Remember this time last year when we were getting dizzy as we went from being locked down to being let out again, and then locked down again. OMG!
Thankfully that chapter is past us. But we can’t pretend that the pandemic hasn't changed the way we do life. More and more of us are now hitting the shops online. For example, in October 2021, Australians spent a massive $4.1 billion online.
For retailers like me, our online stores were the way we survived. While many of us have returned to shopping instore, online shopping is here to stay. I don’t run from reality; instead, I face it front-on, and this month I’ve decided to share some tips and hints on how to shop online safely and successfully.
When it comes to shopping for the kid’s clothes, being able to shop online can be so much easier. By the time you pack all the snacks, exercised bribery and promised a trip to the toy shop to reward their ‘good’ behaviour, any wonder shopping online may seem like a much easier plan B. But there are some challenges, and I hope this blog can help you overcome some of them.
How to get the sizing right
One of the biggest hurdles of online shopping is buying the right size, and here are some tips I’ve learnt along the way:
- Sizes don’t go with age! I could scream this from the rooftop of my store. If your child is three, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be wearing a size 3.
- Don’t rely on generic sizing charts, as sizes vary between brands.
- Know your child’s height, weight, hips and bust. Here’s a guide on how to get these measurements:
- Waist – Measure around the natural waistline.
- Hips – Measure around the fullest part.
- Chest – With their arms down, slip the tape underneath the arms to go across the chest and around the shoulder blades. Note for girls include the fullest part of the chest.
- Inseam – Measure from the crotch to the bottom of the leg.
What to look for in fabrics
You can’t go past touching and feeling an item before purchasing, but when shopping online, this is something we have to forgo. But all good retailers (like Innocence and Attitude) will provide details of the fabric. Here is a list of the fabrics I’d suggest you look at for the cooler and warmer months:
Cooler months –
- Fleece: Lightweight, warm, affordable, and dries quickly.
- Nylon: A waterproof synthetic that can be worn in harsh conditions. While it won’t keep you warm, it will keep you dry.
- Down: These feathers will insulate and keep you warm when stuffed inside items like jackets. You can’t beat a feather-down jacket.
- Wool: The warmest fabric of them all! (If wool makes you itchy, go for merino wool, it’s much softer)
- Cotton: I love versatile and lightweight cotton! This fabric is natural and breathable, a perfect choice to withstand the summer heat.
- Chambray: A lightweight fabric made from 100% cotton. It’s the perfect alternative to denim in the summer, and designers use it to make super cool casual wear.
- Linen: Made from plant flax stalks, it is a super breathable fabric.
- Viscose (AKA Rayon): A synthetic fabric blended with natural fibres like wool pulp and cotton. Often used as an alternative to silk. Lightweight and drapes beautifully.
Do your research
As a retailer with an online shop, a big part of my week is spent uploading photos and product descriptions onto my website. I do this so that when you come to buy from my store, you have all the details needed to make a purchase. If you need more information, always reach out to the store and ask more questions.
Check the returns policy
As a general rule, I wouldn’t recommend buying from online stores that don’t have a returns policy. Measuring and getting the sizing right is hard. Always check the returns policy before purchasing to avoid disappointment and potentially losing money. The Innocence and Attitude Returns Policy can be found on the website.
Postage and shipping charges
Always know how much you’re paying for postage /shipping before purchasing. What may seem like a good price can all be undone when you get to the checkout and find the shipping costs are outrageous. I have a shipping policy on my website. From the moment you purchase with me online, I am on watch until it’s delivered to you. (This is what good small business owners like me do.)
Make sure you’re shopping safely online
Be careful! We’re all so vulnerable online! There are scammers out there, and they do want our money. Here are some things to look out for when visiting a new online store:
- Look for the padlock in the top left of the search bar
- Use sites that start with an address of HTTPS. Be wary of sites that have an address with HTTP. Confused? If you type in my address innocenceandattitude.com into a web browser and hit enter my address turns into https://www.innocenceandattitude.com/ The HTTPS = secure. The HTTP only means that the data is not encrypted, and therefore, your details can be passed between two systems.
- Take the time to read the customer feedback and reviews. Angry and happy customers alike usually don’t hold back in sharing their experiences of a business.
- Look for the contact details. If you can’t find any contact information, who are you going to contact if you need to return an item?
How to pay safely online
Once you’ve checked for the padlock and the HTTPS and established that the website appears safe to go shopping on, the next thing is to make payment of your item. Here are some things I suggest to look out for:
- If the store asks you to email your credit card details to them, I’d be asking further questions.
- Credit card surcharges. There are rules around what businesses can and can’t charge, so make sure you’re up to speed on this before paying for charges you may not need to be paying. Check out this article for more information.
So, there you have it, my simple but somewhat comprehensive guide on how to purchase safely and successfully online. I’m grateful to have both an online and physical store as I can cater to suit the needs of my customers. Remember, though, that no matter which way you shop with me, I’m the face behind each, and I’m here to serve you.