Just a few short years ago, the idea of the online fashion retail shop was rather niche and curious to say the very least. With web retail in general having only just got up and running, it was seen as a quite unusual and indeed rare practice to buy clothes online, as opposed to from a standard High Street store. Of course, things have changed quite radically as of late in terms of the web retail spectrum as a whole – anything and everything from literally anywhere on Earth is now right there for the taking. But when it comes to online fashion, there’s still a fair amount of debate as to whether it’s really worth buying online when there are apparently so many risks to factor in.
As far as those opposed to the idea are concerned, it’s a pretty simple argument or set thereof. Basically, critics claim that to buy clothes online is to run the risk of not only buying clothes that don’t fit even remotely correctly, but also clothes that are downright shoddy. They warn of the fakes and counterfeits doing the rounds, they insist more clothes are returned than kept and they generally insist that for the sake of saving a few minutes of your time, it’s actually better to head out to the High Street and avoid all such risks.
Of course there’s no disputing the fact the millions of pounds-worth of clothing gets returned to online stores every day – statistics that appear to play right into the hands of web retail critics. But at the same time, the very fact that such volumes of clothing are being both returned and accepted by their sellers paints a picture of an industry that’s operating as fairly and openly as any other.
Or in other words, risky it most certainly is not.
Over on the more positive and supportive side of the fence, online fashion advocates swear by the convenience, value and general joy that comes with buying the latest fashion online. Far from just an alternative to the High Street, they shout, sing and celebrate a series of unique benefits which include:
- More Choice – Online stores often carry the largest ranges
- Exclusive Lines – Many brands and products are only accessible online
- Convenience – Shopping online from anywhere, even via mobile devices
- Lower Prices – Online purchases tend to be significantly cheaper
- Exclusive Deals – Special offers for online buyers only
But what about the risks?
Well, if you look at the subject from a purely logical and common sense perspective, you come to the conclusion that risk-control is 100% within the hands of the buyer. For example, if you don’t bother to look carefully at a store’s returns policy before buying, it’s your own fault if you get lumped with a dud. Likewise, if you didn’t bother to check the reputation of a store and went and bought from a brand that’s known to be 99% dodgy, it’s 100% your fault if you come out of the deal worse off.
By contrast, do your homework and it can be every bit as safe to buy online as it is from any High Street store – if not more so.
Judge One, Judge All
The reason why criticism continues even today is that whenever there are literally tens of thousands of retailers selling any types of products whatsoever, it’s inevitable that a few dodgy dealers are going to make it into the mix. Some sling counterfeits, others overcharge and then there are those that go one step further into the realms of outright fraud. Nevertheless, in any and all instances it’s absolutely possible and staggeringly easy to steer clear of them, simply by injecting a little common sense into the equation.
It’s unfair to cast a gloomy shadow on the whole idea of online fashion retail just because some folk are not playing by the rules. Of course you’re always more likely to hear scare stories than glowing reports – as they say, bad news just makes better headlines. But on the other hand, tens of millions of online fashion transactions take place each and every day all over the world and the ration of negative experiences to positive purchases…well, let’s just say it’s nigh-on non-existent.
It all comes down to who you shop with – the rest tends to fall into place quite naturally. Simply find a brand that can be trusted and make sure there’s a solid policy in place with regard to returns – tick these two boxes and it’s generally impossible to put a foot wrong!