Whether your style is casual cool, classic, preppy, ladylike, or sharp and structured, the fun current trends really let you decide who you want to be on any given day. But with our busy schedules, when is there time for shopping?
Women make time for shopping. With all these online sale sites, it's hard not to check them out and shop before we even finish our first cup of coffee in the morning. I do about 99% of my shopping online. Not only do I LOVE getting packages delivered to my doorstep, I like trying on new items in my own home rather than in a poorly lit, cellulite-enhancing dressing room. I also like the option of pairing my latest purchases with what is already in my closet; to match shoes and accessories and decide whether or not it will make the cut.
Shopping online lets me research prices, compare designs from competing retailers and make better decisions. Sometimes, however, what arrives on my doorstep, just doesn't live up to its online photos, like the pair of pants that were three inches too short and the shoes that looked like they had been worn! When something doesnít make the cut, some retailers offer free shipping on returns, which makes it easy to send something back. Unfortunately not all sites offer that luxury and others have such short-term return policies that procrastinators often miss the refund window.
For that reason, I like to be protected when I shop online, and in times like this, the way you pay makes all the difference. With the help of American Express, here are a few of my strategies for shopping smart online:
Shop Reputable Retailers: However, sometimes you don't know they're reputable until you have an issue with them. With the package I received and mentioned above that looked as if the items had been worn and damaged, I spent $40 on return shipping because it was international and the retailer did NOT give me a refund on shipping. Needless to say, I'll never shop them again. But for the most part, if you contact the merchant nicely and explain your issue, they will be friendly and helpful in assisting you.
Understand the Return Policy: It's important to understand the retailer's return policy before buying the item so you donít get stuck with something you didn't expect. But the way you pay can help protect you from mishaps. For example, if you pay with an American Express charge card, and accidentally buy something on "final sale" and the store won't take it back, or even if you've waited too long to return it, AMEX will let you return it with them instead. And that is amazing. You're also protected if your personal information is stolen and someone charges this year's "it" bag to your account.
Know Your Size: Many designers' size charts vary, so know if you're a 6 or a 16 to avoid wasted shipping charges. Shoes are the most difficult items for me to buy online because my big, American, size 9 foot in most European sizes may be a 40 but in Italy, it's a 41.
Don't Waste Your Budget on Shipping: This time of year, there are a ton of offers everywhere you "click", especially ones for free shipping. Make sure you know who is offering free shipping, both on the original shipment and on returns so you can send back what you don't love, guilt free.
Hunt Down Online Offers: Whenever Iím making online purchases, I do a search for coupon codes or online offers for whatever retailer I'm shopping before checking out because 99% of the time I find a discount that saves me $20-$100. If you see a "coupon code" box at checkout, do a search and you're bound to come up with something.
Tap into Your Points: Another advantage of American Express: Membership Rewards. Every time you shop, you rack up points that you can use to splurge on an item for yourself. Whether it's a pair of pumps or a stylish, new little black dress, you can use your points to reward yourself, without clearing your bank balance.
Today only! What's your strategy for getting the hottest trends this season?
Tell me your online shopping tips on Twitter and you could win a $250 prize from sponsor American Express. Tweet @blogherdeals and include the hashtag #Savvy&Online to enter. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 PM PT October 25, 2011. Full rules and prize details here.
Shopping Online for High Fashion without the Stress or Regret