With ecommerce accounting for more and more business each year, it's no surprise many people - especially among the younger generations - are going online to find their footwear. So if you're thinking of going online to order your next pair of elevator dress shoes, athletic sneakers or boots, what should you do to make the experience a good one? We've compiled the five best tips for online shoe-shopping to help you confidently navigate the internet waters.
- Know Your Foot (Measurements)
- Have An Idea of What Shoes You Want
- Make Sure the Store Has a Good Return/Exchange Policy
- Research Shipping Options and "Total Cost"
- Shop With Reputable Stores
It's no secret that shoe sizes can vary greatly between manufacturers, and obviously, you don't get to try on the shoe you're looking at on a website. But knowing the dimensions of your feet goes a long way towards getting the right pair. Measure the exact length and width of each foot from the longest points and keep that information handy. Most online shoe stores have sizing charts that you can use to determine what size will fit. You should also be aware whether your foot arches are high, medium or low, as different shoes are designed for different arch types.
Going into a shopping session knowing only that "I need some shoes" is an easy way to fall down the rabbit hole of options (and there are a lot of options). What style of shoe are you looking for? What are you going to be using them for? Are you more interest in comfort, function or looks? Answering these questions in advance will help you narrow down your search and reduces the chances of getting distracted by something that isn't right for you.
Even if you do all your research, you still will occasionally receive a pair of shoes that just doesn't fit, feel or look right. And there's always the chance of a defective shoe just like when you shop in-person. In those cases, a bad return policy (or none at all) will leave you with more than just sore feet. Ideally, they should give you at least a few weeks to return the shoes for a refund, exchange or store credit, as long as the shoes are in their original condition. And a store that goes "above and beyond" is even better.
A big reason for shopping online is to get a good deals. But sometimes deals aren't always what they seem. Some stores have low up-front costs, but gouge you on shipping so you actually pay more than at a physical store. Others have free shipping, but your purchase can take up to two weeks to arrive - and most people shopping for shoes can't wait that long. Look at both the cost of the shoe, the estimated shipping charges and the estimated shipping time so you know what you're getting into.
Trust is important at any store, but especially online, because the store is receiving the money before the buyer receives the product. So look hard at a store's reputation. Customer reviews will tell you a lot about their experience, and an online store will often advertise if they have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau, Shopper Approved and other organizations.