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Updated: Jul 6, 2020

As seen in the Sunshine Coast Daily Life & Style Magazine

Shopping Online Jacinta Emms

LOOKING for some new threads?

Shopping in online boutiques is pretty straightforward. Buying terms are usually clear, so your main obstacle is probably self-control. When it comes to sites such as eBay or Depop, while you still need self-control, you also need to be a little savvier when shopping.

There, you’re putting trust into an unknown seller and their interpretation of an item’s condition. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for items described as being “worn once” to arrive looking like it has been “worn once” every day for a year. Or a description stating, “New with tags” to be more like “New (once) with tags (reattached)”.

How do you avoid these disappointing deliveries and discover better bargains?

The first thing to do when you start searching is to check you have the correct spelling. You simply cannot find what you want if it’s not spelt correctly … Or can you?

Spelling errors are gold if you don’t mind a bargain. If you were searching for Australian label Zimmermann, you may find it spelled as Zimermann and Zimmerman. Fellow Aussie designer Alice McCall is also frequently misspelled as Alice Mcall. Incorrect spelling makes listings difficult to find, meaning better odds for you when it comes to bidding and buying. Try jumbling the spelling for all your favourite designers: you’ll be happy you did.

Next, look at all the photos. Frustratingly, some sellers use professional stock photos of garments. At times it’s not in the same colour and it’s unlikely to be the same condition as what they’re selling. Examine every photo: if something looks suspicious, don’t ignore it.

Ask as many questions as you need and request additional photos if you’re not confident with the ones provided. If images are blurry or not a true representation of an item, you’re taking a risk making a purchase.

Always read the description. Descriptions such as “condition is pre-owned” or “summer dress worn” tell you nothing about an item. One person’s pre-owned or worn condition differs greatly to another. Descriptions such as these need to be investigated.

Other things to look at are size, the measurements if provided and postage terms (and price). Many sellers offer combined postage. If they do, check out their other listings and save on postage. If they don’t mention it, ask: most sellers will be happy to combine your purchases.

If a seller has a poor feedback rating, again, you need to investigate. Perhaps they have a habit of sending dodgy items or they take too long to post packages. These are important things to know and another way to ensure what you have arriving in the mail is nothing short of marvellous.

Happy shopping!

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