Online shopping: River Island online shop review

River island box and bag review

Online shopping: River Island online shop review

(By Amber McNaught)

Online shopping at River Island, reviewed

I’m a big fan of online shopping. In fact, I haven’t set foot inside an actual, brick and mortar store for months now, because the vast majority of my fashion and beauty-related shopping is done online.

There are lots of reasons for this which I’ll talk about another time, but one of the consequences of doing so much of my shopping online is that I’ve built up a wealth of knowledge about online shopping in general, and my favourite online shops in particular. In this series, I’ll be reviewing some online shopping sites, telling you how I rate them in terms of customer service, speed of delivery and all that other stuff, and, more importantly, inviting you to do the same.

I’m starting off with an online store I shopped from just this week: River Island.

Line up of river island clothes reviewed

Online shopping at River Island

River Island online shopping: the basics

Based in: UK
Ships to: Over 100 countries around the world

The River Island online shop was revamped a couple of years ago, moving from a hard-to-navigate flash-based format, to a much more user-friendly ecommerce website. The site is split into four sections – women’s, men’s, girl’s and boy’s fashions – and within each section you can either search by product or choose the “just arrived” tab to view all of the most recent arrivals. This site tends to be updated several times per week, if not daily, so if you’re a frequent visitor, or are there for a casual browse, as opposed to a serious online shopping mission, “just arrived” is probably the easiest way to get a quick overview of the type of clothes on offer.

River Island Pricing

River Island sells a range of clothing, footwear and accessories, all in the mid-price range: expect to pay around £40 for a dress or £70+ for shoes.

River Island Shipping

River Island offers shipping to over 100 countries around the world, with three shipping options available:

UK Express/Next Day: £5.95  per order

UK Standard *Delivery within 3-5 days): £3.95

International: Varies by country: click here to get a quote.

Items are delivered by courier in the UK, and online tracking is provided, even with the standard delivery option, so you don’t have to worry about slow delivery or lost packages, courtesy of good ol’ Royal Mail.

Review of shopping experience bag and box river island

Online shopping: typical River Island packaging

River Island Packaging:

Items are delivered in a lime green plastic bag to protect them from the elements. Shoes, meanwhile, come in a shoe box (shocker!), with appropriate padding. Stilettos come with replacement heel tips and a voucher for money off heel replacement: this is the case whether you order online or in store.

River Island Returns:

One of the most important part of any online shopping experience is the returns procedure. The very nature of online shopping, where you’re buying items without having tried them on, or seen them in person first, makes it much more likely that you might want to return something, so it’s essential that you check the returns policy first to make sure you don’t get caught out and left with something you don’t want.

In River Island’s case, UK returns are free, and you can return your item either to your nearest store, at the post office (pre-paid returns labels are provided inside your package) or via the River Island courier service, who’ll collect the package from your door. You have 14 days to make your return, after which you may be liable for the cost of the item .

International returns, meanwhile, must also be made within 14 days, and you will have to pay the return shipping. This is pretty common when it comes to international shipping and most online stores will not cover the cost of returns, but it does kinda suck if you’ve set your heart on something that isn’t available in your home country. Trust me, I feel your pain.

Free heel tip voucher from river island

Online shopping: River Island free heel tip replacement voucher

Online shopping at River Island: Fashion Police verdict

With all of those dry old facts out of the way, let’s talk about what the online shopping experience at River Island is REALLY like. Actually? It’s pretty good. I’ve shopped online from this website more times than I can count now, and don’t remember any real problems. My last order was placed on Saturday morning (Jan 26), using the standard delivery option. I received a dispatch notification on Monday evening (Jan 28), which contained the online tracking information, however I didn’t need to use it because the order was delivered by courier mid-morning on Tuesday (Jan 29). So four days total from order to delivery, but given that I placed my order over the weekend, and most online stores don’t operate on a Sunday, I’d say that’s pretty quick.

I didn’t need to make any returns from this order (yay!), but have returned various items in the past, mostly using the free post office return option. It’s always gone smoothly enough, although I recommend keeping hold of your receipt because it can take a couple of weeks for them to process your return, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll spend that time worrying that it’s been lost, along with your hard-earned cash.

Overall: a fairly typical online shopping experience, with no major issues that I’ve encountered: or not yet, anyway. That’s just me, though: I’m keen to use this posts as a way to collate other people’s experiences of the stores being reviewed, so we can build up a proper picture of the service being offered, so tell me:

Have you tried online shopping at River Island? What was your experience?

[Disclaimer: has no affiliation with River Island, and we were not paid for this review.]

1 Comment

  • February 1, 2013


    I visit the RI website very frequently but the only order I ever placed got lost on the way. They did refund me, but still I have to wonder about a store that lets something like this happen to first time customers.

    (I live in Romania and I’m pretty used to orders getting lost with Standard Delivery, especially if there is a free delivery offer. Dorothy Perkins is my mortal enemy in this respect, but I’ll say more about them when you review the store).
    Anyways, I think there’s a pretty big difference between ordering from the UK vs. abroad, but I’m looking forward to your reviews nevertheless.

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