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Online shopping offers an incredible level of convenience for shoppers all around the world. Because of this, there are tons of online websites for stores of all shapes and sizes. Online shopping has become even more popular during the pandemic due to social distancing guidelines and quarantine restrictions.
We know there’s a lot of online stores out there, all offering a plethora of items boasting to be better than other online e-commerce players, so much so that all the options can often becoming overwhelming.
Because of that, we’ve compiled some of the top tips to help you maximise the chances of the best online shopping experience. On top of that, we list out some of the more popular, well-known and trusted brands for different product categories, and delve into the pros and cons of shopping online.
How to shop online
Online shopping is just as simple (if not more) than traditional in-person shopping. There is a multitude of stores that offer their products online. Instead of shopping inside the store, you can scroll through an online shop and purchase items on their website. Then, the item is shipped directly to your home. How convenient is that?
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers worldwide have turned to online shopping and home delivery as a way to get their monthly necessities and even as a form of entertainment.
Like all other forms of commerce, online shopping has advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage is that it provides a convenient outlet for consumers to purchase new items from just about anywhere. This, of course, leads right to the biggest disadvantage – the overuse of online shops. This is often called an online shopping addiction, or compulsive buying.
Tips for shopping online
There are so many different online vendors that can make shopping online feel more like a sales hunt than anything else. If consumers are looking for a particular product, they often compare multiple online shops for the best deal. This can be time consuming, but it can help you find the most competitive price.
A consumer can find the best deal also by searching for sales or online coupons. Some stores have an online reward program where customers receive discounts when they regularly purchase products. So, if you’re a regular at a particular store or online shop, consider signing up for their newsletter or any perks programs that can offer you greater savings.
What to look for when shopping online
There are a few things to look for to avoid getting scammed or paying for a product that may never arrive. First, when shopping online, it is essential to always check the seller’s shipping options, return policies and reviews. This is especially important when shopping with an independent seller or purchasing items like clothing that may not fit properly. By checking the store’s policies and reviews, it is easy to see the legitimacy of the online store and ensure that you will receive what you paid for.
What are the best online shopping sites?
Amazon sells millions of items (from sellers all around the world) from its various warehouse locations across the globe and provides fast and secure shipping. You can also get additional perks like free shipping through their subscriber service, Amazon Prime.
eBay has grown into the world’s largest online auction website over the years. This site is popular for finding and purchasing obscure items and selling items you may be looking to get rid of. However, aside from vintage treasures and hard-to-find items, they have plenty of popular items that are cheaper to buy used, such as mobile phones, computers and other electronics.
The biggest draw of Etsy is that it allows artisans from all over the world to sell their products without making their own websites. It’s like a one-stop shop for handmade and artisan goods, all wrapped up in an easy-to-search marketplace. This is also the perfect site to peruse when you are looking for something unique or personalized.
Google Shopping is a great way to shop from multiple popular stores at once. This can be a valuable tool to help compare items from different sellers and find what you’re looking for at the best price.
Overstock is a good choice for shoppers looking for sales and deals on other stores’ overstock – especially in departments like home improvement, outdoor, kitchen, furniture and apparel.
Wish is a well-known cheap online shopping website that offers a variety of shopping categories such as hobbies, fashion, home decor and toys. It is many people’s go-to online store for amazing deals on interesting finds.
What are the best online shopping sites for clothes?
There are many pros and cons to buying clothes online. Online stores often have a wider selection of sizes, colors and styles than what you’d find on the rack, which can make them more accessible for many shoppers. Unfortunately, one of the biggest pitfalls of online clothing shopping is that you cannot try on items before purchasing them.
When online shopping for clothing, it is important to know your measurements. Take a cloth measuring tape and wrap it around different parts of your body to find your precise measurements. You can then compare your measurements to the size guide outlined on the site to ensure you’re getting the best fit. Additionally, it is always advised to purchase from stores with clear return policies, just in case it doesn’t work out.
Moreover, when it comes to clothes shopping, more and more people are becoming aware of the environmental and ethical concerns of fast fashion business models. Many of the popular sites below could be considered fast fashion, so be sure to do your research on the brand to determine if its right for you.
Now, without further ado, read on for the most popular choices for online clothes shopping.
This website is where to go when looking for designer brands at affordable prices. Nordstrom Rack offers up to 70% off of retail prices and is constantly adding new pieces. Can’t afford that Calvin Klein dress you’ve been eyeing? You can probably snag it within your budget off the Rack.
Macy’s online store offers a broader selection of sizes and styles than its department stores. This can make it a great option for shoppers who often find their size out of stock in-store. You can also narrow down your search parameters (or even shop by the occasion) to make it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for.
This American fast fashion retailer offers trendy apparel items and is well known for its social media (especially Instagram) advertisements.
American Eagle Outfitters offers a huge selection of on-trend apparel and accessories that are high quality and affordable.
Free People is a Bohemian-style retailer that offers fun and exciting apparel suited for any occasion. They also have a label for activewear called “Movement.”
Urban Outfitters offers a wide variety of brands and styles for shoppers looking for reasonable prices on trendy apparel.
What are the best online shopping apps?
A shopping app is a downloadable application that allows people to easily browse, purchase and often track orders from a particular brand or online shop. Many brick-and-mortar stores also have online shopping apps to complement their online shopping websites.
We’ve narrowed down some of the best online shopping apps – categorized into online shopping sites, fashion shopping apps and discount shopping apps.
Online shopping sites with their own apps
The Amazon app gives people easy and mobile-friendly access to the Amazon.com website so that they can shop Amazon’s products directly from their phones.
This app allows users to access the Wish.com website. This makes it easier for people to navigate the shop’s website on mobile or tablet devices.
Similar to the previous mentions, this app gives shoppers the ability to purchase and sell items on eBay without accessing the website through an internet browser.
Fashion shopping apps
Rent the Runway
Rent the Runway is a fashion shopping app that allows users to easily rent or buy beautiful designer clothing and accessories. Can’t afford to outright purchase a designer piece? Or just looking to wear it to a single event? Rent the Runway has you covered.
This social commerce marketplace allows users (in the United States, Canada and Australia) to buy and sell apparel and accessories – often at discounted prices.
Discount shopping with apps
This app is a free browser extension that allows consumers to easily find and use coupon codes for online purchases. It uses the Honey Smart Shopping Assistant to find and apply discounts anytime you’re shopping online – no need to search out coupons on your own.
The LetGo app focuses on local purchasing and selling. It uses the shopper’s location to search for items on sale near them.
Ordering groceries online
Like traditional grocery shopping, online grocery shopping has pros and cons. The main pro of online grocery shopping is that you don’t have to spend time walking through a grocery store collecting items. Instead, you can scroll and click, and the items will be packaged for you and show up at your door.
The main disadvantage is that you are not hand-picking your groceries. So you cannot pick the exact piece of produce or tray of meat you want the way you could if you were shopping in the store on your own.
Read on for some of the best online shopping sites for groceries.
Walmart offers affordable and high-quality groceries and products from other departments – such as health supplements, beauty products and electronics – so shoppers can get all of their errands done in one order.
Amazon Fresh is Amazon’s grocery delivery service. It delivers to most major cities in the US and a few major international cities around the world.
Instacart provides grocery delivery and pickup services to people living in the US and Canada. It has both a website and a mobile app for online grocery shopping.
LocalHarvest helps people purchase locally grown produce and support the farmers around them. This service will deliver the groceries right to your doorstep.
Is online shopping better?
One thing to note is that as long as you know the best places to shop online for your purchases and are familiar with the shops’ policies, online shopping is an incredibly efficient and convenient way to get items you want shipped straight to your door.
Whether you are looking for clothes, groceries or toys, there are many online shopping sites to choose from. These best shopping sites are reliable and easy to purchase from and often offer quick (or even free) shipping.
It is important to keep in mind the pros and cons of all kinds of online shopping. Online shopping, overall, has brought a new form of convenience to consumers everywhere, especially during the pandemic when it’s safer to avoid public areas.
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