Seasoned online shopper Liz Dunphy offers advice on how to get the best out of couch shopping
IF IT TAKES 10,000 hours to master something, as Malcolm Gladwell claimed in his influential book Outliers, then despite our relatively recent introduction to online shopping, many of us could teach courses in it at this stage, if not graduate with a PhD.
Online shopping is just so convenient. The shops never close and the choice is pretty much endless.
It has even made my homelife more harmonious because when my boyfriend turns on sports news or football, instead of complaining I calmly reach for the iPad and grab the opportunity to peruse the web’s varied offerings.
But be warned, the apparently benign charms of online shopping can grip you like gold fever, and shopping is becoming a recognised form of addiction.
There is even an organisation called Shopaholics Anonymous, which worryingly lists a few tell-tale signs of shopping addiction which I have on occasion recognised in myself, like slightly under-reporting how much I spent on shoes. It’s a slippery slope.
You may also have a problem if you use shopping to cheer yourself up, which I absolutely do. Shopping gives me an emotional lift like little else.
And many of my friends feel similarly. Whether it’s the perfect piece of furniture, top or dress, that new and temporarily oh-so-perfect and covetable addition to your home can instantly enhance your mood. And hopefully, once we don’t overspend or become reliant on shopping as an emotional crutch, then everyone wins.
The first thing to be aware of while shopping online is that you are using a secure website.
Https (the ‘s’ standing for ‘secure’ being key) has authenticated the website and its associate server so you can be fairly sure that you are communicating with the legitimate organisation. HTTPS also encrypts information being sent between you and the website to protect it from spying cyber eyes.
If you are going to invest (as I like to call it) in an expensive piece online, than it is usually worth doing your research. Ideally you will have tried it on in a physical shop beforehand, but if not there are a few things that you can check to increase your chances of success.
Know what you are looking for, but if you stumble on something else that looks great then don’t be afraid to deviate, especially if it is a bargain.
And finally, although online shopping is brilliant in many ways, nothing beats going into a physical shop to try something on. And supporting our local retailers, who do such a great job sourcing treasures for us, is important if we want to keep them on the streets and not just limit them to the web.
A pick of the best fashion and beauty websites
Asos.com — Huge variety of men’s and women’s clothing
BeingContent.com — Curates premium organic cosmetics
BrandAlley.co.uk — Discounted brands, like an online TKMaxx
cultbeauty.co.uk and lookfantastic.com —Brill’ cult beauty buys.
Etsy.com — Like Ebay but for handmade items and vintage clothing
HardlyEverWornIt.com — Authentic pre-owned designer items
Lollipuff.com — Pre-screened, often good value designer goods.
Net-A-Porter.com —The ‘go to’ website for designer clothing.
TheOutnet.com — Adapts the designer outlet model to an online environment. Look out for their extra 30% off sales.
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