Online shopping-The smart way!

"I have enough clothes and shoes, I don't need to go shopping" said no woman ever, one of the amusing quotes from Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series. For those who are not familiar with the author, a bit of background. She has written the famous Shopaholic series which is a witty and comical book that captures the life of Becky Bloomwood, the girl next door and her immense love for shopping which she can't resist. Of  course she goes to some extremes ending up laden in debt, but Becky is someone that all we shopaholics can identify with. I truly enjoyed reading the series and look forward to more books.
I am a shopping buff and am always eager to explore more efficient and economical ways to shop. With the spurt in e commerce, online shopping has become one of the fastest growing trends and gaining acceptance amongst more people. I have been experimenting with it since the past 2 years and have come up with my own list of tips and tricks. I  have no second thoughts that online shopping is a better option than visiting stores.

 The reasons why I strongly vouch for online shopping and some tips and tricks in striking the  best deal are:
  • Sale!Sale!Sale!: Online sales run throughout the year unlike the shop sales which are only thrown open twice a year. So you dont have to wait for months to buy that awesome dress, just log on and its yours.Why would you spend 30% more on something when you can get the exact same quality and brand for 30% lesser?
  • No more queues in trial room: The most annoying part of shopping is the endless queues in the trial room, and the irritation mounts when you see people taking as much as 8-10 garments to try on, they would then wear each one, come out and show someone whilst you wait patiently for your turn (or pretend to be patient though you are fuming inside).If your kids have accompanied you for shopping, their and your irritation is  bound to mount.
  • Easy Returns/Exchange/Refund: Nowadays if you don't like the stuff you bought online, the process of exchanging it for another size or even asking for a refund has become hassle free. Unlike shopping in stores where one will have to take the trouble of re visiting the store and you will not get your money back. You will be compelled to buy another product or will have to settle for a credit note (which you must remember to use within time given time frame). Too complicated huh?
  • Comfort of your home: You can shop from the comfort of your home or when travelling  and there are no time restrictions, you could even do it late at night once you are done with all the household chores and have tucked your little ones into bed. 
  • International brands not available in stores : Some of the international brands like Dorothy Perkins(I love them),Miss Selfridge etc are only available online and not in the stores

Some of the tips on smart and safe online shopping which I have learnt are:
  • Always go with trustworthy websites, if its not a known one please do a bit of research on it before you place an order. Also, I strongly advise on going with COD(Cash on delivery) payment mode for such websites if available. I had a particularly bad experience which buying some bed linen on an little known timtara website as it had good designs at attractive prices. I used my credit card, the product never got delivered. I kept calling up their customer care number, wrote countless mails but no luck, Finally I learnt that the company had gone bust. It wasn't a big sum of money, but it was a big lesson for me.
  • Register on the website to earn brownie points. Don't login as a guest but register on the website, they offer many discounts and loyalty points to registered members. I have found this very useful and have got some great deals and coupons.
  • Add it to your cart but don't make the final purchase: This trick has worked a couple of times. If I find the dress or pair of shoes overpriced , i just add to the cart but don't make the final payment, I keep getting reminders from them on my e mail and then they send me a special discount coupon  which means I can now buy it at a much reduced and affordable price. May not work always,but worth trying.
  • EMI options- Attractive EMI options available at low rates of interest, it is specially useful when you buy a big ticket item like branded watches, handbags etc though typically available on almost all products, Advisable to go with a short tenure like 3 months EMI so that you are not charged much interest, at the same time you don't feel a dent in your pocket when you have to pay your credit card bill.
  • Watch out for special offers during sporting events (specially after India wins a match), there were some excellent offers on Babyoye when India  won any World cup matches.

Hope you find these tips useful. Shopping is a delightful experience and the delight manifolds if we can strike a good deal.
After all, as Carrie Bradshaw says- "I like my money right where I can see it, hanging in my closet"


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