Fashion has been, is and always will be very important for many of us. It’s a way to show our personality and style through clothing. The excitement of purchasing a new item that will make you feel good is one of the main reasons why the fashion industry continues to grow at a rapid rate. Many of us don’t have the time to spend a full day browsing the shops in our local area so are turning to online sites for our next fashion purchase. However, the vast amount of choice can make an online purchase overwhelming, so it’s important to take several things into consideration.
Although you may be aware of your own style and preferences, it can be really useful to browse fashion collections provided by the brand. Online retailers that have many collections available eg. festival wear, holiday shop, can lead you to purchase a new and exciting item. If you are unsure of your style, websites that have an extensive range of clothes catering to a variety of styles can make the purchase process easier as you can search for everything in one place. Taking inspiration from others is also a great way to find new items - it may be that you’ve seen an item you like on an Instagram influencer - so keep an eye out on social media as many brands create partnerships with them.
One of the main concerns when purchasing online is that the clothes won’t fit as, unlike physical retail where you can try the item on in-store or unless you have purchased from the site multiple times, there is very little reassurance. Many brands have different measurements, so you won’t necessarily be the same size across different brands. Look for websites that provide a detailed sizing guide online. Last year, ASOS began to show the same clothing item on various size models to help you better gauge how it might look on your body type.
Ease and functionality
With a vast amount of choice available, buying fashion online can be a time-consuming task. Websites that have efficient search functions and a filter that allows you to shop by clothing by price, size, colour and occasion can really help reduce the amount of time you spend searching for an item.
Shipping & returns
Most online fashion retailers offer low-cost or free shipping if your order is above a certain amount, but always double check the shipping information to ensure a larger than expected cost isn’t added to your order. If you have decided to make a last minute purchase for an upcoming occasion, fast-service options such as next day delivery are key to look out for. Good customer service and communication is also something to consider if you lead a busy lifestyle. Websites that allow you to track your order or send SMS updates on expected delivery times are best suited if you have little spare time. Convenient returns policies that allow you to return the parcel from many locations, rather than a specific depot, are the best options for hassle-free returns.
Having the assurance of good quality and durability is just as important when you buy online. Purchase from reputable brands and always look for customer reviews if you are interested in a particular item. Many online sites have a simple rating out of 5 stars against each product which will give you a good indication to the overall customer satisfaction before you purchase.
Sustainability and ethics
If, like many others, you have concerns about the environmental impact and labour conditions enforced in order to create your clothes, you may want to purchase from brands that are more transparent about how the clothing is made. Many leading brands are responding to this growing consumer awareness. For example H&M has pledged to use 100% sustainably sourced cotton by 2020 and launched a ‘Conscious Collection’ in Spring 2019.
The e-commerce fashion industry has rapidly grown over the past several years, and doesn’t show signs of slowing down any time soon. With the increased market competition and choice meeting consumer desires for speed and value, it’s key that the above points are carefully considered before making a fashion purchase online.