Saturday, April 30, 2005

Online shopping = Bargain hunting?

For those of you not in the know, I have been really sick these past few days.

Committed to bed and battling cough syrup-induced delirium, the only way I could think of to ease my boredom, besides the occasional post on The Fashion Spot, was to do online shopping.

Online shopping has its pros of course - you get to have brand new pieces delivered to your doorstep. You also get to preview the designs of up-and-coming designers, honestly some online boutiques have the most interesting selections compared to those that you see in Neiman's or Bergdorf. You get to avoid the crowd at the shopping malls; compared to a long time ago, when you had to drive to Los Angeles to get your fashion fix, a lot of these brands and boutiques are going online. Also, some of the pieces being sold online are exclusives, which means the choices of you bumping into someone wearing the same piece is pretty slim. Sometimes you can avoid sales tax if the website is headquartered in a different state. Plus, more often than not, you have the advantage of comparing prices and you can save a substantial amount with a coupon code. These codes can also sometimes get you free shipping on your order.

But to everything there's certainly a flip side. What happens if what you receive doesn't fit? Or it's not quite what you expected? Then there's the hassle of returns which, though some websites are trying to make it as pain-free as possible, still cannot entirely reduce the inconvenience of having to drive to the post office to return your package.

Online shopping is even harder if you are a die-hard online shopper based outside of the United States. Since I alternate my time between CA and Singapore, battling on-line shopping deprivation is something that I face when I am back in Singapore. I love to shop everywhere, online, offline, eBay..but most of the clothing sold in Singapore is pretty generic. Don't get me wrong, there are treasures to be found in Singapore, but they are far and few in much so that most people end up wearing the same style or thing.

The trick is to make online shopping work for you, regardless of where you are. Firstly, if I am in Singapore, I only buy from websites that offer a minimal of 20% discount to cover my shipping costs and save some money in the process. I must admit that it is hard work to look for a discount code for a website all the time and success is not always guaranteed.

Sometimes I am forced to make a decision if I can't find a coupon code. Then it really depends on how badly I want the item and whether I can find an alternative at another website or offline.

If you are based in US, it is all the better. Quite a lot of websites offer free shipping with/without minimal purchase amount. Throw in a coupon code and you really get substantial savings which you would not be able to get at brick-and-mortar stores. If you live in a different state from where the website is based, you will most probably save on the sales tax too!

I really love to shop online as there are bargains if you know where to look. Plus a lot of websites carry clothes which are really unique.

Shop online - you'll never know what you'll find!

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