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Online Shopping: Who? Where? Why?

Online shoppingI do a lot of online shopping. Like, a lot. It probably isn’t healthy that my first instinct is to buy something online rather than try to schedule a trip to a store. I got in the habit when I was working such long hours at the law firm that — aside from local lunch-hour trips — it was just easier to buy everything online since I wasn’t available when most stores were open. I’ve kept the habit now that I have small kids, particularly for baby items — we once ran around to six different baby stores looking for a nursing thing we needed when Jack was first born, and later found it was available on Amazon (with the one-day shipping option, too). SO: I shop a lot, online. But it’s interesting to me that almost all of my shopping is done from only a few retailers:

  • Amazon: We pay for Prime Membership — and my preferred credit card is my Amazon Visa, which nets me triple points at Amazon — so it’s hard to beat. Free two-day shipping, a 30-day return policy (with free easy returns), a wide selection, and Subscribe & Save discounts for many household things (that sometimes beat even Costco prices).
  • Nordstrom: TBH, a few years ago I barely shopped at Nordstrom. I hate the way the physical stores are laid out, I disliked the products that seemed to be in my price range, and more. I started taking notice when Corporette readers went nuts for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and the Half-Yearly Sale, with lots of eager talk of points, customer service, and more — that I started looking into it. Nowadays it feels like Nordstrom is the department store to beat, online: Their website is easy to use and has a great “recommendation” engine, as well as filters that actually work; fast free shipping (although I wish they didn’t waste so much packaging, but hey), free returns that get credited back pretty quickly, a wide selection of products, a price matching policy, and a very generous return policy. I like that if you spend enough using your Nordstrom Card you get gift certificates back to you (Nordstrom Notes) that are basically like cash back.
  • Zappos: Fast, free shipping; a great return policy, and a price matching policy. Sign me up.
  • 6pm: This is the only store that doesn’t offer free returns that’s in my regular mix — but sometimes the deals are too good to pass up. (This is Zappos’s sister site, if you didn’t know — non-current merchandise goes to 6pm to be discounted. Prices change daily based on one of those complicated online algorithms, so if you see a product you like at a price you like you may want to pull the trigger then and there.) Lately it seems like a lot of their stuff is on Amazon for a similar price (it isn’t an exact overlap in terms of selection, but many times it is), often eligible for Prime, so these days I usually check Amazon to see if there’s a comparable product.
  • Gap / Old Navy / BR: I often buy stuff for my children at Old Navy and Gap, and with the combined shopping cart and free shipping with $50+ it’s easy to add a few things for my husband and myself as well. The frequency of the sales never hurts, either.
  • Ann Taylor: I usually stock up during their “60% off the sale” sales (which I also try to post about here if there’s good stuff).

Every so often I’ll buy something at Sephora if I’m on the hunt for something (love that return policy!), or the crazy Dillard’s New Year’s sale, or even (gasp) very occasionally at an actual brand store, like a recent purchase I made at Clinique.com. On the flip side, some retailers I avoid like the plague — one department store who annoyingly keeps emptying my cart when I get to checkout, another department store that used to have decent deals in person in the store but lately seems to only have cheap yuck at high prices online (plus a high minimum to get free shipping)… With some of the big-box stores like Target and Kohl’s I just hate the online experience. A few things make me deviate from my favorite few retailers:

  • A much better deal that can’t/won’t be price matched. Duh. The price of shipping and the speed of shipping are all things that I factor in to the purchasing decision, though — as well as the return policy.
  • Buying several items from one brand. For example, I knew I wanted a bunch of Clinique products recently, and I didn’t care about a return policy because I’d had all of the products before. I went on the hunt for a “gift with purchase” deal from a major department store, and eventually found that Clinique offered one of the best deals — free shipping with $50 (which I planned to spend anyway), and the deal at the time was 5 minis/samples of other products, which I liked.
  • A product that can’t be found elsewhere. Sometimes it seems like almost everything can be found at my preferred retailers — but sometimes it can’t. I recently bought a great All Saints summer dress from (gasp) All Saints; I recently bought a bunch of stuff online at Anthropologie (and returned a lot of it) because they had a good sale and a selection of stuff I couldn’t easily find elsewhere.
  • A local store to which I plan to return items. I usually find it’s easier to box up what I don’t want and send it back via the post office — and all of my preferred retailers (but for 6pm) offer free return shipping, so that’s usually not an issue. But very occasionally it’s just easier to run into a local store, run to the closest counter, and return things.
  • A previous online shopping experience. If I already have an account set up, and had an OK shopping experience the first time, then I’m more inclined to pull the trigger on a purchase (assuming the other things are met). Last Call, Neiman Marcus, J.Crew, The Outnet — none are in my regular wheelhouse but if I see a good deal I’m pretty quick to purchase because it’s jut a few clicks.

I’m curious, ladies — which are your favorite stores for internet shopping? How much of your life is purchased online? What factors make you deviate from your preferred retailers? Are there some stores where you absolutely prefer the in-store shopping experience (for reasons other than the obvious: being able to try a bunch of stuff on before purchasing it)? 

(Pictured at top: Amazon, we need to talk, originally uploaded to Flickr by Alyson Hurt.)

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Comments

  1. anonymous2 :

    I do most of my clothes shopping online too and Nordstroms is probably tied equally with Lands End and Talbots. I know returns are free but often drop off returns at the local stores to check out the sale merchandise in person. I don’t buy career clothes at Amazon ever but do buy most of my shoes at amazon or zappos or 6pm. Almost all household items and electronics are from Amazon or Costco and I’ve started shopping Costco online quite a bit.

    • Oh, I also never use Ann Taylor online! The few times I’ve looked, their sales aren’t available for Canadian purchases, so they’ve lost my business unless I happen to be near a physical store.

      • Sorry! Replied to wrong comment- meant to reply to myself

      • Be careful with returns to AT and Loft. You’ll note that when you return to their stores (regardless of how it was purchased) they scan your driver’s license. Some employees skip this step, but they are technically required to do it and I find that most do. If you return too many items in a certain time frame (90 days, I believe) they shut you off. As in, you can buy all you want in stores or online, but they freeze you for 90 or 120 days from returning if you’ve hit the threshold limit.

        • Any idea of how many returns are too many? I order from Loft frequently, but I sometimes order more than I need to get the free shipping. I’ve also been returning a lot, as I’m still figuring out what fits my post-baby body. I only recall them scanning my license once, but I’m sure they’re also able to track returns on online purchases, since all of the info is tied to the order. Now I’m nervous to make my upcoming return…there’s a fair amount since I went crazy last week when everything was 70% off!

          • I don’t remember but I was in the same boat as you. I am a cardholder and ultimately strong armed the person into letting me return what I brought into the store with me, but that didn’t prevent them from “blocking” me on future returns for the next 120 days. So, I reviewed their return policy online and on the back of the receipt. It had no mention of any sort of limit or monitoring, nor did the return policy posted at the register, so I filed with the BBB and got my hold lifted almost immediately upon submission. The policy did not change, as far as I know.

            I have so many thoughts about that policy – between their fluctuating sales, my fluctuating weight, my lack of time to do anything but shop online/take home/try on/return…. it just feels so ridiculous and punitive, particularly as a loyal, card-holding customer.

        • I buy a lot online and return many things to the store and have never had an issue with this policy. I think they look for people who return a lot of the same item or make a lot of returns without a receipt, both indicative of shoplifting.

    • I will say that while Talbot has some killer deals on women’s separates, etc. I have found numerous issues with its website ranging from slow loading of images, not retaining my search parameters while I browse, and issues with the actual transaction portion of the site. The prices and quality of the merch definitely warrant toughing it out when I need suiting, but it is very aggravating. I only go there when I know there is a sale and I need something for work.

  2. I’d love tips on where Canadians shop online, especially now that the dollar is so low right now.

    I used to love Nordstrom, but the dollar is awful now, so unless I go in person, I won’t shop there for a while. I still use J.Crew online once in a while, especially when there’s a sale. I find ASOS isn’t bad, but only if I shop from the UK site, the US one isn’t great.

    The one place I avoid like the plague is Anthro online. Their sizing is so inconsistent, I really need to try on everything in person, I find their phone line useless, and they don’t ship out of Canada or tell you the duty in advance (like J.Crew and Nordstrom!), so I’ve been hit with some whopping duty on arrival sometimes, which I think is silly, because they have physical stores in Canada, so it’s not like they don’t already do business here.

    • Canadian Shopper :

      So far, I’ve had success with Banana Republic and Hudson’s Bay.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      J. Crew because they don’t really have all the suiting in store, and I’ve found the prices match up as long as you get free-shipping (and that is almost always). I have ordered from Talbots once and it came Canada Post and they didn’t charge duty – I’m not sure if that was a mix-up. It took forever, but no duty! I have ordered from Nordstrom – they had a duty-free promotion for a while, so I took advantage of that.

      Other than that, Naturlizer for shoes (no duty, often free shipping) as the selection in sizes is better than the store and the stores seem to all be in out of the way, sad malls. And their customer service is great, btw.

      American Eagle and aerie are fine (obviously not for work clothes) and you can return in store, which is amazing. Old Navy is also basically as good as the States, although I really prefer shopping in store there because of fit and quality issues (the 3 pairs of size 8 pants, all different sizes issue). Aritzia I hear is also good and no duty, because it’s Canadian.

      I also love Lands End and LL Bean for coats/outdoor stuff. No duty and often free shipping. It comes quickly, although I’ve never had to return anything.

      • Anonymous :

        Just curious re your no duty comment on ll bean and lands end. In my experience, it is calculated when I place my order. I like that as I don’t have to worry about paying duty later by calling fedex (Talbots – are you listening?). If I’m doing something wrong, please let me know ( she says hopefully).

        On the Talbots front, I just found out this year that they refund the duty/taxes when you return an item. So if I can order during a free shipping and sale period, I don’t find there is much risk.

        I ordered a couple of dresses from Nordstroms and NM – both use borderfree, which makes it easy on the buying end, but to return, the charge you a pretty substantial fee. I had called to see if I could return the items to a store (for Nordstroms when I’m in Ottawa) but was told that I wouldn’t get the taxes/duty back.

    • Shopaholic :

      I actually use shopbop and the outnet a lot. Shopbop is a bit expensive but will calculate the duties at checkout. So will the outnet but I find that with certain things (J brand jeans for instance), with shipping, duties and the exchange rate, it was still cheaper to order from the outnet than the sale prices I was finding in Canada.

  3. I do most of my shopping online–since I’m plus size, that’s kind of my only option. I love Talbots, Land’s End, and Kiyonna in particular.

    eBay is also a godsend. i LOVE NYDJ jeans, but at $120, they’re a bit pricey for me. I just got a new with tags pair off of eBay for $30.

    • Anonymous :

      What kind of stuff do you like from Kiyonna? I’ve looked frequently, but never know how “work appropriate” the dresses are (the plunge in the front always looks low). My workplace is business casual (could wear jeans every day).

    • Feeling the plus size struggle. The plus section in department stores is usually tiny, if they have one at all.

      I like *Nordstrom*, Amazon, and Talbots. I’ve also gotten some really good deals on Nordstrom Rack, but their selection is hit or miss.

    • Feeling the plus size struggle. The plus section in department stores is usually tiny, if they have one at all.

      I love *Nordstrom* and Amazon. I’ve also gotten some really good deals on Nordstrom Rack, but their selection is hit or miss.

  4. I’ve been buying stuff from Target on eBay. You can still return to the store, but purchasing just seems much easier, especially if you’re already a regular eBay shopper. Often the prices are better too, or clearance items are available that aren’t shown on the main site.

    Re 6pm, their prices are very tempting, but there are 2 things that make it hard to pull the trigger. 1 – even if you’re willing to pay for return shipping, they don’t offer a prepaid label, which limits the convenience of returning. 2 – a lot of their items seem to be proprietary brands and items are unreviewed. You can’t read reviews for these items anywhere, which makes shoe shopping a lot less appealing.

    • Anonymous :

      I always find ebay so overwhelming! Any tips?

      • I usually have a specific idea of what I’m looking for (item or brand or size) and use the filters so that fewer items show up (e.g., I almost never want to buy from abroad so I specify North America).

      • You have to go in with a battle plan…as Tesyaa mentioned, I only shop from North American sellers with very high ratings. I also have a good idea of what I’m looking for, meaning I shop brands that I KNOW what fits me (i.e.e Banana Republic Jackson fit pants size 10) rather than just “black pants 10”

    • Yay! I also do some shoppeing on e-bay, but ONLEY the new stuff. There is a lot of junk sold on e-bay, and I never buy anything used.

      I think I am the oposite of most other women: I prefer to FIRST do my browseing on line, but then go to shop IN STORE, b/c I know alot of the sales peeople at Macy’s, Nordstrom’s (in White Plains) and Lord and Taylor so they hold the best new stuff for me in size 2 and (ugh-size 4). I know they get a comision for selling me the stuff, so I am happy for them and they like me.

      I used to be abel to go to Bloomie’s on 59th, but have NOT been allowed back in since I got dog poopie on my shoe and then went inside the store. FOOEY!

    • I agree with you about 6pm, because it is difficult to find reviews of the shoes. However, if it’s a brand I’m familiar with, I’ll go ahead and purchase them. For example, I have a couple of pairs of Born sandals so I’m okay buying those from 6pm because I can get some good deals.

    • This is regarding the hassle returning to 6pm.com. 6pm sells on amazon marketplace and the order is fulfilled by amazon though the seller is 6pm.com. As the order is fulfilled by amazon, you get free shipping both ways for shoes. So if I like something on 6pm, I go to amazon and check if 6pm is selling the same thing on amazon and order on amazon.

    • 6pm made me angry and I will never shop there again. They listed a pair of shoes as leather and when they arrived they were absolutely not leather. They refused to give me any kind of credit & would only accept a return where I paid to ship back. Very shoddy customer service.

  5. Wait–you can get free returns on Amazon by using the Amazon Visa? (we have it but I didn’t know that was a perk…and in fact just returned something and paid for the shipping…)

    • Yeah. I have Amazon Prime and the Amazon Visa and I don’t always get free returns. Shipping is going to be deducted from the package I’m returning today…

      • This is the information on Amazon’s site about Return Shipping:

        Return Shipping Costs
        If you return an item using a prepaid method (dropoff or pickup) from the Online Returns Center, and the reason for return is not a result of an Amazon error, the cost of return shipping will be deducted from your refund unless your item qualifies for a free return. For items shipped by a specialty carrier (e.g. CEVA, ABF, Pilot, there is a flat $50 fee. If you choose to ship the item on your own, you’ll pay the carrier at the time you ship your return. If the return is the result of an Amazon error, we’ll refund return shipping costs up to a maximum amount. Return shipping fees will be communicated on the Returns Center when you are choosing the shipping method for your return.

        For more information about refunds and refund amounts, go to About Refunds.
        http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200572810

        • Whoops – will have to edit the main text – clearly I don’t return enough stuff to Amazon…

    • Amazon offers free returns for certain products (I think most shoes). If a free return is offered, it is noted on the product page near the price/shipping info.

  6. I have accepted that online shopping is the future. Most of the brands have only regular sized clothing in store. So, if you want to buy petite, tall or plus size, you have to buy them online. I had never imagined I would buy shoes online, but I am doing it more and more just because of the choices you have and you can find a perfect pair for your needs which is very difficult to do if you want to find in store and most of the time, you can find the best deal online. So I am doing almost 75 – 80% of shopping online these days. Even when I was not shopping online so much, I used to check online what the a particular company was offering before making a trip to the store. I am even buying things like soaps and shampoos online because they just cost 30 – 40% less online and if you spend like $50, you get free shipping. It just doesn’t make economical sense to shop in brick and mortal shops any more for many of the daily use things.

    • Yep, I agree. Honestly, I just don’t have time to spend hours browsing at a store so if I have a break from work I’ll check out what’s online. I have to buy petite/short lengths in pants and they rarely have my size in store.

    • Agreed. I’m 6′ tall, wear size 11 shoes, and until very recently was solidly plus-size. So, if I wanted any options at all for clothing and/or shoe shopping, it had to be online because it usually wasn’t stocked in stores. I’d say 90% of my shopping is online – so much so that I can’t remember the last time I went to a mall or department store for the purpose of buying clothes for myself.

      Most of my purchases are from Amazon (our house runs on Amazon Prime), Nordstrom, Lands End, Old Navy/Gap/Athleta, Sephora, and sometimes Talbots.

    • I need petite sizes, and I agree — I can’t shop in stores because most stores don’t carry “special sizing.”

  7. Has anyone checked out Jet? Concept is like Amazon morphed w/ Costco. There is a yearly membership fee but prices are supposed to be worth it. They are doing a free trial right now. I just put in my zip code and searched for a few things I would prefer to buy in bulk but didn’t find the prices much better than my local grocery store let alone Costco. (Though I don’t currently use Costco either so I can’t say for certain but either Jet or Costco would have to be better than the grocery store price to be worth it.)

  8. The vast, vast majority (90%+) of my clothing purchases have been online for the last several years. The Limited, Old Navy, Ann Taylor/Loft, Nordstrom, even Target, though that’s also the place where I’m most likely to buy clothing in-store. For shoes I generally search for the cheapest price (that has free shipping/returns).

    Most presents/movies/books get purchased from Amazon. My city is in the Amazon Prime 1-2 hour delivery market (2 hour delivery is free, 1 hour delivery has a fee) so I may try out more household goods that way, but I just shop in bulk at Costco for most of it.

  9. I’m glad other people agree that the Target website is complete junk. I hate it and I love their stuff (who doesn’t) but why does half of the clothing/footwear section have to include out of stock items?

    • Target non-lover here. None of their shoes are leather and the clothing is rayon/polyester mostly.

  10. Diana Barry :

    My list looks a lot like Kat’s, but I don’t do any shopping at Ann Taylor and very very little at 6pm (only if it is a name brand that I know I want). I also shop at Boden for me and the kids – about twice/year I will get a giant haul. I only shop when they have free shipping/free returns and a coupon.

    We also just got Google Express so I have been using that instead of Amazon for some things (TP, diapers, etc.) – same day delivery!

    • I do love to stock up on Boden for off-season kids clothes. I find it holds up a lot better than the Gap and has a good resale value (though we hand down most of our kids clothes). I keep trying with their womens wear but its a 50/50 chance that I’ll keep what I order due to their odd fit.
      In a vote for in person shopping, I noticed that in my town almost everyone gets kids party gifts at one of two local toy stores with gift receipts, it does make it a lot easier for parents to return/exchange toys after the party.

    • Diana Barry :

      Yup, the kids’ stuff is the best made I’ve found for less than Hanna Andersson (which is RIDICULOUSLY expensive).

      For in person, I do all my makeup shopping in person at Sephora.

  11. I like online shopping for things like holiday gifts, I prefer actual stores for most purchases though. I just hate how unreliable internet shopping can be and returning or exchanging is a pain.
    One thing I’d add to Kat’s list is shoprunner, which is free with Amex (and maybe other cards) and gives you free 2 day shipping and returns at lots of places like Lord & Taylor and Brooks Brothers.

  12. lawyerinChi :

    I do a lot of online shopping at Eileen Fisher. It’s free to ship to the store (which is conveniently on the same block as my office) and they’ll set up your order in a dressing room for you, so you can return it right away if the fit is bad. Honestly, it’s a very lazy way to shop, doing all the browsing not in the store, but it’s also better than the old days of having to ask a clerk if she can find your size at a different store when you’ve had no luck browsing.

    • Meg Murry :

      I did this with Torrid recently – ordered a ton of items in 2 different sizes or colors to be shipped to the store, took it all in the fitting room, and immediately returned the items I wasn’t taking home. I don’t think the sales people loved that I did it, but it made more sense than picking up at the store, taking it home to try on and then going back to the store.

      I also do a lot of online ordering from Lands End and then return to the store, because sometimes the in-store deals are even better than online, or I can try on some of my “maybe” options.

      I’ve also been known to stand in the store and look up items directly on the store’s webs!te (like at Sears/Lands End) or on Amazon or Zappos (when I’m at Target, DSW, etc) to see if there is a better deal or other sizes or colors available. Anyone else do this? My husband thinks it’s crazy, but sometimes it’s a lot cheaper if I don’t need the items right away.

      • Coach Laura :

        Definitely check online price when in store. Example – Macy’s. Needed to buy a mattress pad for relative and Costco was out. Macy’s had a sale online with pickup. Ordered it to pick up at store by my office but then happened to be driving by suburban store the next day. Popped in and it was not on sale. When I complained that it was still on sale online, she offered me the lower price. So the online lower price/higher price in store thing at Walmart has spread to other stores.

        Also, Talbots previously offered free shipping if items were ordered when you were in the store. Then for several years, they stopped, which caused me to shop less with them. They have now instituted free shipping for items ordered while in the store, which I will use. This only makes sense if I have time to go in the store and don’t spend extra gas/time to get there, but again I go by the store on my way to/from work and relative’s house so it’s not out of the way.

    • I do this with Marks and Spencer’s in the UK – really convenient. I’ve done it with Debenhams as well, but only the once (I don’t usually shop there)

  13. I am on first name basis with the various parcel Pete, yodels and Royal Mail folk. We have next day delivery with Amazon Prime in the UK so I tend to go with Amazon as much as possible for household things, some food items (Almond Milk, flaxseed, and tea), and shoes. Royal Mail won’t leave things on the stoop so it’s nice to be able to schedule deliveries for a work from home day or a Saturday.

    Clothes are pretty standard, Gap, Uniqlo, and Boden (although I’m a chronic returner here) and occasionally Marks and Spencer. I think Body Shop online sales are better than in person sales so I tend to stock up on soap and shaving cream for my husband.

    We also do Waitrose delivery and a local veg co-op on occasion. These are supplemented by in person trips for fresh fruit and veg, vegetable items.

    • +1 on the grocery shopping. It’s especially good if you don’t live in walking distance of a big supermarket. When I was living in Edinburgh city centre the only ‘proper’ supermarket I could get to easily was the M&S food hall (Whole Foods price level, for US people) so I did an online order from Sainsbury’s every fortnight or so and just went to the food hall for fresh fruit and veg.

  14. I do about 50/50 for clothing. In store generally for sale items and fit-crucial items (ie, jeans), online for established fits/items. If I need a single item, usually in store. If I need to buy a bunch (ie, entire season in larger size for kids), usually online.

    Online clothing purchasing at Lands End, LL Bean (for husband), Nordstrom, and Amazon or zappos occasionally for shoes. In store: Hanna Andersson Outlet, Nordstrom, Old Navy, Target/Walmart, and, um, Costco.

    Nearly all my toy shopping and random-thing shopping is from Amazon, but I don’t use it much for clothing beyond nursing tanks and the occasional shoe. Their selection of the brands I buy for bras and shoes is improving, but I’d still rather go to Nordstrom if the price is similar.

  15. Nordstrom might as well make a regular deduction from my paycheck. I love the in-store service, too, but I have this silly thing called a “job” that keeps me from shopping whenever I want, yet gives me the money to buy things.
    Amazon is another obvi for misc things, and I have prime, which make it that much easier to impulse-buy.

    I also frequently shop at LOFT, which breaks my usual rule requiring free shipping, but I only shop during sales. However, they have good casual wear, and I can’t just drop everything when they run a 40 or 50% off promotion to go to a store. In store items are usually limited anyway.

    Birchbox. Free shipping and a points program. If I can’t get the cosmetics I want/need at Nordstrom, they’re here, including my shampoo/conditioner, etc.

  16. So much of what I buy is online! For most household stuff, Iorder off of Amazon, but every once in a while, Home Depot has the best price + cash back from my cc. Most of my clothes are from JCrew/BR/GAP/Athleta/Lululemon/Nordstrom. I love that I can return it in store on my way from home, and not have to deal with crowds, and hunting for something specific in store. I do like using reserve in store function when it exists. Once in a while, I’m looking for something that Lands End has, but I’m a lot more picky when I can’t easily return it for free. I hate paying for shipping.

  17. I order a staggering amount from there (husband basics, fun tees for me, too many swim items for me, too many swim tees, non-hoochie girls clothes, school uniforms, all coats). Like 4-figures a year, easy.

  18. Anybody else had trouble lately with AT/loft orders? Recently I ordered 2 white shirts and they sent only 1 but charged for 2. Then again recently, I ordered size 29 jeans and they sent size 32. I’m just not going to order again bc of the hassle.

    I LOVE Nordstrom. Any level 2-4s tried to get Nordstrom to tailor something you bought online?

    • I’ve had things that were mailed to me tailored (although, in that case, it was mailed to me because my local N didn’t have my size).

  19. West Coast :

    I do a lot of my shopping online–I’m fairly picky, and stores do not always have the selection.

    I’ve found that I do must of my shopping right now from Saks, or Saks Off 5th. Both usually have free shipping codes that I can use. I do use Nordstrom, Sephora, and Amazon on occasion.

  20. Sydney Bristow :

    I do probably 95% of my shopping online. I’m even just going to the actual grocery store once or twice a month.

    Zappos for virtually all my shoes, Nordstrom is my main source for clothes though I also order Boden when they have free shipping, Fresh Direct for groceries, and Amazon Prime for everything else.

    Sometimes I really like some item of clothing from Target but I hate their website and trying to do the return process online is a nightmare. Something almost always goes wrong and results in me needing to call to get something fixed, which I hate even more than just going into a physical store. Target is really inconvenient for me to get to from where I live though so I never really go in person.

    Now if I could just get the post office to leave my packages…

  21. Chicago Bean Accounter :

    I do nearly all of my clothing shopping online. The sites I frequent either 1) have brick and mortar stores that I can easily access for returns or 2) carry tried-and-true brands of mine where I know my sizes. I’ve also found that many places have better sales online than in-stores, and I generally have an easier time acquiring the sizes I need as well (being 5’1″ with ample hips/glutes).

    A lot of misc shopping is done on Amazon because of the convenience and Prime, and a lot of small things come from Target runs (I may be addicted to their cheap-o awesome-colored wayfarer sunglasses…).

    The one thing we never buy online is groceries. We don’t really have a standard list though, and what we eat each week varies vastly from the week before.

  22. I hate Ann Taylor’s $8.95 flat-rate shipping unless you buy at least $175 worth of clothes. It definitely cuts down on what I buy online there – and their quality has been so irregular over the last few years that I don’t like buying things that I haven’t seen (and tried on) in person.

  23. has free shipping all the time and fantastic customer service and return policy. It’s a go-to for me for outerwear and some basics like tees and tanks. Not so much for workwear.

  24. Moonstone :

    I always knew I was in the minority here. Almost none of my clothes purchases are online, after a couple of years of being disappointed with quality of fabric or the fit of nearly everything I bought. I’ll go to some effort to buy local (books, etc.). But I do use Amazon maybe 5 times a year for things that are hard to acquire.

  25. Meg Murry :

    One trick that someone taught me here is to order a whole bunch of shoes in different sizes and style on Zappos, then if you find any keepers to check 6 pm to see if they are any cheaper – you can make the free return to Zappos, then get the new ones from 6 pm.

    Its a bit of a hassle so I usually don’t bother to actually go through with it to save $5-$10, but I once got more than 50% off using that trick, so now I always at least check.

  26. I shop for regular stuff at Amazon. Even my kids know to tell me 3 days in advance so that I can order it for 2 day shipping (love Prime!). I buy clothes for me and the kids at Lands End (more them than me, but I do love those ponte dresses). Shoes on Zappos or Nordstrom (size 11 — so hard to find elsewhere). I buy casual clothes at Athleta. I hate going to stores, only do it with my personal shopper/stylist (who pre shops for me so I only need to try on stuff), or occoasionally if I’m traveling in another city and have nothing else to do.

  27. Does anyone have ethics issues about ordering from Amazon? I’m not feeling so great about ordering from there since I read a couple of articles about how their warehouse employees are treated. They push people so hard in the heat that they have to have paramedics parked outside.

    Also, thanks for the reading glasses recs the other day everyone! I ended up going prescription because I will probably wear them in front of the computer all day. Yes to eye health! I got a great nerdy pair from Fabulous Fanny’s.

  28. Little Red :

    Aside from Amazon, I also shop online via Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue most often. With Nordstrom, I love their Shop Online/Pickup in Store feature. I live less than a mile away from the Tysons Corner Nordies and it’s super convenient to stop by on my way home to pick up whatever item I ordered. And with Saks I only ever online shop at Saks. They never seem to have stuff I want in the store, particularly my beloved Erdem, plus they send me special coupons that are online only or that can be used for beauty/fragrance so I find myself shopping there quite often.

  29. Anonymous :

    The last time I chatted with someone at Zappos, they said they did not do price matching anymore? Has anyone else gotten this response?

  30. HoneyBadger :

    The last time I was on Zappos they said they no longer price matched-has anyone else had this experience?

  31. Anonymous Associate :

    I like shopping the sales at Saks/Neiman/Nordstrom at the same time, and have a method that seems insane but is really helpful. I am usually in need of a specific item, i.e. a shift dress. So I look at all three sites, and make a spreadsheet of the ones I like, price, and percent discount, and make a rational decision based off of that. I tend to like to buy higher end pieces, so I don’t buy (or really own) a large quantity of clothes.

    I like shopping online rather than in person because I gives me the freedom to do a very quantitative comparison to make sure I am getting the absolute best things I can for the price, I can check retailmenot for discount codes, I can more easily use e-gift cards from points from my credit card on the fly. I also don’t have to deal with pushy sales people or coming out of the fitting room looking disshelved.

    I am also hard to fit-5’10 and very slim. So these sites (esp. Neiman and Saks) tend to have models close to my size (i.e., they indicate that the model is 5’11” and wearing a size 2), so I can see how the item fits the model to know if it will be long enough for me.

    • Anonymous Associate :

      Oh and I find show shopping impossible. I wear a size 10 1/2, but my feet (esp. heels) are really narrow. I find I need to buy in person, even if buying the same brand of shoes that I already own.

      • I’m in a similar boat to you with shoes – what I tend to do is go into Clarks once a month or so and try on everything they have in my size. Relatively stress-free.

  32. I agree that it is hard to beat Nordstrom. I order from 6pm pretty frequently, too, but only when I’m confident about the brand and size, and have compared prices with other sites.

    I’ve had terrible experiences ordering from Loft. They’ve canceled all or part of my last three orders and it takes weeks to have my card credited. I will only shop in store going forward.

  33. Wildkitten :

    Most of what I buy that is not groceries I get online, but I’ve actually started shopping by doing 2 big trips to the outlets per year. Thought – I just got my first Halogen Seamed Pencil Skirt and I might just do NAS as my semi-annual shop from now on.

  34. I still buy most of what I need in person, but do buy some things online. I have large feet (11 or 12) and am leery of buying shoes online without being familiar with how a particular brand’s sizing runs. Once I am confident that I know how a certain size in a brand will fit, I’ll go scour the internet for deals. As for clothes, I still do prefer to purchase in person for most things. I’ve always liked shopping and I like to make deliberate purchases, while all my online shopping decisions are usually pretty impulsive. I prefer to try things on before spending any money on them, as I’m admittedly pretty bad about the returns process. I’m a stickler for the way fabric looks and drapes and it’s almost gotten harder to determine what a garment will look and feel like on the internet. My internet shopping is reserved for my clothing White Whales, like the DVF dress from 8 or 9 years ago that I still covet.

  35. I have had great luck shopping at online used retailers like ThredUp and Twice. You can get great work clothes from Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and others but you usually pay between $15-$30 per piece. You have to check the cites frequently– there is just one of whatever is posted– but you can really get lucky.

  36. Nordstrom’s, Boden, Macy’s Charter Club are favorites. Used to buy more than I do now at Eddie Bauer’s which used to sell everything in tall but not so much now. Lands end is OK. Buy from Brooks Brothers or Talbot’s sales. Loft for anti-air-conditioning sweaters in office. Zappos.

  37. SteelCityMagnolia :

    I used to ADORE Coldwater Creek before they went bankrupt. I ordered a lot of stuff online since I knew how their clothes fit and they almost ALWAYS had a sale going on (plus, loved their clothes — very unique and didn’t see me coming and going all over the place). Since they relaunched, though, I haven’t given them a try — shipping costs seem high, selection isn’t as great, and they don’t put anything on sale. Bummer.

    Bon-Ton is a regional store here that is a bit like Macy’s. I know their brands and how things run, so if I see something in the store or in one of their ads, I might try to find it online. They are linked with ShopRunner (which I keep canceling and signing up for every 90 days, so it’s always free) so they offer free 2-day shipping.

    Other than that, I don’t often order much online. I do use Amazon and Target and have always had a lot of success with them. I’ve used Walmart’s online order/in-store pickup which is okay — sometimes things can grow legs and walk faster than they will arrive at the store, and I’ve used other specialty stores for holiday shopping or for specific products (Bass Pro Shops, Pet Solutions, Philosophy). I haven’t had a really lousy experience unless you count my mail-order prescription service and that’s a whole other topic entirely!

  38. Berae McClary :

    Barney’s has free shipping and complimentary returns even on sale items. Every purchase is sent it with a prepaid return label, too.

  39. Katinspiration :

    For the clothing I love Philipp Plain, every season he make something unique. For the shoes I most admire Angelina Voloshina. She uses great, soft materials and there’s a real sense of craftsmanship in her shoes, definitely made with love, in her heels I never feel tired!

  40. Does anyone know if you have to pay for return shipping for The Outnet, in addition to the $7.95 they say they deduct?

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