10 Tips for Buying Children’s Clothing Online
Even the most seasoned shopping maven can be daunted the first time she does it online. These guidelines are designed to help you find the qualities to look for in a store so that your first experience buying children’s clothing online will be as enjoyable and successful as possible!
Tip #10. Looks Do Matter
Would you shop in a dirty, overcrowded store with merchandise spilling onto the floor? Most likely not. The online equivalent is a cluttered, disorderly Web site. The store's home page should be professional looking, visually appealing, and simple.
Tip #9. Help! I’m Lost!
The menus that you click on to see the store’s products should be easy to use. You should be able to go anywhere in the store within one or two clicks from the home page. You should also be able to get back to the home page within a single click no matter where you are, as well as be able to view your shopping cart contents or check out.
Tip #8. The More Information, the Better
Each product being sold should include a clear image, a brief description, the price, brand, and size, as well as provide a bigger image with only one click. If you are buying a brand that you haven’t tried before, make sure the item description includes the material and a size chart. Particularly when buying swimwear or boutique items that are more costly, make certain that the manufacturer’s size is accurate to your child’s size. Call the store’s 800 number if there is nothing in the item’s description.
Tip #7. What’s With the Ads for Other Stores?
Some stores do what is called reciprocal advertising (different stores advertise for each other on their own site) in order to increase their visibility. Some stores do affiliate advertising (they get a commission if somebody clicks on the ad and spends money at the other store). Stick to the stores that don’t need to earn extra business by plastering ads all over their sites.
Tip #6. Do They Protect Your Privacy?
Tip #5. How’s the Customer Service?
Would you shop at a department store that has no Customer Service department? The online equivalent is their toll-free 800 number (or 888, 877, 866). Before you start shopping, make sure that email isn’t your only means of communication. Try the number to make sure it’s in order. Unless it’s a small boutique, somebody should answer the phone, especially if you are calling during business hours on a weekday. If you want to be sure you’re going to get excellent customer service, you can always check to see if the store is a member of the BBBOnline.
Tip #4. How’s the Security?
The best way to determine whether a store has good security is to look for a logo from a company like VeriSign or EnTrust. Click on the logo and you should get a pop-up window that shows that the store’s identity has been verified and that their data is encrypted. If they don’t have such a logo, or if you still feel uncertain about giving out your credit card information, consider shopping only at places that use a secure 3rd party for their financial transactions, like PayPal.
Tip #3. It Costs HOW Much?
Before you complete the purchase, check the total amount you will be charged. Be sure to factor in the shipping costs before you get too excited about the great deals you found! Shipping costs should be no higher than $6 or $7, regardless of how much you spend.
The store’s shipping policy should also clearly state how long it takes to process your order as well as when you should expect it to be shipped. It should also tell you which shipping carriers they use, so that you can track your order.
Tip #2. Oops, Wrong Size!
Always check the return policy before buying anything. Some stores do not have a return policy while others only allow non-sale items to be returned. The policy should tell you in plain English exactly how long you have to return an item (2-4 weeks is reasonable), as well as explain in detail what to do if you wish to exchange an item, receive a refund, or return a defective item.
And finally, above all else…
Tip #1. Go with Your Gut
If your overall impression of the store is positive and it meets (or exceeds) the criteria outlined in these guidelines, there’s only one thing left to do… SHOP! And bookmark the store for future expeditions!
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Learn more about our store Encore Baby at My World (www.EncoreBaby.com)