Pre-COVID-19, online shopping was simply a convenient option. Malls were always packed with shoppers, going in and out of boutiques and stores. Heck, even tiangges and ukay-ukay stores needed to be perused in real life before you buy the bargain pieces.
Apart from real-life scrutiny of goods, trying on clothes was an integral part of the shopping journey. What you see in catalogues may be pretty in pictures, but once you try it on, you’re simply not in love with it. When this happens, you can easily put it back on the rack and move on to the next.
But what happens when this fundamental part of shopping isn’t a clever step to take in a pandemic-hit city? Naturally, we turn to online for help. Nowadays, we can purchase anything and everything with just a few clicks of a button. Shopping nirvana is at your fingertips!
Of course, the way we knew online shopping has also changed. If before we would complain of its flaws—what with its incomplete listings, vague sizing, poor customer service, lack of discounts and markdowns—today, we see its version 2.0 that addresses all these things. Even local brands sprouting from Instagram are becoming more and more detailed to answer all shoppers’ questions, and to make each transaction easy and hassle-free.
Despite these previous issues getting resolved, the pandemic has surfaced more concerns when we talk about online shopping. Below, we list hiccups you may experience while shopping in the new normal, plus ways you can easily overcome them.
1. You order the wrong size.
The mistake: You heavily rely on one personal notion of what small, medium, and large sizes are like.
What to do: Remember: This descriptive sizing is all relative! It is always best to ask for the exact numerical measurements (or at least its range) to be informed better of the item size you’re ordering. Online brands nowadays have improved their customer services so you don’t have to worry about having your inquiries left stale and unanswered in their inboxes.
Meanwhile, if you’re ordering from an international brand, you can always google their sizing guides. Shopping websites like Zalora, Netaporter, and more, also have integrated size charts that you can check out for a better shopping experience. The same goes for shoe sizing: US, Japan, EU, AU sizing are all different. Whip out your tape measure or ruler and determine your exact measurement in centimeters or inches. Take the extra step and double check!
2. You expect your packages to be at your doorstep right away.
The mistake: You complain and rant excessively after not receiving your orders within a short amount of time.
What to do: Flex your patience muscle! Allow for some logistical delays, especially during this time. The pandemic has also affected operations across warehouses, cities, and countries so it’s best to be extra patient in waiting!
Tracking numbers are often given so you have an idea where your packages are, so unless these aren’t updated for weeks and months since you first purchased the item, then no need to go ballistic online. Instead, preserve your energy and just hit that refresh button for now.
3. You don’t check reviews.
The mistake: You don’t do your homework of sniffing around online for customer feedback.
What to do: Perhaps this is the only time that strangers on the internet would be of help to you! If you’re buying big ticket items (like that espresso machine you've always wanted or a new aesthetic trolley you saw online), looking through customer reviews will save you from expensive mistakes. Do the groundwork and scroll for feedbacks that previous customers have left or check out the brand's IG highlights and tagged photos so you can have an idea of what you’re getting yourself into. No harm in being extra sure!
4. You buy impulsively.
The mistake: You look through the site, add to cart, and check out within the same hour—only to regret the purchase later in the day.
What to do: As much as shopping is an experience that induces happy hormones, you also need to be sensible where you spend your hard-earned money. So unless you’re extremely sure of the purchase and it’s an urgent need, it doesn’t hurt to wait for a few days before checking out your cart. Sometimes, online stores offer special discounts and voucher codes if you leave something in your cart! You can also strategically time your purchases to fall on sale season or markdown days to get a better deal.
You can also save up on delivery fees or come up with better voucher combos if you wait to fill up your cart. Most importantly, you can give yourself more time to think if your chosen item is a wise shopping decision you won’t regret later on.
5. You don’t disinfect your packages.
The mistake: You get too excited when you receive your mail that you forget to sanitize them.
What to do: The COVID-19 virus was proven to live off certain objects and surfaces. So, to be safe, keep a disinfectant spray by your front door or gate. As you claim your packages, spritz it, and immediately throw away its outer packaging. Wash your hands thereafter, before proceeding to check out your stuff.