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Shopping online is fun, fast and easy. Sometimes… Sometimes it’s the exact opposite. So, these are our tips for keeping shopping online a pleasure not a pain when ordering from fashion websites.

What to remember when ordering

First, before you start browsing and fall in love with the perfect skirt or blouse, check what the returns policy is. After all, as great as something may look online, if it arrives and doesn’t fit you’re not going to want to keep it. You need to know before you order that if this happens you’ll be able to return it and get your money back.

Of course, there are some things that you might not mind if they arrive and are no good – a top from eBay for £2 for example, but if the item is a pair of designer heels that cost you £200 and that you can’t possibly walk in, you’re going to be needing your money back. Before you click the order button check how long you have to return the goods after they arrive (or does the time start from after you order? Don’t get caught out with that one). Also look up what condition and where you need to return the items to so you can get your money back. It may also be worth checking who pays the postage in this case – shoes especially can be heavy and expensive to post!

Ideally of course you want what you order from a fashion website to fit and not need to be sent back; find out what sizing guide the website uses and measure yourself before you select which size to go for. One UK site’s size 14 might be the same dimensions as another’s size 10.

On a similar note, look up European sizes and U.S. sizes. For example, a UK shoe size 5 is a European 38. This might be an obvious one to spot, but what can be less clear is that if you ordered a 6 from a U.S. shoe site you’d likely end up with a UK size 4. In clothing keep an eye out too; a U.S. size 12 is a UK size 16. You don’t really want to get those confused but it’s easy to do so.

The other common option is if you’re ordering from a Chinese site. For this also bear in mind that the sizings are likely to come up small. It’s generally prudent to order bigger than you think you need from Chinese and Japanese sites.

Finally, your payment method is something else to consider. Some fashion websites say they will accept returns to stores. What they don’t always make so obvious is that they will only do this if the payment was done via a certain type of bankcard. One condition that catches a few people out is that if you pay using Paypal the store may well have the policy that only postal returns will be accepted if you want a refund.

Overall, shopping online, especially if you have young children who get bored easily when going round shops, is great. Just check the returns policies and sizes carefully first.

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