A Complete Guide to Online Shopping

Lately, most of my shopping needs are fulfilled by online stores. During the last couple of years, I got lots of gift vouchers for online stores that, I shopped to my heart’s content, not without some lessons. There are boons and banes of shopping online and so, it is always better to read up and do your researches before you leap into the mess that is online shopping.

I have plenty of friends and relatives who are still skeptical about online shopping. They haven’t tried it yet since they have lots of doubts and rightly so. Every customer has the right to ensure that the product they buy is worth the money. So, I decided to compile a list of Do’s and Don’ts based on my experiences with online shopping.

1. Shop from an Authentic Site – This had to be mentioned for the sake of newbie shoppers. Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra, Snapdeal, Jabong, Limeroad etc have been the most prominent shopping sites. Others such as Ajio, Koovs and many more have joined the bandwagon. If you shop from lesser known or completely unknown sites, there is no guarantee of receiving your product, let alone getting them in good condition.

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Image courtesy: Here

2. Look out for Ratings and Reviews – Before shopping anything expensive, see what the other buyers have to say. Sites like Flipkart and Amazon have ratings and reviews for almost all the prominent products. The key point here is, if a customer is too happy/unhappy with his product, he will definitely come back and write an honest review. That being said, a couple of bad reviews in a hundred do not matter. Go by the majority reviews for inexpensive products.

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Also, in some cases, you will know minute details about the product from the reviews. For instance, I decided to buy a dress and the reviews said that the size M of that product was equal to the standard size S. So I ordered size S instead of M (being my size) and got the right fit.

3. Read the Description – This is something people don’t notice. In most of the sites, you will notice that certain descriptions cannot be found unless we look carefully for them and expand them. Reading description is very important because the image of the product could be misleading. They might show a picture of a set of four plates but they might be selling only two for the price.

4. Look for Quality Assurance – Multiple sellers sell the same products. Some sites have their own Quality Assurance checks. They do multiple rounds of checks for some of their products which is an additional guarantee that the seller and the products are genuine. You could identify these products by the seal affixed next to the product in their page. Amazon and Flipkart have this facility and so, look for sellers whose products have this assurance seal and pick amongst them based on the ratings.

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5. Keep the Shade Difference in mind – when you are purchasing something whose color you are particular about, keep in mind that the shade could be slightly different due to glare and lighting when the image was taken. That being said, you are not obliged to keep products that are entirely different or unsatisfactory for you. There is a thin line between unintentional shade differences and tricking you to buying slow moving products by displaying different stuff.

6. Read the Return Policy – I cannot stress how important this is. Most of the above-mentioned sites have transparent return policies. The things you need to look for are:

  •  The period within which the products should be returned – 7 days/10 days/15 days/30 days. This would help you take action within the specified time.
  • Whether they have a pickup facility or whether you will have to courier it yourself.
  • In the latter case, whether they will reimburse the courier cost and the amount up to which they will reimburse.
  • Whether the refund will be in store credits or in cash.

 

The site will have a link to their return policies. Read up before you decide to purchase. Check the return period for every product since it changes with the type of product, brand and seller.

7. DO NOT Fall For Discounts – Whether it is a flat 90% off or Buy 1 Get 1 Free, use your common sense. I used to stalk shopping apps for a long time since I had vouchers close to 30k. I learnt that they keep changing the type of offer to attract customers but eventually, the prices varied only slightly. While this isn’t the case always, it happens most of the times.

They price a Kurta at Rs. 1500 and sell at 40%  off (Rs. 900) normally. When the festive season comes, they sell it at 60% off while increasing the MRP to Rs. 2000. Frequent shoppers will not note the initial MRPs which have been struck off. We only notice the red colored 40% off/60% off since they are more catchy. Eventually, you are purchasing the same Kurta with only a difference of Rs. 100.

What you should do? The description will have the type of material used. Estimate the market price of the material and the quantity you would need for the kurta. Add the average stitching charges. Compare the cost to the price of the Kurta. Slight price fluctuations are acceptable considering the seller’s profit, packing charges, the convenience of buying from home etc.

8. Look for the asterisk – If you find a mail with unbelievably good offers, do not fall for it and make purchases. Look for the asterisk (*) and the related terms and conditions. For instance, every shopper wouldn’t get a 100% cashback. They aren’t running charitable organizations. Nor are they Santa Claus’s grandchildren. So, always approach every mail and every offer skeptically.

9. Know the difference between return and exchange – This knowledge is important both online and offline. In common parlance, when you return a product, you get a refund. When you exchange a product, you get the same product of different size or color. This option is available in most of the prominent sites. So, if you love the product but need a different size, you don’t have to be disheartened. You can always exchange them.

10. Know your Voucher Expiry – If you have gift vouchers with you, remember that most of them expire in a year’s time. When you purchase a product towards the last week of the expiry date, ensure that you won’t have to return it (exchange is alright). Once you return the product after the voucher expiry, the refund to your wallet will be useless since the voucher has expired.

For instance, buy a dress from a brand you are familiar with or purchase branded makeup or body care products.

11. Search for Discounts online – There are umpteen discount sites such as CouponDunia, Nearbuy etc. Be on the lookout for discount coupons or offers through these sites so that you make maximum out of your purchases. But keep two points in mind; Point 5 and point 10  😛 which is…

12. Know the Difference between Want and Need – We all love to save some extra bucks. Sometimes we get too carried away in saving that we will spend more on unnecessary garbage than we intended too. So, just because you save 200 bucks in every purchase, do not end up burning a hole in your wallet.

The mantra here is, look for discounts when you need to buy something. Do not buy because you have discounts. When you see an eye catchy discount ask yourself, ‘Do I really need it?’

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Image courtesy: Here

13. For any issues, contact the Site – The competition is very high today. The sellers would do anything to keep up their reputation. So do not hesitate when something goes wrong. Make the best use of social media. Firstly, mail them the issue. If you get no response within a reasonable time, tweet the issue tagging their handle, post on their facebook page or message them. The response is quick and the issue is resolved in no time.

14. Leave a review – This is a bonus point I added which, if followed by you, will help the other buyers. The way ratings and reviews would help you, you could help someone with your reviews too. A two liner about our experience in their site would help other buyers make a decision. It will also help the seller improve his products. When it comes to electronics and expensive products, the importance of a review increases manifold.

The reason why I like showroom shopping is that we know exactly what we are buying. If they are clothes, we can try them on, compare and take home the best. But the plus point about online shopping is that I have a wide variety to choose from and I get customer reviews too which isn’t available in showrooms. It is definitely more convenient and so I believe everyone should get comfortable with it in a healthy manner. So shop online, shop safe and shop skeptically.

So do you shop online often? If you don’t will you do it after reading this post? Do let me know in the comments if there are any more points to be added to this list. 🙂

PS – This is not a promotional post in any manner. Being someone who has shopped online frequently, I decided to help others who are still alien to the concept. The pictures and examples given are from personal experiences and for clarification purposes.

Fairy Dust Jewellery – The New Kid in Town

EDIT- The store has changed its name to Nathni Tales from fairy Dust.


Hola Peeps,

A lot has been brewing at my end including trying to bring some rhythm to my blogging. So, I will be hosting A Few Handpicked Things’ first ever giveaway in a week’s time! Yes! But this post is an introduction to the newest kid in town. The festive season is here, Christmas followed by New Year, and Fairy Dust and A Few Handpicked Things in Life are joining hands to throw some occasional surprises your way.

In this post, I’ll be introducing Fairy Dust to you. Hope you like what we have in store for you.

The Name

Fairy Dust is a substance with magical properties. This name was chosen because they say they have some fairies helping them out to flutter in search of some pretty happy pieces of jewellery. They add their magical touch to it & a tad bit of Fairy Dust that is sure to transform the wearer. The magical property of these trinkets are that, they bring out the beauty in the wearer.

Fairy Dust’s Motive

I, as a child, loved everything shiny, bright & colorful. But people kept telling me that Yellow was an ugly color and so was Magenta! But now, bright & neon colors are in vogue. They never really went out of fashion as I think of it.

Similarly, it is said that jewellery doesn’t suit too thin or fat people, bright colors do not suit dusky people and so on. I am sure fashionistas, students of fashion designing and owners of brands and fashion magazines know what they are saying. But the emotion behind Fairy Dust is that any type of person can wear jewellery. Provided you know how to style it. Whether to clutter it up or to go for minimalism is one’s own choice. But if you intend to draw eyes, all you need to do is to style it well.

The point is, wear what you love! Do you like bright or Neon colors? Do people tell you that jewellery doesn’t suit your body? Do you like those feathers and long hangings and heavy danglers?  Do people mock you for your choices? Wear what you like and smile at their comments. Wear again. Wear again and hold your head high. Their jokes won’t be funny for long. Fourth or fifth time, they won’t bother. You will be the person that loves her jewellery. The one who wears what he/she loves! 🙂

Psst! You don’t like something? Don’t force it on yourself.

Collections

Based in Cochin, Fairy Dust was formed with a view to bring some unique pieces of Afghani, Tribal & Boho jewellery apart from the funky junk jewellery to the South. Currently, they showcase a wide variety of Pompom Jewellery of myriad colors and designs. Pompom accessories have hit Central & Northern India quite hard, with almost everyone owning a pair of those bright colors of happiness. Similar is the case with Tribal accessories. These haven’t really found much light in the South especially in Kerala & Tamil Nadu. Fairy Dust aims at making available these beauties to the Southernmost tip. Be that as it may, the online store ships their magical trinkets to any part of the country.

Featuring some of the collections here:

1. ‘Fairy Lights’ Pompom Earrings
Price – INR 260
Buy Here – Pompom Earrings

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2. Wooden Neckpiece
Price – INR 110
Buy here – Wooden Square Bead Necklace

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3. Intricate Beautiful Clip on Nosepin
Price – INR 125
Buy Here – Peacock Nosepin

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4. Afghani Neckpiece
Price – INR 300
Edit: Currently Sold out. Might be available in future on demand.

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It is evident that most of the pieces are unique and one of a kind. You are sure to lure some eyes your way if you own these pieces. Also, if you are experienced in jewellery window shopping like me, you would have noticed that most of these pieces are at very affordable prices.

Here is a glimpse at the Pompom Earrings on meeee! I am sporting a layered multicolored Pompom Earring. Aaaand, that is how it looks on people.

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If you like Fairy Dust Collections, do follow them on Insta @nathni_tales and also like the Facebook Page @nathnitales. Also, watch this space for the Giveaway from Fairy Dust!

 

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A glimpse into the Insta page

 

Online Shopping – A Step Ahead With Shimply

Online shopping has become the Mantra of the Era. Those who have had a taste of it know how addicting & convenient it is. Apart from that, people love shopping online because of the variety it offers. There are umpteen sites and shops online that offer a wide, unique and quality range of products. If you know what you want, you have it there. Simply apply the filters and choose what you like. With ‘no questions asked’ return policies offered by most of the e-commerce sites, nothing could really go wrong shopping online.

Yet, when it is about apparels, you definitely wish for one more boon – the option to try the clothes on and see how they look on you. Choosing the favorite color isn’t difficult. But many people face that dilemma of choosing between the sky blue and turquoise blue, Violets and Purples and so on. The colors look wonderful and pleasing to the eyes. But what would suit you the best? Many have similar dilemma when it comes to choosing the patterns too.

Will Anarkali look better than the umbrella cut on me?

Women are the ones almost always facing it. The color, fit, the compatibility with your skin tone, comparison with other available colors of the same product etc are few of the many factors that trouble women while buying clothes. You buy one, try it on, don’t like it much, order the next and wonder whether the earlier one looked better. If you are a frequent online shopper, these hassles get on your nerves after a while.

Behold! You can now try on the apparels you buy online!

You read that right. Shimply, India’s multi-category online Bazaar, launched its mobile app recently. There are a huge variety of unique products on Shimply, curated from across the country at affordable prices. The highlight of the mobile app happens to be the ‘Virtual Trial Room’ facility which is such a relief for many shopaholics.

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I know what you are wondering.

How could a virtual trial room work?

The app has a trial room section where you have the option to either choose an image from the gallery or click a picture. Once the image is chosen, a wide range of products appear below the image from which you can choose the ones you like, for trial. The apparel can be placed anywhere on the image, zoomed in & out and tilted to fit the size of your image. You can easily alternate between products trials to determine the one that suits you the best.

I was skeptical about the color aspect. I wondered how I’ll know if the color actually suits me. Astonishingly, the apparels not only fit well with the image used, but I also got a precise idea of how the colors would look on me.

The icing on the cake? You can have trials with Home Decors too. That totally enthralled me. Simply click a picture of your living room and see how the decors look in their respective places. Choose the ones that suit the paint color and go well with the other furniture in your home.

Is it safe?

Virtual Trial Room claims to work on the Patent Pending Technology where, once the image is clicked, it is saved nowhere in the phone. This makes it much safer, keeping at bay, the peeping Tom problem.

As mentioned earlier, while women are the ones most benefited by the feature, men will definitely be relieved thinking about the time saved. Now you have more reasons to shop online and stay at home, rather than walk into store after store with your better half.

Shimply has around 1.7 crore products ranging from casual wears, formals, bridals, Bollywood designs and specialties, beauty & personal care products, furniture, home decors, books, jewellery of all kinds and just about everything. There are some unique products that define the diversity and culture of India. With the added advantage of virtual trial for all these products, it has taken online shopping a step further.