ten different angles. And sometimes, on a model too, if it's clothing/accessories/jewelry. Zoom in to see what kind of fabric it is. If you can't zoom in that much, just pray that there's a decent description of the material content. Otherwise, it really is an at-your-own-risk thing. Do not be fooled by vague descriptions of materials such as 'Flowy green top'. Really? What is it even made of :/? You may expect a nice chiffon top but in reality, it might be jersey knit (the thin material our t-shirts are made out of) and hang very awkwardly on your body, in the most un-flowy way possible. Also, if the clothes aren't on models or really really well laid out, I'd really suggest not shopping at that site. Too much of a risk.

2. Detailing 
Sometimes you'll order a bag, or a pair of shoes, or even a top, expecting decent quality trims (buckles, rivets, buttons, zippers, embroidery) and you'll end up with some really cheap looking, questionable stuff. Especially with jewelry - more often than not I've bought a piece thinking it's metal and it ends up being plastic. Fail. Make sure you gauge from the pictures what exactly you're dealing with. Sometimes what you think is a pretty embroidery detail on a dress will end up being a flat print.

3. Sizes of Jewelry/bags/other accessories 
At your own risk. If measurements/pictures on a model aren't provided, be prepared for it to be any size, really :P Maybe use something as small a stone, or a link/clasp on the chain to kind of put the whole piece into relative proportion. Because you know how big that'll be more or less, so it'll work itself out. Same with bags - look at the buckle or a zip.

4. Shoes - the soles and straps
A lot of the cheaper shoes online have cardboard, yes, cardboard in their soles. Watch out for these! And always check how the straps are held in place, if any. If you can tell it's shadily glued in place - then please do NOT buy them. It'll last you a grand total of three days. People who street shop in Delhi/Mumbai a lot - you'll know what shoes will and won't last and more often than not - THE EXACT SAME ONES ARE SOLD ON THE SITES TOO.

5. Material 'claims'
Be smart when you shop. If there's a wallet or a purse that's INR 200 and it says 'GENUINE LEATHER' it's probably very low grade leather not at all. And some sites do not literally mean 'Leather sling bag' for INR 400, they mean imitation. But they'd rather NOT put that out there.

6. Deceptive Photography
Be very wary of highly edited pictures. They probably have something to hide. GAUSSIAN BLUR - YOU'RE NOT FOOLING ANYONE.

7. Buying Makeup/ body products (especially on Ebay)
Make sure it says brand new. And the picture doesn't look shady. Of course, they may just put up an existing photo of the product in it's prime, but look at the seller. Make sure they're trusted.

So now you're ready to plunge deeper into the world of shopping for lazy-girls. It's ridiculously addictive :P

End of the day, however, I am Team Brick and Mortar. That satisfaction you get when you're home after a day of shopping is just unparalleled.
P.S Any suggestions to new sites or sellers will be welcome :P
Happy Tuesday!

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