I love to shop online. The convenience of doing my shopping from the comfort of my home is great…except when it isn’t.
Don’t you hate when you have to ship stuff back? It sucks paying money to return an item.
As much as I love to shop online there are definitely some risks involved.
That’s why in this article I want to give you 5 tips that can help you maximize your online shopping experience.
1. Do your research
One of the biggest drawbacks to purchasing clothing online is that is difficult to ensure proper fit. A simple solution to this problem is to try stuff on at brick and mortar stores in order to better understand how different brands and sizes fit your body. In fact, I encourage you to take notes and snap pics with your smart phone while you try stuff on. This will allow you to build a sort of reference manual on all the different brands and styles and how they fit your physique. This will make online shopping about a million times easier because you will likely know which garments in which sizes will fit you.
However, at the same time, I also realize that you may often come across items online that you really like but have never had the opportunity to try on in a brick and mortar store. In these circumstances I recommend that you buy 2 sizes of the garment and ship the one (or both!) back that doesn’t fit.
Speaking of shipping…
2. Look for free shipping
Another drawback associated to online shopping is the cost of shipping. I know I have passed on many great items after looking at the exorbitant costs of having the item shipped. Fortunately, many online retailers offer free shipping after a minimum purchase threshold is met. While this is good for when you are buying big ticket items like jackets and shoes, it certainly doesn’t help you if you are in the market for less expensive items such ties, belts, and other accessories.
What can you do?
I recommend you keep an eye out for when retailers offer free shipping on all orders, irrespective of how much you spend. I know that online retailers such as JCrew, Gap, and Banana Republic routinely offer promotions for free shipping on all orders, while retailers like Nordstrom offer free shipping on all orders as a standard practice, which is great, especially when combined with their half yearly sales.
Speaking of sales…
3. Look for sales
We’ve mentioned in a previous article our love of sales and our attitude towards online shopping is no different. In fact, most online retailers routinely have sales or special offers every month (if not a couple of times a month). The key is finding out when the different promotions are going on so you can cash in.
How do you do that?
Fortunately, there is a great website that does this for you! If you haven’t already checked out Dappered I highly recommend you do so. Every Thursday Dappered posts the 5 hottest sales or promotions going on in men’s retail with a nod to additional offers in the postscript. Furthermore, if you routinely check the Dappered forums you will also stumble upon the latest deals posted by forum members as they come across them. Remember, style does not have to be expensive!
4. Don’t forget about non-traditional men’s retailers
I’ll admit that I often get tunnel vision when I’m shopping online. I’ll routinely visit a handful of sites over and over again waiting for a deal on a certain item, completing closing myself off from all other retailers. While this strategy has netted me some great gear over the years, I’m sure I have also missed out on a lot of other great offers on sites that I would never have thought to visit for men’s retail items.
Case in point: Amazon
For those of you who don’t know, sites like Amazon are great for men’s retail items, particularly watches and shoes. They often have tiered sales for these items and in one such sale I was actually able to snag a beautiful pair of Clark’s desert boots for around $60 (which I still routinely find at various brick and mortar stores for over $100).
That’s why I recommend you check sites like Amazon and Ebay for men’s retail. Although these businesses are not dedicated to menswear you’ll often be surprised by what you can find.
5. Don’t forget about MTM (made to measure)
The online market for made to measure (MTM) men’s clothing has really taken off over the past 5 years. There are now lots of great companies offering quality MTM men’s clothing at very reasonable prices. For well built men this is fantastic news. The growth of online MTM has greatly reduced the cost of entry into this field. Before the burgeoning online MTM market, guys had to source quality custom clothiers locally. Not only was this a pain in the ass but it likely cost a pretty penny as well. The online MTM market has now opened up the field to men everywhere.
One caveat that is worth mentioning is that not all online MTM companies are equal. Just like with anything else some are better than others. I highly recommend you spend some time doing your research before jumping on the online MTM bandwagon.
Online shopping can be a huge convenience for many men. Many of us dread going to the local mall so when we have the option to buy stuff online we’re often more than ready to take the gamble. I say gamble because online shopping does come with its own risks such as not being able to try on the product as well as the often high shipping fees. My hope is that these 5 tips will help you mitigate some of these risks and make your online shopping experience that much better.
Here’s the looking sharp!