The honest guide to shopping online this festive season: 10 things you need to know

The honest guide to shopping online this festive season: 10 things you need to know

SINGAPORE - Online shoppers may be shivering in excitement at sales during the festive season, or maybe the erratic cold weather.

Whether it is shopping for yourself, friends or loved ones this Christmas and New Year, here are 10 things to keep in mind when facing the big bad world of virtual shops, from those who would know best - the online shops themselves, shoppers and security company Sophos.

Be a happy shopper

1. Be prepared to give away your online clothes buys to your child. If you do not have one, any child would do.

Some blogshops have inaccurate sizing, and the item that arrives will not look like anything you saw on the model in the picture.

Whether you are buying for yourself or someone else, if you want to avoid such situations, it is safer to buy from international labels.

Here is a hilarious experience of an American blogger and Huffington Post writer who bought clothes from a blogshop called Nastydress that is apparently based in Singapore:

2. Do your shopping early.

While shopping online means you do not have to wait in long queues and jostle with others, your items are going to be just a few out of the many that the shop will be posting out.

Items can be delayed even when they are bought during off-peak seasons, so there is no saying when your parcels will arrive.

3. There is nothing worse than giving a faulty or fake item as a gift.

The Internet is full of people trying to lure undiscerning online shoppers with their cheap prices.

Cheap is good for the pocket, but be careful where you buy at such prices. Check online for reviews of the shop, and if there are none, it is better to avoid trouble.

4. Try to combine purchases with friends or others you know who may be buying from the same site so you can share shipping costs.

This way of sharing used to be popular in "sprees" that were advertised on livejournal blogs.

There is no reason it should not be done still. Anything to save a cent during this budget-busting sale season!

Be a considerate shopper

5. If you are buying clothes for yourself, make sure to take your measurements correctly.

One pet peeve of online shops is that customers do not measure themselves accurately, end up buying the wrong size, then blame the shop.

6. If you do not want to be a customer from hell, read the terms and conditions and other standard information on shipping, delivery, postage on the shop's website, so that the shop staff or owner do not need to repeat what they have already stated in the FAQs.

And also, if the shops are nice enough to pre-order for you before you pay, pay on time.

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