Between sizing queries and delivery delays - online shopping can quickly becoming mind boggling.
Parcel Motel are one brand who aim to make Internet shopping a seamless and fool proof way of snagging fashion bargains in a stress free manner.
To celebrate their third birthday, they have enlisted the help of stylist and fashion blogger Ciara O'Doherty to find out her top tips for online shopping.
1. Do your research
Stick to well-known and reputable online retailers such as ASOS, Littlewoods and Debenhams, who have a great customer service reputation, and you won’t go wrong. If you find yourself browsing on a site you don't recognise, be sure to do a bit of research on them before you buy. A simple Google search is enough to determine whether they are reputable or not.
2. Get specific
Going online "just for a browse" always leads to over-spending, as there is so much on offer. Get specific with what you are looking for and stick to that. Most online stores have a filter tool for specific colours, sizes and styles, so you can narrow down the amount of time you need to spend trawling for the perfect item. You can be forgiven for taking a teeny peek in the sale section afterwards however, you're only human.
3. Measure yourself
We all know that dress sizes vary between brands, so measuring yourself in inches is key to knowing your exact size. Most online retails offer specific size guides, which you should always check before committing to a purchase. Have a little measuring tape tucked away somewhere that you can whip out whenever you need to check a size.
4. Size up
If you are unsure, always size up. If it arrives and it doesn't fit, you can always return the item, especially with Parcel Motels hassle-free returns and if your heart is still set on it, a quick trip to the tailor could ensure the perfect fit for your shape.
5. Check the retailers returns policy
Before you buy, make yourself aware of the retailers return policy in case you change your mind and want to return an item for free with Parcel Motel. Most retailers allow 30 days to return items but some are strictly 14 days so allow yourself enough time so that you can get your refund.
6. Look out for discount and promotion codes
Many retailers will offer discount codes on the home page of their website or promotion code such as free delivery or free credit for recommending friends. Look carefully for these as some you'll miss if you blink. A Google search will help with this too. Signing up to your favourite retailers newsletters will ensure that you never miss a discount code or flash sale again.
7. Save on delivery costs by using Parcel Motel
If the delivery charge to Ireland is higher than the UK, use your Parcel Motel virtual UK address to save on delivery costs. Most UK retailers offer free delivery to UK postcodes. It's also great for sites that won't ship to the Republic of Ireland, is there anything worse in having to abandon your cart when you've simply got to have what's in it!
8. Check out with PayPal
If the site you're shopping on offers PayPal as a payment option, it can be a much easier way to pay than having to add card details and delivery address. Who wants to waste time typing when you can be shopping!
9. Check transit times
If you need that top to wear to the girls night out tomorrow, make sure you check when you can expect the item to be delivered. Transit times can vary from next day to one month so if you need it for a specific event , remember to check your options first. The great news is that cut off times for orders are getting better for example you can now order from Next up to 11pm and have it delivered the next day!
10. Know your rights
When shopping online you have the right to expect the same consumer protection as you would have if you bought the goods in a local shop. Even though the returns period has lapsed, you can still return faulty goods while they are within warranty.
Parcel Motel are celebrating their 3rd birthday by offering Irish customers free returns to their favourite online retailers for the month of May. With popular brands such as ASOS, Littlewoods, Debenhams, Karen Millen, Mint Velvet, JD Sports, Marks and Spencer, Missguided and BooHoo on board, shoppers can be braver than ever before when shopping online.
To find out more about Parcel Motel locations, prices and to avail of their free returns for May offer, visit www.parcelmotel.com