Thursday, May 5, 2016

Online Shopping and Why I Chose ASOS

I was expecting a box, they sent me a plastic bag; disappointed my invisible cat.
So, one of the many things I did towards the end of last year was to buy something online. That in itself is not at all significant; the thing is, it was the first time I bought a clothing item online. Buying clothes online is not the same as, say, buying skincare online [I can hear someone saying ‘duh!’] for one glaring reason - size. Shopping online was not new to me and my biggest purchase was from Victoria's Secret; and for the lingerie company that it is, it's quite an irony that I only bought lotions from them. But it's not surprising, in my opinion, that one is even more impulsive in buying skincare instead of clothes; at least to me I'm less likely to return a skincare in a different scent than ordered, than if I had bought a clothing item in the wrong size. Besides, you can buy skincare that you're already familiar with; whereas with clothes they don't make the same style with the same fabric for years and years, and even then the size within the same brand can vary.

Having said that, a few months ago I was feeling brave. I couldn’t find the bra I wanted at the local brick-and-mortar stores, so I turned to the Internet for help.

A Few Online Stores I Considered

Of course ASOS wasn't the only one on my list. Some other online stores I considered were Shopbop, Anthropologie, Free People, Urban Outfitters and Nasty Gal; all of which have their own forte [and of course prior to these bigger online stores, I almost bought from a smaller one-person store]. I live a long, long way away from these stores and the first thing in my mind was the shipping rate [even after numbing it with drool-worthy beautiful stuff]. I almost bought from one store only to find out that the shipping was $60, which was more than double the price of the product itself - I didn't think it was worth it.

And the Winner Goes to… Free Shipping! 

Shopbop and Free People both offer free international shipping but requiring $100 and $150 of minimum purchase respectively. As a first time buyer I was not prepared to invest in that much money in something I might not like.

ASOS free shipping minimum is just £20. That is way low than any of the stores above; which means you can buy in smaller batches and not have to worry about duties and taxes. On top of that - and this might work with or against you - my package arrived without any need of a signature. Now, this might not be what you’d want if you’re worried about missing packages. But I almost have never had any missing packages, but I do get a lot of packages that I have to retrieve at the post office; and some of them were 'attempted' delivery when there were people at home! The postman simply rings once or twice and then leave without waiting, not even five minutes, for us to open the door. That’s why I like packages that don’t require signatures.

What I Hope ASOS Can Improve On

What I think is missing from ASOS is a buyers' review section, which I think Free People is good at. The #asseenonme section is not helping in any way [not for me anyway] in my actual shopping experience; remember I'm not browsing for inspiration or virtual window shopping. And ASOS, facts without context isn’t helping either; the "our model wears size small" on the product page does not give me any clue how small is ‘small’. Nasty Gal has taken this a step further by including their model’s measurements and a few other stuff that are just fun but unnecessary; but the point is there’s context, and I can guesstimate how small is 'small'. With ASOS, I had to search for the model’s measurements myself [who knew there was an online forum dedicated to identifying, and a database of, ASOS models - you're welcome].

I feel like I’ve been bitten by the online shopping bug and might be brave enough to buy from other stores one day. Have you bought something from ASOS? What do you think of shopping online?

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