“Shopping for Children’s Clothes Online”
by Jenni Birch
We all love the convenience of online shopping, and statistics show that in the US alone, over $186 billion was spent on online transactions in 2010. This figure has been climbing steadily over the past few years, with over 12 billion units of clothing being sold on the internet. With a rapidly changing e-Commerce market, it’s no surprise that more parents are opting to shop for their children’s clothes online too.
Online shopping is something of a double-edged sword: While it’s easy to be distracted by the plethora of options available online and subsequently spend a lot of money, it’s even easier to find bargains and get quality items without spending top dollar, as long as you know how to navigate the internet for the best deals.
To make sure you get the best value for children’s clothes as you shop online, keep the following in mind…
1. Play It Safe and Invest in Unisex Clothing
Don’t just get an item because it looks great. Due to the nature of online shopping, you can never tell what a product will actually look or feel like until you have it in your hands. Any parent can tell you that children can be extremely finicky when it comes to the clothes they wear, and while the best option is always to take your children with you when you shop for clothes, parents need to find a workaround when they shop online.
Luckily, manufacturers have started paying attention to this predicament. Not only has there been a substantial increase in the amount of choices parents have for their kids’ clothes, but specialty boutiques that offer unisex clothing have also popped up. Katie Pietrasik, who launched unisex clothing brand Toosa MacGinty, tells MotherWifeMe.com that this niche in the market has certainly been one of the most successful. “I recognized a need for a stylish, gender neutral clothing brand for children and began designing,” says Katie. “It’s such a cliche but we’ve managed to find a “gap-in-the-market” which has kept the ball rolling from the very beginning.”
Parents opt for unisex clothing because it’s not just comfortable, but practical too. Gender-neutral clothing is easily passed own from sibling to sibling, saving them money that would otherwise have been spent on clothes for each child.
2. Listen to What Others Are Saying
Because you can never be sure of the quality of the clothes available online, it’s important to look at what other people are saying about the products. Research shows that 90% of all purchases made online are subject to social influence, and brands are also quite aware of the effects that word of mouth can have on their profits.
Reviews come into play when checking for clothing sizes, as children’s garments aren’t always made in uniform sizes, with measurements in different stores varying quite a bit. The comments left in most online stores or review aggregate websites have information on how the items and different sizes fit, and sometimes even photographs of the items being worn. In the same regard, you can also continue to visit mommy blogs, who often have information on the best clothing brands to trust. Just make sure you keep an open mind, and don’t take these reviews at face value, and still be critical of other’s opinions.
3. Check the Return Policies
Perhaps the biggest challenge to buying clothes online is not having the ability to try the clothes on your kids. To make sure that you’ve got yourself covered, check the online store’s return policies before making a purchase.
Go easy on yourself and let yourself make mistakes. Open yourself up to the idea of being disappointed in items on your first few tries of purchasing items online. Studies released by Which? show that 46% of online customers experienced at least one issue when purchasing from online stores. With so many choices available to parents, it’s easy to be distracted, and you may find yourself purchasing items that you can’t really use, and knowing the store’s return policies helps make sure that you still get your money’s worth, even after a faulty order.
For Jenni Birch, there’s nothing more important than safe internet usage, especially when kids are involved. Jenny often spends her time learning about great ways to manage our kids’ relationship with tech, and make the most of the internet. For more tips on shopping online for your kids, tweet with her @WrittenbyJenni.