Tips to Avoid Online Shopping Hazards

So I am going to confess, this year I haven’t bought one Christmas gift in a brick-and-mortar store. I have four active kids ages 9 to 21. My oldest is a senior in college and my baby is a 3rd grader. We are busy 24/7. From college dance performances to high school and elementary basketball games we are always on the go – BUT, I am not complaining…I love it. One thing I do not love is shopping, I actually loath it. I am an internet shopper. After everyone is in bed, I jump online and knock out my Christmas list. How did our mom’s actually have time to go shopping for Christmas?

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As I finished my shopping Monday night, I did feel a little wave of anxiety – will everything make it on time and…oh boy, my credit card is out there all over the place. Hence, the inspiration for today’s blog. I thought I would share some tips that I learned from Google, of course, on how to make online shopping safer – particularly when shopping for clothes.

Make sure the website is legit!

As suggested in the Consumer Reports blog, Avoid these pitfalls of online shopping, one of the best things we can do is make sure a website isn’t “shady.”

Does the website look modern and has it been updated in last year or two?

Make sure the web address starts with “https” and has a padlock symbol on the status bar.

Check out the business with the Better Business Bureau. Are complaints filed against the company? I am happy to report that after reading this, I immediately checked LaBella Flora Children’s Boutique’s rating… A+.

Another must, check out the company’s reviews. I mean dig in there and read the negatives and positives. Because I am a social media person, I also recommend heading over to the business’s social media pages . Check out the comments on their Facebook posts. If a company isn’t responding to customers they will reach out on social media. If a business is promoting a giveaway or promotion, but are failing to ship their orders or not issuing refunds – customers tend to comment. If you see comments from customers saying they haven’t received their order and no one is answering the phone or responding to emails, be VERY concerned and do not order from that company no matter how great the price is. Do not take the risk!

Here are some recent customer reviews for LaBella Flora.

Recent reviews for LaBella Flora Children's Boutique
Recent reviews for LaBella Flora Children’s Boutique

Make sure that there is a way to contact the company. More and more companies are burying their phone numbers on their site, make sure there is an email listed to contact the customer service department. Most companies, due to time differences, respond to emails quicker than phone calls. You should expect a response within 24 hours, even if it is just a “Hey, we got your message” response.

According to a popular Huffington Post blog, How to Avoid (Most) Online Shopping Disasters, the biggest mistake customers make is shopping for clothes and assuming clothes will look the same as they do online and fit just like they do on the model. When my oldest daughter was in high school she wanted to order a dress for prom online – she had fallen in love with the dress. After further investigating, I said “no way.” I knew the dress was coming from Asia and being made to look “just like the picture.” A couple years later the following picture appeared on social media – the exact dress my daughter had loved. Unfortunately this girl took the bait and ordered the dress. Not quite a match. LOL!

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At LaBella Flora we take several steps to make sure you are getting exactly what you were expecting.

  1. Everything you order is coming from our US warehouse. If we have it online it is in stock, no drop shipping from manufacturers to you.
  2. Every piece of clothing we sell has been inspected when we receive it and reinspected when we ship it.
  3. In addition to using model images, there are three pictures taken of each item – a photo of the front, back, and a close-up. Each photo is posted online. We are one of the only online children’s boutiques that uses photos we have taken, in addition to model images. Our photography department analyzes each piece to make sure the colors in the image match the actual clothing, eliminating any surprises when your order arrives.

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The Big Question..Sizing

The biggest concern people have when ordering online is sizing! Will it fit? To help you determine what size to order, we have a size chart tab linked to every item we sell online. Here is our general size chart.

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Occasionally, we have a brand we feel our general size chart doesn’t quite match, for instance, Jak & Peppar. In that case, we create a brand specific size chart to help you select the right size.

SizeChartJakPeppar

In addition to size charts, we have created a Buyer’s Guide with some of our main brands to help with sizing: if an item runs true to size, slightly small, or lightly big. In addition to size, there are many factors that go into making a purchase, including, the look, fabric, care, styles, sizes available, and price. Our Girl’s Boutique Clothing Buyers Guide helps take the confusion out of online ordering.

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We realize buying clothing can be tricky, but we are here to help. In addition, to great images, size charts, and buyers guide we have the best resource in our industry – our customer service department! Email us or call us at 888.572.3552, we will use over 10 years of children’s clothing boutique experience to find the perfect dress or outfit for her special occasion.

What is the company’s return policy?

Sometimes if a deal seems too good to be true…IT IS.  Make sure you can return purchases and sales are not final. In addition, read the details of the company’s return policy for hidden shipping costs and restocking fees. Some companies have so many fees related to returns, it isn’t worth returning it. At LaBella Flora Children’s Boutique, we want you to be happy. If an item doesn’t fit or you simply don’t like it, return it for a full refund within 14 days of receipt. Here is a link to our return policy.

Make sure the company has a physical address

If you are placing an order online, you want to make sure the company has a physical address listed somewhere on their site. You will need this address if you want to make a return and it helps if you would need to dispute charges with your credit card company.

Your personal information

Make sure the company isn’t loosey-goosey with your personal information. They should have a visible privacy policy and a commitment to keep your personal and financial data secure.

Quick Recap

Here is a short video you can watch that recaps what you should look for before ordering from a website, using LaBellaFlora.com as an example.

 

Customer satisfaction is our top priority at LaBella Flora, we are always striving to improve your experience. We would love suggestions from our most valuable assets – our customers! Happy Shopping and Merry Christmas…from all of us at LaBella Flora Children’s Boutique.

 

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