There are literally hundreds of shopping sites out there and it’s really difficult to cut through the clutter. There are sites that cater to everyone – the all-encompassing jack-of-all-trades providers and then others that are super niche – selling only flowers or lingerie. We doubt flowers are of much interest to you though. Here we feature a rather comprehensive selection of Top 50 Shopping Sites In India that are relevant to you, our geeky reader. For any site to be featured here it had to meet one criteria – it should sell products that are of interest to our reader.
top 50 shopping sites in india
So let’s get down to them. They are listed below in no particular order.
Worth checking out for:
Gadgets, Books, Home Appliances, Computer peripherals
One of the most popular e-commerce websites out there. While its strength in offering books at a discount was its USP at one point of time, it has since diversified into various segments, with electronics and gadgets forming a chunk of it. Flipkart has a vast collection of cellphones, cameras, laptops, games, etc. and they offer most of their products at discounts. We really like their vast collection and their filtering options, as just having categories is not enough. Intelligent filtering options makes searches quick. It also has an online music store Flyte from where you can download music after paying for it. Their payment options include net banking, debit/credit card, cash cards and even Cash On Delivery.
Worth checking out for: Gadgets, Books, Home Appliances,
Computer peripherals, Lifestyle products
Another popular e-commerce site which looks somewhat similar to Flipkart in terms of layout. It offers various lifestyle categories such as books and magazines, watches, etc. The sections that are of interest to us include Camera, Computer peripherals and Electronics. There is a wide collection of peripherals. One thing we liked about this site is that it features a deal on each of its category pages. Pricing is at par with competitors and you also get the option to pay in 0 percent monthly installments.
Worth checking out for: Everything under the sun
One of the big names internationally in the e-commerce segment, Ebay. in is the Indian arm of Ebay.com. This is the kind of marketplace where you will find any kind of product thanks to their tie-ups with resellers. You can find anything from an 19th century currency notes to 55-inch 3D LED TVs to slightly older models of Mercedes and Audi! Thanks to eBay’s global presence, it has a feature called the Global Easy Buy which allows you to buy products selling in international markets in your local currency. They also have an India-specific payment gateway called PaisaPay which protects the consumer from product damages while it is in transit. They also have a section which
Worth checking out for: Everything
Belonging to the Times Group, Indiatimes shopping has been quite an old player in the e-commerce segment. It has a wonderful segmentation of its main product categories. It features five of the best deals on its homepage across categories. The discounts aren’t that great here when you compare it with the likes of Flipkart and Infibeam. Computer peripherals did not have as many categories as we would generally like. Camera section has only 13 DSLRs. All-in-all, this is not the site to go to for your electronic items purchase, as you will find better deals elsewhere. However, for non-electronic items, this site have quite a variety.
Worth checking out for: Mobile and Computer accessories
We are all familiar with Rediff, one of the oldest and most popular site in India. This is an e-commerce arm of the same. The homepage shows the 10 best deals and is populated with various categories with a couple of best deals from that category. There isn’t much segmentation within the various categories. The layout is quite clean. It has a lot of accessory items under Computer Peripherals and Mobile accessories.
Worth checking out for: Home related appliances
This is the e-commerce arm of Future Group, who are famous for their offline stores such as Big Bazaar, eZone, Pantaloons among other things. Thanks to this background, Futurebazaar has a wide range of main categories, with detailed sub-categories. barring the home relates section, we found fairly little in terms of variety on other categories. For instance the magazine section did not have much variety. It has a section called Clearance, which has products selling at heavy discounts as it pertains to stock clearance. We found a quirky slap and go MP3 player under the Music players section. You can also place a requisition for bulk orders and expect some discount on the item.
Worth checking out for: Electronic items, Computer
peripherals and Home appliances.
Probably one of the only sites which has its own TV channel. That speaks volumes about the reach of this site. The layout is clean and it has neatly divided categories. It has 7 of the best deals featured on the home page. The computers and electronics section is well-stocked with the latest and some very economical products. We even saw a Kindle Fire selling on the site for around 13 grands. Each category on its page also has featured deals which is something unique from other sites that only have best deals featured on their homepage and none when it comes to individual categories.
Worth checking out for: Fashion and lifestyle products
On first glance, the design aesthetic of the homepage of this site seems to have taken some inspiration from Pinterest. This becomes obvious when you enter the respective categories, with product pictures splashed across the screen. As you scroll, you will see items dynamically arranging themselves. Agreed, it offers something different from other sites in terms of the look. Sure it has the electronics and mobile phone category, but on the whole the site seems biased in favour of fashion and lifestyle products as the former has limited categories as compared to the latter.
Worth checking out for: Mobile phones
As the name implies, this site is only concerned will mobile devices including smartphones, dumb phones, tablets and everything in between. They also stock accessories for your mobile devices. We quite liked the Filter section, and the cell phone models get quickly updated the moment you click on any filter be it brand, form-factor, OS, CPU and other features. Speeds up your searches. The tablet collection was lacking as there are very few budget tablets on the site.While it has an accessory section, it is not heavily populated, as compared to other competitors.
Worth checking out for: Computer peripherals.
Although this site may not look as inviting as the ones we have seen above, do not go by the looks. For a Digit reader, this site makes complete sense as it has a detailed computer peripherals section. So under computer hardware, you will have all the components necessary to build your rig, the Networking section has categories for wired and wireless routers along with NAS devices and so on. It also has a Mobile phone section but there aren’t many options to choose from specially when you consider the competition. Same goes for digital cameras.
Worth checking out for: All sorts of electronics
The website has a large range of electronics from Digital Cameras to Gaming hardware and everything in between. The navigation and categorisation is well defined and the search function works well, giving you suggestions for keywords as you type. The website focuses heavily on camera equipment and is a worthy destination if you’re in the market for carry-cases, tripods, and filters. The “sale of the week” section offers up some great deals on gadgets such as routers. We even spotted a Bamboo Pen & Touch input device. Overall the prices are fairly competitive.
Worth checking out for: Niche electronics and PC peripherals
The site looks a little dated. Ok fine it looks like you’ve been transported to the ‘90s but let that take away from the fact that you can get your hands on some seriously niche hardware out here. The website seems to have of late shifted focus to some hardcore geek gear such as microcontroller programing kits and ESR meters. But if you manage to wrap your head around the website’s navigation, you’ll find some great deals on niche products like case fans, gaming accessories or even highend in-ears, etc. This is especially more so because the site seems to be undergoing some sort of liquidation or distress sale.
Worth checking out for: PC peripherals
If you’re building a PC for yourself, there are a handful of websites that you must check out here in India. The is necessary because once you decide on your config, ordering all components from one source may not be the best solution. Instead you’ll probably find a good rate for say your motherboard and CPU on one site, while ordering the GPU and RAM from another site is cheaper. Media home stocks a range of components and we’ve often seen good deals on AMD GPUs here. At the time of going to print the site was down for maintenance, hopefully it should be back up by the time you’re reading this. If not, more options follow in this list…
Worth checking out for: Mobile Phones (duh!) and phone accessories This is the online avatar of the the popular retail chain with the same name. The prices weren’t as competitive as we would’ve hoped, but a few of the featured products did come bundled with accessories making them worth a second look. If you’re not happy with the prices too, this is a good place to know your choices. The site does have a good range of products including tablets. The navigation too can help you drill down to the phone of your choice by filters such as price, operating system, etc.
Worth checking out for: All sorts of electronics
This website has all sorts of electronics. From ceiling fans to cellphones to headphones to cameras to fridges. But in trying to provide range the site seems to be spreading itself thin trying to cover more things but not specialise in any. It gets a mention in our top 50 list on account of the deals it features on its homepage. Every now and then you do come across something that you can’t resist.
Worth checking out for: PC Components
Primeabgb is a popular PC components and peripherals shop located at Mumbai’s IT Mecca, Lamington Road. What started of from there soon grew to its online version. The website offers every category of PC components at decent prices. They deliver all over India but offer a COD (cash on delivery) option for Mumbai. But the most special thing about the website is the Cool Deal of the day. In fact until recently the website used to redirect to the deal page first before letting the user go to the home page. The CPU + Mobo reals are also decent every now and then. A site definitely worth bookmarking if you frequently upgrade your PC.
Worth checking out for: PC Components
For the hardcore PC geek, Deltapage used to be the one stop destination to find the fair prices of almost any PC component. Initially it used to be just a long html page with tables listing components and prices. One had to hit [CTRL] + [F] and look for model numbers. Convenient? Most definitely. Now the site sells stuff and the prices are still decent. You may not always find the exact model that you’re looking for on sale, but hey
the range is good enough.
Worth checking out for: Electronics
Like Seventymm (mentioned somewhere ahead) this website too had a change of heart somewhere down the line. From it’s early roots in social networking it moved on to join the e-commerce bandwagon. While there’s good variety but prices are on the higher side, there’s even lifestyle as a category. The deal section is worth mentioning. There will be a deal on offer for which you have to pay a token amount (say Rs. 9) to get in on it. Once you buy into it, you could be a “lucky” winner who gets it for that amount. What about those unlucky hundreds (thousands)? You get a gift coupon for that amount, in this case Rs. 9.
Worth checking out for: PC Components
In terms of look and feel, bitfang is right up there with theITdepot.com. The site has almost everything you could need when it comes to building your own PC. The deals of the day aren’t that great always (not worth bookmarking for) but the Laptop Of The Week section needs your attention. Every now and then some deal or the other comes out that is a steal.
Worth checking out for: Audio Gear, Headphones.
ACs, high end studio monitoring headphones, tube amps, and sound cards! If great audio gear is what you crave this website is your destination. You have equipment from brands such as AKG, Audio Technica, Brainwavz, JVC, Fiio and more.
Worth checking for: Computer components
Located in Lamington road, Mumbai, this shop is a good spot to look for PC components and the prices are competitive. Some hard to find products can be got here. Overall, a decent place to buy from. Be warned, we have heard some complaints regarding prices revisions after an order is placed. In the shops defence, the owner does claim that he’s never forced anyone to take the order after a revision.
Worth checking for: Mobile phones and other odds and ends
Not a very notable site. They do offer free shipping and cash-on-delivery so that is a plus, other than that, the items listed here, except for mobile phones and Canon cameras, are very few compared to other rivals. Prices are nothing too great and are strictly decent when compared to others.
Worth checking out for: Cameras
An excellent place to visit if you’re out camera shopping. The prices of the lenses and cameras themselves are a bit high and you will find better deals elsewhere, but they do have a nice selection of camera accessories, including Manfrotto tripods. You can also order prints online and get photobooks, etc., printed and delivered. Overall, a decent site to explore, you might just find that elusive accessory you were looking for.
Worth checking out for: Headphones and electronic toys
A website more dedicated towards the home and family than geeks like us, it does offer a decent assortment of headphones and earphones. The scale model cars will appeal to some and they do have a nice selection of remote-control gadgets you can check out.
Worth checking out for: Home appliances and mobile phones
established by videocon, Digit world is a chain of retail stores all over India. The website sports a decent assortment of products, mostly (surprise surprise!) from Videocon, but they do have a good assortment of mobile phones as well. The prices are all on the higher side though.
Worth checking out for: Mobiles, cameras, home appliances
The site design is very basic, but elegant. It mostly sells mobile phones and cameras and the prices are very competitive. An interesting feature of the site is the buying guides that they offer. While not very detailed, the buying guides can serve as a n00b’s guide to understanding most of the (useless?) jargon associated with most electronic products.
Worth checking out for: Computer components, pen drives,
The site leaves much to be desired in terms of aesthetics, but for us geeks, such frivolities don’t matter. The important thing is that the prices are right. Almost everything on the site is reasonably priced and it’s worth checking out if you’re on the lookout for some PC components. One of the nice things we like about this site, seen on a couple of other sites as well, is an excel file containing updated prices of everything that they sell. Very convenient if you’re trying to decide on a PC configuration. We wish it was better maintained, but we’re quite happy with the prices.
Worth checking out for: Just about anything, excluding
The Croma line of retail stores are quite popular here and they offer almost everything consumer electronic products that you would want. Their online avatar, cromaretail.com, gives you that very same variety, just from the comfort of your own home. They include free shipping and even have EMI schemes for those who need them and they also throw in a 15 day returns policy. The prices are a little high here, especially when compared to other services such as eBay and flipkart, but you do get the comfort of having an actual physical store and people that can help you sort out your grievances. As an added bonus, the site includes some excellent deals now and then.
Worth checking out for: Just about anything, excluding computer components. This store is similar to Croma, a chain of retail stores with a website. They also sell just about any electronic product under the sun, except PC components of course. Prices are as expected, a bit on the higher side but similar to Chroma. The site is quite well laid out so finding stuff you want isn’t too big a deal. Interestingly, they have all the absolute latest products listed out, even if they’re not currently available in India, and will send you a notification (if you want it) when that product is in stock. Flipkart and a few other sites do the same things so it isn’t something new. Where this site falls short (compared to Chroma for example) is in their return policy and free shipping availability on only a select few products.
Worth checking out for: An unusual, but exhaustive assortment of gadgets. This site is home to some of the most diverse gadgets we’ve ever seen, only rivalled by eBay in terms of sheer variety. They sell everything from the usual cameras, iPads, etc. to precision engineering equipment, spy gadgets, signal jammers, telescopes, weird gift ideas and many many more. The prices are reasonable for some products, over-priced for others and as such, you’ll need to cross check the prices of some of the items to be sure you’re getting a good deal. A very good site if you’re looking for some unusual equipment or obscure, but essential gadget.
Worth checking out for: Almost every gadget you could possibly want. A site that actually does seem to list every gadget under the sun. they’ve got almost every gadget you can think of, including a “cheap” Segway i2 transporter for “only” Rs.400,000! The prices are what you would expect to in any decent retail store and don’t expect mind-boggling deals here. The sheer variety of products available might actually save you a lot of scrounging around online.
Worth checking out for: Mobiles, cameras, computers,
consumer electronics, watches
Based out of Delhi, letsshop.in is the online initiative of Call Connect India and has just started out in the e-commerece business. Currently, products are offered only under a few categories with more to come in the near future. There is a daily deal feature and the site is also listed on Junglee.com What was confusing is the Customer care hotline which they’ve mentioned in a top band on the web site to be available for 8 hours while on the bottom of the site, the very same number is quoted to be available 24×7.
Worth checking out for: Consumer Electronics, Personal
care, Stationery, Floristry
Next Electronics, pushes into the e-retail space with its online portal. The orange logo with the power cord in it is enough to convince customers that the experience of shopping from here would be guaranteed to be the same as stepping into one of their stores. The range of products is as vast as in the normal retail stores. Most elements expected of an e-retail store like live customer support and shipment tracking are made available on the homepage itself.
Worth checking out for: Toys, sporting goods, jewellery,
kitchenware, clothing, health care, faith & belief
This site stood out from the others on account of its niche offerings. We are talking about faith & belief goods. Not once before this did we come across a website that sells “Nimbu Mirchi” or an “Evil-eye horseshoe”. This must be where Madam Esmeralda good her goods. On the other hand, sporting goods are also available along with imitation jewellery. The health care section too covers a wide variety of goods. There is also another website by the same company that deals with floristry and gifts sourced through righthopping.in What’s more? They do international delivery too!
Worth checking out for: Books, Gifts & Flowers,
Mobiles, Consumer electronics, computers and peripherals,
Shop by choice has an excellent selection of books across a wide range of topics which are priced way better than its competitors. We looked up a few expensive books and compared them across a few websites and found that shopbychoice.com offered the same for a lot less. Now it may not be consistent throughout the entire range but the ones we checked out sure seemed lucrative enough. The floristry section was pretty impressive as well.
Worth checking out for: Computers and peripherals,
consumer electronics, toys, mobiles, personal care
A relatively new entrant in the scene, royalimages.in deals with a wider range of product categories. The portal is well designed with ease of use in mind, shopping here should be a nice experience. Offers wide variety of payment options with the option of EMI provided for most banks. This happens to be one of the few websites that sells toys.
Worth checking out for: PC hardware, PC peripherals,
Delhi based SMC INTERNATIONAL is not only an online store but also happens to be the distributor for a wide range of products based out of Nehru Place. So you know when you shop from here you are bound to get a good deal. Products across all popular brands be it mainstream or niche gaming are available here. It maintains a good presence on Indian forums with exclusive deals in place. Forum members swear by its customer service and it handles your product RMA process for you.
Worth checking out for: Cameras, camcorders, portable
storage, consumer electronics
At the very first glance it was pretty evident that this website focussed on cameras and other photographic equipment. Leica cameras were up for sale. The range of lenses available was pretty “wide”, no pun intended. As soon as you visit the website, the deal of the day is right there in the header, so it’s pretty convenient for those guys who have formed a daily routine around hunting for good deals.
Worth checking out for: Car accessories, Nutrition,
MACHINES AND MUSCLES!! If you are into accessorising the hell out of your vehicle then storeji.com sure has a wide selection of goodies for you starting from car mufflers, audio equipment, tyre inflators to religious idols, mops and shampoo. In case you end up putting together one heck of a fire hazard of a vehicle then they also offer mini fire extinguishers for sale. Then they also offer nutritional supplements which are otherwise hard to find in your town. The store was recently revamped and now discount coupons are put up occasionally which only adds to sweeten the deal.
Worth checking out for: Mobile accessories, headphones,
The website seems well developed however, most of the product categories are yet to be populated. The website seems to be 2 years old and barely made it into our top 50, at this point we really can’t tell if it is on the way up or heading six-feet under. The computer section only has a few anti-virus SKUs and Adobe Photoshop CS6. The camera section seems to have some pretty good offerings with some models priced about Rs.500 cheaper than most websites so you might wanna check this site out for some sweet deals.
Worth checking out for: Tools of all kinds
Best described as a one stop destination for tools of all sorts. Whether you’re a hobbyist or if power-tools are pretty much your bread and butter, this site is for you. Corded, cordless, feature packed goodness and more will be delivered to your doorstep free of cost(provided the order is above Rs.500). Then again, once you go through the website we don’t think your order would be below 500, you simply gotta have them all. It has almost all tools one needs, from those little multi-tool kits to the 1450 Watt demolition hammer. Even hard to find things like the Dremel tool is available, in fact most of its variants are.
Worth checking out for: PC hardware
If you’re on a PC hardware or accessories buying quest, this is one website you just cannot miss. The IT Depot is a popular name often recommended among tech forums online, and it has quite a fan following. Why the website is a top destination for PC hardware is evident by what it has to offer: a computer hardware section that virtually sells every building block of your computer, from the cabinet right down to the processor, you’ll find everything at this online store. The site has a nice clean layout and easy to navigate, and has brand-specific stores as well.
Worth checking out for: Entertainment, Electronic appliances
Vijay Sales is a household name for any Mumbai resident, with customers swearing by its deals and quality of service for several decades now. The website tries to keep the good show going online, trying to replicate the chain’s on-ground success. Apart from an extensive and well-stacked entertainment section, the website does a very good job of announcing special deals and offers through a large scrolling tile which is hard to miss. And the site has a simple, accessible interface. If you don’t have a Vijay Sales store near you, definitely give their website a try for deals during this Diwali.
Worth checking out for: Guaranteed deals, innovative concept
This is an interesting e-commerce website, unlike most others you’ll come across in this list or on the Web. Every time you shop at ZAPstore, it lets you buy a product at discounted rates, and from the looks of it, always. Every single time. Great, isn’t it? It’s like you’re playing Russian roulette every time you shop, but there’s some method to all that madness (make sure you read the website’s instructions carefully). Unfortunately, ZAPstore doesn’t have too many categories of products on offer, focusing only on mobiles, music players, tablets, cameras and accessories. If you’re feeling adventurous and try your hand at an unconventional way of shopping, you must try your hand at ZAPstore.
Worth checking out for: Consumer electronics, IT products
Tradus.in is now Tradus.com, in case you haven’t noticed the change or it no longer features among your online shopping destinations. Well, if not the Top 10, it should definitely feature among your Top 20 online shopping list, because Tradus has really flourished into successful shopping portal since its inception back in 2009. Its homepage has plenty of information about what Tradus offers and the overall look and feel is quite nice. The site has an extensive tech-related gadget and products section, and it’s among the most popular stuff on the website. Searching for a particular is also very easy, the results displayed in a tiled layout. Pay attention to their daily deal section, they regularly feature tech-related products there.
Worth checking out for: Software
A no-frills online shopping website, Egully isn’t the most glamorous looking of the bunch listed here. However, spend a little time on the site to find that it does offer some value. Browse through its various categories — cameras, computers, electronics, mobiles and software — to look for products you might be interested in. The dedicated deals section on the site is sparse but the deals offered seem attractive enough for you to have this sight on your online shopping horizon. Of all the sections on the site, we’d like to draw your attention to the Software section, which houses a long list of PC security suites from various vendors. These security suites are sold at quite a substantial discount, so take notice.
Worth checking out for: Consumer electronics
Popular for purchasing books online, Indiaplaza has slowly mushroomed into a larger online shopping portal selling a variety of items across different categories. The site’s designed has evolved since it first began back in 1999, and its current avatar sports a trendy yet simple skin, with easy-to-navigate sections and categories. We found some deals in its mobile section, handsets selling at a lower price compared to some of the more popular websites for smartphone buying. Among IT products and gadgets, the site has a plethora of products on offer, with a substantial number sporting discounted price. If you’re new to online shopping, feel secure in the knowledge that Indiaplaza’s one of the oldest online shopping websites in the country, and it still has a lot left to offer. Over the years, some of us have shopped here on a regular basis and can vouch for its service and legacy.
Worth checking out for: Mobile phones
This website’s similar to Vijay Sales — Big C started as a network of stores with a strong foothold in the state of Andhra Pradesh, only to proliferate and seek greener pastures online. Well, the website is frugal at best, in terms of quality and depth of smartphones and feature phones on offer. But it has quite a big GSM handsets sections, and a respectable Dual SIM phones home, both of which are well worth a look on your online quest to secure the best possible deal. As you shortlist your preferences, keep an eye on the right-sidebar which has an assortment of radio buttons and checkboxes to finetune your search further. The website also sells smartphone batteries, headphones and other accessories.
Worth checking out for: Mobile phones, computers
This website started its journey as a movie rental service back in 2007, but it didn’t do too well. In its current state, Seventymm has officially shut down its DVD rental business and now only functions as an online shopping website. It has a very tiny section dedicated to technology-related products, but it’s well worth a look. Hit the Electronics tag on the left sidebad to enter the shop’s gadget section, which focuses heavily on mobile phones and computers. The site does a good job of categorizing and displaying the product list and information, and of course, almost every other product here sports some sort of discount. This should definitely be on your online shopping radar.
Worth checking out for: All things related to digital cameras
If you’re a serious shutterbug, then you definitely need no introduction to this online website. JJ Mehta’s has been a focal point for thousands of camera enthusiasts in India, and its shop is even more popular. From simple point-and-shooters to professional dSLRs, from camera tripods to memory cards, JJ Mehta’s has everything to offer to both amateur and veteran photographers. It’s a cardinal sin to call yourself a photographer and not have this website on your online camera shopping spree.
How to buy clothes online (Guide on shopping for clothes online)
Shopping for clothes can be fun but it could also be confusing and sometimes intimidating. When we talk of buying clothes from online stores it can even be more complicated and intimidating than shopping from physical stores. Today I’ll be giving you 5 tips that will make your shopping experience better so you can enjoy the full convenience of buying clothes online.
Tips on buying clothes online
- Know your measurements and sizes
- Check the description and reviews
- Reference the sizing chart of the item
- Consider your wardrobe
- Pay attention to the shipping and returns information
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I earn a small commission when you make purchases through the links. Which supports me and keeps the blog running (free for you)
- Know your measurements and sizes
This is very important and will greatly affect how often you return clothes. Knowing your measurements is not that difficult, you can ask your local tailor to do it or you can get a measuring tape and do it yourself. Take measurements of your chest, back, arm width, arm length, pants length and more (let me know if you’d like me to write on measurements).
You should know if you wear S, M, XL etc. Know your shoe size and your pants size. Have it in mind that different countries/regions have different sizing systems, so know the one you use in your country/region and compare/convert it to that of the clothing you want to purchase.
- Check the description and reviews
Every piece of clothing should have a description section where you will find things like the materials used, the sizing chart and some additional information. Take the information you find here into consideration before making your purchase.
Unfortunately, some descriptions are not always true and can be misleading. This is why you also need to check the reviews, this is where you’ll find unfiltered information about the clothing, that can be more accurate than the description.
In my opinion, reviews are more important and factual than the description.
- Reference the sizing chart of the item
If you have taken your measurements and have checked the description, this is when you apply both. Reference the sizing chart in the description with your measurements and figure out what size of the item you should purchase. Different stores can have different sizing systems so, doing this will reduce your chances of buying the wrong size.
- Consider your wardrobe
When you want to purchase clothing, make sure it’s something you can and will use. Consider the other pieces of clothing in your wardrobe and how well that item can be matched with other items you already own. This will make sure you’re getting value for your money.
Although if you are buying clothing to experiment with a new style or trend then this may not be applicable.
- Pay attention to the shipping and returns information
A lot of people don’t do this and may regret it later. Take note of the shipping options and information so you’ll have an idea of how quickly it ships, this might make you rethink if you want to go through with the purchase or not. (You should note that the shipping period may not always be accurate).
The return policies will determine how easy or difficult returning an item will be. You won’t always keep what you buy and so understanding the return policies of the store will make things easier.
When you have bought clothes a couple of times online, it becomes easier as you get used to stores you shop at often and understand their sizing, shipping and other information.
You should understand that you may not be able to buy everything you want online so always check physical stores once in a while. This can even help with the sizing of clothes from online stores if they have physical outlets because they’ll likely sell the same items.
How to shop for clothes online (without having to send everything back)
As the summer sales start, the Guardian’s stylist gives her tips for buying clothes online – from measuring heel heights to working out what size bag you actually need
The summer sales start this week, but shopping online – and not being able to try on clothes before you buy them – can feel like one of modern life’s annoyances. Dresses are too short, trousers are too long, and fabric is so sheer that you can see your underwear through it; seconds after your package hits the doormat you realise you’ll be spending your next lunch break elbow-to-elbow with other serial returners in the post office queue.
But it doesn’t have to be that way: here is everything I’ve learned over nine years professionally trawling the internet for clothes to help you score some bargains – and reclaim your lunch breaks.
- Check the measurements
Check the height measurement of the model in any picture and note whether they’re wearing heels or flats – that will help you gauge the length of skirts, trousers and dresses. A skirt that sits above the knee on someone who is almost 6ft could end up around your ankles if you’re smaller. On the flip side, if you’re after a pair of cropped trousers this season and you’re petite, then a pair that look calf-length on a model might be full-length on you – it’s worth checking them out.
- Watch the videos
If there is a video of a model wearing the item you want to buy, always watch it. You’ll get a good idea of the weight and quality of the fabric as they walk. Asos, for example, have catwalk videos of almost everything. Thin material wafting around legs won’t be what you want come October.
- Size yourself up
If you’re shopping at Zara, try the “what’s my size?” function. It lets you enter your height and weight, as well as whether you prefer your clothes “tighter” or “looser”. For many items on the website it will then tell you what size garment people of similar dimensions to you tended to buy, and what percentage of those sales were successfully kept, not returned.
- Go for classics
Think classic rather than fashion-forward pieces that won’t date easily when you’re sale-shopping: minimal jackets, tailored trousers, light knitwear and silk shirts are perfect. Remember, there is often a reason that items are in the sale in the first place: often, buyers are betting that certain trends won’t be hot by the time the next season starts.
- Laundry labels
Check to see if the washing instructions are on the site. That 75% off “bargain” could set you back a lot more over the course of a year when you see that it’s dry clean only.
- How high?
Before you buy heels online, measure the height of the highest shoes you currently own that you can comfortably wear, and don’t be tempted to buy anything higher. There are always loads of super high heels in the sales that might look like the perfect party shoe, but they are still there for the very good reason that they are completely useless to walk in.
- Dimensions, dimensions, dimensions
Accessories may seem like a safe bet, but always make sure you check their dimensions. Bags can be much smaller IRL than they look online, and if they are made from stiffer leather than you expect, they might not have any give. Depth is the most important measurement of all. Cross-body bags often look pretty substantial on a screen, but in reality they might not have room for your keys, purse, phone and Tamagotchi.
And if you do have to take things back…
- Buy once, in bulk
Most sites offer free returns, so it may be cheaper, less annoying and kinder to the environment in the long term to do one big shop, rather than lots of little ones, and try on everything you want in a range of sizes. If you’re sales shopping, do this early so the best bits don’t sell out – you can sign up for prompt emails to tell you when your favourite shops’ sales have started. But check the site’s returns policy carefully before you load up your basket.
- Better deliveries and returns
Some returns are more annoying than others. Using Doddle makes things slightly less painful. The dedicated returns service is super quick – none of the gargantuan lines you come across in the post office – and you don’t even need to reseal your package, just drop your parcel in and they will email a tracking receipt to you. They currently work with Asos, Boohoo, Marks & Spencer, Net-a-Porter, Warehouse and Boden; if you don’t know it yet, Google it to find out where your nearest branch is.
Another good service is CollectPlus, which gives you a list of shops that provide delivery and collection of parcels in your local area. If you’re a last minute shopper you can also sign up to services such as Asos’s top-level delivery service Premier, which gives you next day delivery for £9.95 for a year.