Tips To Successfully Shop Online

by Isamar Avery

I absolutely love shopping – I mean, who doesn’t? You get to browse through shiny new items that can be yours at a swipe of a card; it’s a great way to catch up with your pals and what else are you to do in your 3-hour break between classes? You shop for things you don’t need, you can’t afford and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll never even wear.

If you ever went to a real therapist after a life crisis, you are clueless about the things you can buy for $100 an hour – and for those clichés that preach that “money can’t buy you love,” it is safe to say you just don’t know where to shop.

I take shopping very seriously. I am ashamed at the joy it brings me, which is why I am dumbfounded by my latest realization: I actually HATE going shopping. The entire experience has become chaotic and exhausting for me. I never thought I’d become one of those girls you see nagging at her friend outside the fitting room because she is hungry and tired and much rather sleep.

I remember judging them because it didn’t make sense to me why someone would hate trying on new dresses and coming up with outfits for this weekend’s festivities. Oh, but with experience comes wisdom.

If you live in New York City, then you know that SoHo and Herald Square in 34th street are the go-to places for retail affordable shopping. SoHo’s shopping grid runs from Broadway west to Sixth Avenue, and Houston Street south to Canal Street. Broadway is the most commercial strip, with such recognizable names as Forever21, Zara, Sephora and H&M.

With such trendy stores also comes loud and disrespectful crowds of hipsters window shopping and passing the time. And with crowds comes lines and lots of waiting to access the fitting rooms and check out. At this day and age ain't nobody got time for that.

I refuse to waste my precious time being pushed around by some rude “hipster” trying to rummage through the sale rack at Top Shop. After I perfected the art of online shopping, the thought of stepping foot into a Forever 21 seems repulsive. Besides, who wants to carry their own shopping bags, anyway?

Needless to say, I am obsessed with shopping online. No one understands my eCommerce addiction until I show up in a dress I got for half off, online, from the comfort of my own bed. I know a lot of people who are petrified at the thought of online shopping, but there is nothing to be afraid of.

Do your research and be smart about it and you’ll be amazed at the things you can find online. It is like an unlimited international database of anything and everything money all major credit cards AND PayPal can buy you.

For me, it's all about what is convenient and functional for me. I also love maximizing my time and multitasking so for those of you who don’t have lots of free time, it makes more sense to shop on the go. Had it not been for Amazon and Wayfair I would’ve never been able to furnish my apartment. Yes, I literally purchased all my furniture online.

Generation-Y's favorite online stores: - ShopStyle is like a Google but for shopping! You can search anything from jewelry to shoes. - With Prime membership you get free two-day shipping on eligible items and they have amazing bargains. - eBay is where I spent most of my free time browsing through Chinese retail stores, they have the cheapest jewelry you'll ever find. - Everyone knows walmart is discount heaven, we don't have one in the city, so I do a lot of my groceries on walmart. - They are very good with home furniture and decor. - Because I can never find anything in their retail stores, I always shop online and them return what i don't want at my local store. - Asos has the most amazing dresses. They are London-based so online is the only way to buy from them. - I haven't shopped here yet, but Rihanna's clothing line is on here and they have amazing clothes. - I find they have a better selection of shoes online, for some reason I can never find my size in their actual store.

A newbie's guide to shopping online:

Always know your measurements/size. Get to know your body type before you even think about buying your birthday dress online. It can be a total disaster.

Only shop at trusted websites. If it looks sketchy or too good to be true, then it probably is. There are a lot of websites selling Louis Vuitton handbags for $200 -- that's obviously a scam.

Avoid shipping charges. Sometimes it is not worth buying a dress that's 50% off when you'll be paying $19 shipping, so always try to work a way around it.

Go for the lower price. Whenever I fall in love with an item, I first Google it to see if there are other sites selling it for a better price.

Retail me not. There are hundreds of coupon sites like that post coupons and sales that you can use at checkout.

Read reviews. Other people's opinions about a product can help you decide whether you want it or not. I cannot buy anything without reading a few reviews to see if they were satisfied or if there are any nuances with the item.

Do your research. Before purchasing anything --especially costly products-- be sure to read the fine print and all the details. After waiting all week for your new shiny item, it'd be heartbreaking to see it wasn't what you expected.

Isamar Avery

For more on Isamar, check out her website. Photo Credit: Tumblr