Which do you prefer: online shopping or off-line shopping?
We've been doing a lot of talking lately about online shopping, and you may have gathered from all of this that The Fashion Police are big fans of the kind of shopping you can do without leaving the comfort of your chair. Or your bed, as the case may be.
We know not everyone has the same affection for online shopping as we do, though, and some of you are downright scared of it ("How can you spend money on something you haven't even tried on?" is a question we get fairly regularly) so here are just a few reasons why we love online shopping...
If you're not exactly a "people person", online shopping is the perfect way to browse your favourite stores without having to deal with the crowds: the slow-walkers, the stroller-shovers (i.e the people who shove their stroller into your heels or nudge you with them rather than simply saying "Excuse me"), those people who seem to pop up everywhere you go, and want to look at exactly the same thing YOU'RE looking at. We're sure you know what we're talking about. At sale time, this shopping hell gets even more unpleasant: who WOULDN'T prefer staying curled up in bed, with a nice cup of
wine coffee by your side, and getting shop in blissful solitude?
Online shopping: shopping for lazy people
We'll just say it: we're lazy. We'd rather the shops came to US, rather than us having to go to the shops. Seriously, you have to drive there, park up (and often pay for the privilege), trail around overheated, crowded stores (see point one), and all of this, only to leave without actually finding anything? No thanks: we'll just stay in bed and let the lovely courier company deliver it all straight to our door...
Better selection of clothes
One thing we've noticed in our years of online shopping is that most brands stock a far greater selection of clothing on their websites than they do in store. All too often we've made a trip to the mall (We DO still grave the mall with our presence every now and then...) in a bid to see a particular item in person... only to find that they just don't have it: or, indeed, any of the other items from the website. (Dorothy Perkins, we're looking at you here...) What gives? Probably a lot of things, all of which mostly come down to the difficulty of keeping every store in a chain fully stocked with every single item a customer might possibly want. There are no such problems with online shopping, though, so you tend to find a far wider selection.
Better size ranges
If you're petite, tall, or plus-sized, you'll know that it can be really hard to find clothes that fit you, because even those brands which DO have a "specialist" line don't tend to stock that line in every store. In some cases, specialist sizing lines will only be available in "flagship" or other selected stores, so if you don't live near one of those, you're out of luck. Websites, on the other hand, are much more likely to stock the full range of sizes, so you've a better chance of finding what you're looking for. This goes for "regular" sizes, too: how often have you rummaged through a rack of clothes, only to find they have every size but yours? Online shopping isn't infallible in this respect, and stock levels can be an issue online as well as offline, but at least you don't have to waste gas money or shoe leather to find out they don't have your size in stock.
Entering a clothes store can feel a bit like walking into Aladdin's cave: you never know what you might find. That's a good thing in some respects, of course - especially if you're the kind of person who enjoys the "challenge" of a good rummage - but it also makes it easy to miss the things you might really love. With online shopping, on the other hand, you can often choose to filter the selection available to suit your particular needs, so you can view all the clothing in your size, say, or in a particular colour: much easier than a seemingly endless "rummage".
Take advantage of coupons and sales
We don't know about you, but we've yet to make a purchase online without first of all doing a quick Google search to see if there are any online discount codes or other offers we can take advantage of. (Sites like Discount Codes and Money Supermarket are designed for this very purpose.) You can still sale shop and use coupons in-store, of course, but it's that much easier to actually find them online - not to mention the fact that many retailers will throw one-day online sales, or have other offers, which apply only to their website. Another big benefit of online shopping is the ability to do a quick price comparison and see if the same item is available anywhere else at a lower price. Everyone loves a bargain, right?
Read other people's reviews
In recent years, many brands have started to allow shoppers to add their own reviews of the items available to the websites they bought them from (We particularly like Topshop's). This kind of unbiased information can be absolutely invaluable when you're trying to decide whether to buy or keep something, as you can find out things like how well it'll wash, and what it's like to actually wear, before you've even added it to your cart. You COULD wall around stores asking other shoppers for their opinions, of course, but don't blame us if they look at you funny...
The downside of online shopping
Of course, online shopping isn't without its downsides, too, the biggest one being that you're buying clothes based on a photo on the internet: and trust us, the camera DOES lie. Not only do colours appear differently on different monitors and screen resolutions, the item itself can be made to look different depending on how it's being worn and styled in the photo. Add in the fact that you can't see what the fabric is REALLY like, and you can't try it on until it gets to you, and you could be in for a disappointment. Reading reviews, of they're available, will definitely help in this respect, but there's really no substitute for being able to see something "in the flesh", as it were, and try it on for yourself.
When you add in the fact that online shopping has a delayed gratification aspect to it, in the sense that you have to wait for the item to be delivered to you (and then have the hassle of returning it if it doesn't fit), and we can definitely see why it isn't for everyone, as much as we love it ourselves.
What about you?
Do you love online shopping, or do you much prefer to hit the shops in person?