We’ve all been there, hunting through the sales racks in our favourite stores, trying to find an affordable item that suits our style. Sometimes you find a winner, and sometimes you leave empty-handed. It’s all part of the sales rush. But what about trying to do the same with online clothes shopping? It’s definitely a convenient approached and safer approach given the pandemic. Have you been wondering what options are out there? Can it be just as cost-effective, if not more so?
Here are some of the pros and cons of clothes shopping online :
Clothing retail websites
Let’s start with our favourite clothing retailers’ online stores. Can you get a good deal? Well, there can be discounts and items that aren’t available in-store. For example, TK Maxx’s Gold Label products can only be found in selected stores but can be purchased on the website all year round.
The majority of online fashion websites offer deals such as discounts on your first purchase or money off for signing up to e-newsletters. Signing up for texts from the retailer may include added discount on your purchase.
There are downsides too. Sizing charts aren’t always as accurate as you’d like, meaning you could need to return items by post. Postage costs can sometimes make purchases more expensive so be aware of the return policies before you make a purchase. Some retailers will let you return products at no charge within a specified number of days.
Discount and clearance websites
These are all over the internet, and not all of them are as genuine as they seem. There are two things to check closely before you make any purchases. First, are they a reputable business? And secondly, are they actually selling the labels they are advertising?
Another thing to check here is the price of items. Are you sure they’re not cheaper elsewhere? Just because it claims to be much cheaper than the recommended retail price, it doesn’t mean that the same items aren’t on sale on other sites.
If you’re unsure where to start, take a look at Clearance365, which is a trustworthy women’s fashion site where you can find plenty of bargains from high street brands.
Secret sales websites and apps
These are perhaps not as well-known. But there are websites and apps that are purely dedicated to offering exclusive sales, such as Secret Sales, which caters for women, men and children. On the site, you will find everything from low-end fashion to luxury clothing at the lowest price possible.
Unlike Secret Sales, some websites or apps require you to sign up in advance before you can access the offers. They’re not usually available elsewhere, so you could get yourself a real bargain.
Some will be mainly high street labels, whereas others are focused on the designer end of the market. So, do your research beforehand. Some sales will be time-limited, so you have to be available to shop at the right time.
Other than apps that are just for exclusive sales, there are tools you can download to help you keep track of when and where sales are happening. Many are free to use and allow you to set up alerts, so you don’t have to keep checking your phone every five minutes.
One of the best clothing shopping apps is ASOS, which offers regular app-only discounts on high street and designer fashion. You can also buy from independent brands on the ASOS Marketplace, where you can find plenty of vintage pieces and unique finds.
I always recommend setting up a free account on Rakuten where you I have found cash back opportunities at many retailers and they change daily or weekly. I have the browser plug-in and when I go to shopping sites, I will check if there’s a cash back discount for my online purchase. I have gotten discounts ranging from 1% – 16% so there are definitely some great opportunities and since the account is free to set up, there’s nothing to lose! These discounts are on top of any promotional codes or other sales going on.
The downside? Apps offer quick and instant access, which may encourage you to shop more than you normally would. So, you could end up spending more rather than less. This is certainly a problem I have!
Online vintage stores
It’s not just buying new clothing that can be cost-effective online. There is a growing trend towards online vintage stores too. And these usually offer an added bonus that other sites don’t – the ability to make money.
Some stores such as Enviroclothes and Webuyanyclothes will buy your unwanted clothing, as long as it’s in good condition and sellable, of course. This gives you a bit of extra cash to buy yourself a few new-to-you items to refresh your wardrobe. Another benefit is that you can book a collection with these sites, so all you need to do is bag up your items and pick a convenient pick-up date.
When swapping your clothes for cash, make sure you double-check how much you will get. Most sites charge around £0.40 to £0.50 per kg, but you should steer clear if it’s any less than that.
Online clothing catalogues
If you don’t have the money in your account when you need it, catalogues with credit can be an attractive option. They usually allow you to buy the clothes you want and pay for them later. The obvious plus here is access to credit which you can pay back in more manageable chunks.
The downside is that you’re limited to what the online catalogue stocks. And, of course, you’re tying yourself into a potentially long financial commitment.
Fortunately, there are many options for cost effective clothes shopping online. You can find whatever you are looking for. Hopefully, you will find this gets you off to a good start! If you have any suggestion or pointers for other shoppers, please leave your tips in the comments below!