Now when did we need a class to learn about shopping? It seems since all the good stuff went online. Talk quirky, unusual, affordable brands and designer wear, and that's e-shopping.
While making purchases is always about picking up what your heart says (after a good look at the price tag), online shopping has brought about some challenges. Picking up a quirky stuff once in a while may be easy, but this is one place where window shopping is not. There's too much to browse through, and some intelligent decision making required, with offers calling out perennially. Then there's the doubts of the real product not looking as neat as in the pictures, and bad fits. And we all know at least one person who's sworn to stay away because of near addiction!
So, we were all ears when we heard of a class that taught you a thing or two about becoming pro online shoppers.
Image consultant Jainee Gandhi's three-hour 'How to shop online' class covers 'the' sites to visit for great picks, understand sizing, and hidden stipulates on return policies among other things, over high tea.
"The workshop covers all the nuances of online shopping," says Jainee. "How to check sizing for every piece from trousers and shirts to skirts and dresses, where to opt for COD (cash on delivery) and where to use the credit card. We also dissect a list of over 50 websites for their positives and negatives," she tells us.
It's a dossier she's come up with from experience. Jainee, who also plays personal shopper to top shot corporates says she turned to shop online out of plain boredom. "With so many trips for my clients to these malls, I feel terribly bored to go out there to shop for myself." Another thing that had her hooked to the prospect of online shopping was fewer chances of duplicity. She explains, "Even the most chic stores have on stands a number of each of their styles. And it's dreadful to find someone wearing the same thing at a meeting. But online, you have more options, including some brands and designers not sold on stands in India."
Soon enough, Jainee says she was dispensing information to friends, "who liked what I wore", on where to buy what, and dos and don'ts for online shopping. The 31-year-old entrepreneur realised that a personal choice had armed her with some interesting data and insight into shopping online. "With trial and error over time I had with me a bank of 72 websites whetted by me on various points during my purchases," she shares. When she began wondering what she could do with the data, she thought of taking a class.
The first class on online shopping took place last month. "It was more like a test class. We passed around the message to friends to check if it would get a response, and we had 15 participants."
However, the image consultant also undertook a "small experiment" before the debut class. :For six months, I bought everything we needed for the house and ourselves online." This included things for her husband and her 10-year-old son too. "I ordered for spectacles and even a pressure cooker online," she grins.
While she discovered it offered tremendous convenience and good bargains; some lessons were learned too. For one, trousers and footwear are the most difficult to pick online. "You need a perfect fit for both." And online is not where you experiment. "For instance, if you have never tried stilettos, online is not the place you buy." Most importantly, you need to read the 'special offer' carefully. "You may have to buy two or three items at one go, to avail most of these offers that apply only on purchases of a certain amount."
Filter is the key
One tends to get carried away or waste too much time browsing online. So filtering is the key. If you want to buy a maxi dress, filter maxi style, your budget, and the size.
UK sizing is different from US size or an Indian size. So for clothes and shoes, always read the sizing guidelines before making the purchase.
Read the offers carefully. Usually it offers a certain percent of discounts when you shop for a certain amount onluy; for example: 10% discount on Rs 1,000 or more. To avail the benefit you may need to buy more than one product. So, make a list of the other things you need and make your purchase.
The returns and refund policy of every website is different. When buying swimwear, lingerie and shape wear, returns policy is very stringent.
Online is a good place to find unique accessories, says Jainee. Here are some of her recommendations:
Buyandbrag.com for quirky gifts
Indiacircus.com for watches
chumbak.com for cases
thehouseoftara.net for handbags
When: 3 pm to 6 pm, May 24 (Saturday)
Where: Raheja Classic Club, Andheri (W)
Cost: Rs 2,500
To register: call 9870436990