Shopping For Clothes Online Can Be Fun and Money Saving

There are many people that have already discovered the fun and the benefits of shopping for clothing on the Internet. It is one way to be able to sift through the inventory of as many stores as you like without ever having to leave home to do it. When you drive around shopping for clothes, you can spend all day searching the stores in your area or even farther away and come home empty handed because you still did not find exactly what you were looking for. You can find almost anything on line from lingerie to winter coats.

The competition of clothing stores on the Internet can be fierce sometimes which ends up meaning that you can find some great deals. Some clothing websites and stores carry the same merchandise and what you find at one place might be found cheaper or even on sale or clearance at another place. Shopping at a variety of different Internet stores can definitely be to your benefit when it comes to ways of saving money on your wardrobe.

Another way you can save money is when you find a clothing item you want or anything else for that matter at more than one Internet store, look for deals on shipping. Some stores will even offer free shipping from time to time or discounted shipping if you spend a certain amount with their business. Sometimes you might think that the shipping is an added cost to the item and you are right, however you also have to consider if you had to buy fuel for your car to get to a store and buy the item that way, you would likely still be spending at least five or ten dollars for that fuel. Add in the time you would have to spend driving to the store, looking for the item and standing in line and you can begin to see how shopping for clothes on line is a great idea.

Shopping on the Internet for clothes is wonderful because even the biggest chain stores can usually be found as well as huge numbers of smaller and more unique clothing stores that are ran by individuals. In the smaller stores is where you can often find one of a kind clothing items that you will not find in the chain department stores. There are also plenty of websites clothing stores that offer used clothing items at great prices too. Always be sure to choose the size that you think will fit you best and check the return policy of the Internet store you do business with. If possible check their reputation on line as well. If they have a good reputation for customer satisfaction, it should be safe for you to shop there. Always look for sites that are secure and protect your valuable personal information.

The Rise of Social Shopping and User Reviews

Why I think customer reviews and social shopping are important. Social shopping is an interesting concept which divides opinion amongst web commentators.

Most are agreed that social shopping is a specific type of web service with its roots in the social explosion of Web 2.0.

In their purest form the best social shopping sites provide an open independent platform where users can add products, post a review or provide a product rating. The sites are service orientated, providing the tools for others to use and as such rely heavily on user generated content to set the agenda.

In essence the opportunity now exists for consumers to band together, discuss specific products and brands and provide an authentic alternative voice to the brand led marketing activity and conventional expert reviews we are all subjected to in other media.

By sharing product knowledge and experiences, creating useful content, an empowered community consensus can emerge, highlighting the gems and warning against the over hyped duds – the products which disappoint and fail to deliver.

This type of user generated content has a real value and satisfies an important element of the online shopping process – research, which accounts for 80% of consumer time when they are shopping online.

Social shopping sites combine social elements such as a social networking community features with aspects of shopping such as product reviews, ratings and deal hunting.

Some of the more agile social shopping sites are making use of the Twitter API and Facebook Connect to tap in to the online conversation, providing context for product related Tweets on Twitter and distribution of product opinion via Facebook.

Social shopping sites can be viewed as a value added evolution of the affiliate model – as they seek to monetize website content (the user generated product reviews and ratings) by sending traffic to third party merchant sites where they can purchase product.

My starting position is to agree with the mantra that “customer recommendation is the Holy Grail of Advertising”. We know this is true in the real world – if your friends and neighbours enthuse about their new car, lawnmower, laptop or digital camera – it will have weight, you take note.

The same holds online – reviews and recommendations are very powerful; especially those from people with status in a community, and those which are provided weeks and months after the purchase; only the scale and dynamics of relationships differ. The potential then of social shopping and what it offers us as consumers, product designers, specialist retailers and brands which really focus on and respond to their community is very exciting.

Some statistics and predictions from rantorave.

According to a global Nielsen survey of 26,486 Internet users in 47 markets, consumer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising among 78% of the study’s respondents. (Nielsen, “Word-of-Mouth the Most Powerful Selling Tool”).

83% of shoppers said online product evaluations and reviews influenced their purchasing decisions. (Opinion Research Corporation, an infoGROUP company, July 2008).

76% of US retailers said user-generated content would have a greater impact on their marketing goals in the near future. (SLI Systems/Zoomerang, November 2008).

56% of UK website owners say that user-generated content lifts conversion levels; 77% say it increases traffic; and 42% say it increases the average spend on site.(eConsultancy survey of 360 website owners across all sectors, November 2008).

By 2020, 84% of marketers agree that building customer trust will become marketing’s primary objective, and 82% agree that collaboration with customers will prevail over marketing. (1to1 Media survey April, 2008).

Top 10 Social shopping sites: (note I am only allowed to submit an article with 4 links)

  1. Kaboodle – http://www.kaboodle.com a great site, arguably market leader geared towards female consumers. Now owned by Hearst Digital Media.
  2. ThisNext – another strong site with an emphasis on female consumers, this site feels like a great window shopping experience with expert Maverns on tap
  3. Tribesmart – http://www.tribesmart.com this site is making use of twitter and Facebook connect. There are some great tools such as the personal list builder and community messaging features based on the ‘Tribes’ idea. Like Veedow, Wists and Crowdstorm it could appeal to both sexes and this is potentially where the gap in the market is as Kaboodle, OSOYOU and ThisNext seem to have marked out a claim on the younger female market.
  4. Veedow – a slightly confusing site, a neat idea, still yet to realize it’s full potential in my view
  5. Stylehive – feeling less like a pure play social shopping site these days, it has a strong emphasis on wannabe celebrity fashion/lifestyle writers who you follow – it is not as vibrant as twitter although you can see where they are going with it
  6. Jungle Raft – a new entrant, included as it is a new concept with a clear proposition in terms of pulling the best deals from Amazon
  7. Stylefeeder – offers to help users discover products based on their unique tastes. The looks a little off the pace and has some annoying and tacky pop up ads. All a bit old skool.
  8. Crowdstorm – the site is a Digg type site for products, it is based on buzz and an expert opinion network- although it does seem to have gone quiet in the last 12 months
  9. Shopstyle – feels like an ecommerce site with price discounts on display. Lacks obvious reviews or community features although the stylebooks feature is really nice enabling people to put looks together and share these – the ‘sale alert’ feature could be useful though and the site has hooked up with Elle magazine in the past.
  10. Wists – a trending site about what is new and what people plan on buying

There are many others, sites like Shopcorn and Naturalbornshoppers to name but two.

Indian Wedding Dress Shopping Practices in Modern Times

Indian weddings are getting more magnificent and splendorous with each passing year. This is resulting in an increase in competition among wedding planners i.e., their aim to be ahead in the race of arranging a grand and impressive wedding for their clients. Earlier Indian weddings used to be closely knitted family affair where every ceremony and preparations were taken care by every family member. But, with changing time and growing wedding market today the scenario has revolutionized. Nowadays, weddings are more about wedding planners, fashion designers, luxurious Indian bridal dresses and loads of shopping.

From traditional aspects Indian wedding sarees are supposed to be the most obvious choice as Indian bridal wear. But changing fashion trends and new innovations in Indian bridal dresses have opened numerous options for the bride who wishes to shop for her bridal trousseau. Number of fashion designers and labels are offering loads of designs, styles and patterns in wedding wear collections, in varying price range.

Today, fashion designers and online fashion websites will spoil you for choices. Let’s take a look at fashion designers first. Designers excelled in wedding wear collections are leaving no stones unturned to allure their customers. From designing bridal sarees, bridal lehengas to offering heart conquering customization facilities… they are doing everything to win your attention and mint money. In recent times, couturiers of the Indian fashion industry are seen setting up luxurious designer boutiques. Reason being, they want to make their customers feel special in the sophisticated air of their stores. These days, designers not just offer exclusively designed wedding lehengas and Indian bridal sarees, but also offer personalized styling tips.

Their collections range from finely embellished concept sarees, bridal sari gowns, to wedding lehengas with eye catching detailing, woven in rich and luxe fabrics. Elements of intricate hand embroidery and sparkles of Swarovski crystals are some deciding factor for expensiveness of the wedding dresses. If you want a subtle and less glittering wedding lehengas and bridal sarees, go for Sabyasachi Mukherjee, while if you’ve a weakness for drapes and pleats Gaurav Gupta should be your obvious choice because he is known as the Duke of Drapes. If you want to follow the old traditional charm of Indian wedding with a twist of bling, there is no one better choice than JJ Valaya and Tarun Tahiliani.

After fashion designer boutiques, lets’ move on to know more about the latest trends available at online fashion shopping websites. Spoil yourself and be a shopaholic with convenient ways of online shopping by relaxing at the comfort zone of your abode. Whether its online lehenga shopping for your reception ceremony or buying bridal sarees, Indian wedding jewelry and other Indian bridal dresses, online shopping offer attractive offers which are hard to resist. Wide array of colors, numerous styles and designs in Indian wedding sarees, bridal lehengas, and wedding lehengas, make online shopping fun and pocket friendly. It offers an assortment of Indian bridal wear collections, jewelry and other accessories under one web address.

Now, choose from the wide range of options available for wedding shopping.

Clues to Help You Chose Between Product Review Websites – A Lesson in Internet Shopping

For this example, let’s assume that you wish to learn to play the piano, and are searching the Internet for information. You will find many choices and many review sites which discuss even more choices. Your analysis process should include all of the points(clues) discussed here. This article is more about the selection process than the product or vendor.

In case you didn’t realize it, the typical Internet Product Review site will likely steer you to the product which nets them the highest commission. Shocked? Don’t be – this is absolutely normal marketing in every aspect of life. It’s all about maximizing their profit. However, and fortunately, not everyone does this. There are some obvious and some subtle clues which will help you decide who to trust, especially shopping on the Internet. Don’t be fearful – be informed. Read on.

Been shopping in town lately? Dealt with any commissioned sales folks lately? How about those, oh so helpful folks who keep asking if you found everything, and or, do you want to super size your order? Trying to maximize the store’s profit really is normal and widely practiced. Nothing to be concerned about yet.

Speaking of commissions – In all Internet purchases, the seller, also known as the vendor, pays the salesperson (known as an affiliate or associate) a small commission. The lowest is about four (4.0) percent. The price to the buyer doesn’t change – it costs the same where ever you go. (The price can vary a tiny bit in the physical product areas, for example – keyboards and pianos. This is due to volume wholesale purchasing and distribution costs. The sales commission doesn’t factor in this.)

The commission usually automatically goes to the last affiliate site you visited before you clicked through to the product detail / sales page and made a purchase. This is tracked automatically by the computers with little chunks of data called “temporary cookies.” The vendors who transmit the cookies to your computer explain it all on their privacy or terms and conditions web pages. It is nothing to be concerned about. It’s very normal and business like. Most people have never actually read these pages.

So, the Big Question – what distinguishes a trustworthy product review site of any flavor? Listed here are critical clues. Some are more obvious than others – all are worthy of your consideration.

  • First and foremost is your gut level comfort level as you look over a site.
  • Can you identify a human with an address and contact information?
  • Does the reviewer discuss any negative aspects of the product? Few products are so wonderful that nothing negative can be found and pointed out to you, the shopper and possible customer.
  • Does the review include information and opinions not found on the vendor’s site? (All reviews where the reviewer is an affiliate for the vendor will have links for you to click on, taking you directly to the vendor’s site. Perfectly normal and to be expected.) In case you never thought about it, consider this: Vendor’s love affiliates – they are outside non-employees with no benefits, etc. who get a tiny reward (called a commission) only after a sale occurs. If no new information is on the review site, could well be that an actual review did not take place. Major clue.
  • Study the information provided, validate the customer testimonials if possible, and make your own decision. Use your normal decision making process. For example, I personally read the testimonials very carefully when researching products. Do they sound authentic – not made up. Can they be verified? Will the seller provide you contact details if asked? This is rare, but sometimes occurs.
  • Frequently digital download products are sold with 100 percent money back guarantees. The full details are always part of the information / sales letter. They are commonly placed right at the bottom end, right after the price information. Guarantees are always a very important part of the purchasing decision. Another clue to trustworthiness. Doesn’t matter on review sites – but it does matter on the vendor’s site.
  • A good reviewer owns many, but not necessarily all of the products he reviews. When you are are deciding, remember to keep in mind what your situation is (your own wants, needs, desires, etc.) It’s about building trust and confidence. Do you feel pressured? Another major clue.

So, after lots of searching and looking at several – many websites and competing products, let’s assume you have made a product selection decision and are ready to buy. Please consider giving a vote of confidence to the affiliate review site that actually provided you with useful information. Please go back to that review site just before making the actual purchase. That is what triggers that ‘cookie’ thingy I mentioned earlier. And that results in that small commission we talked about. And that is what motivates affiliates to produce meaningful review sites.

I trust that I have enlightened you a bit. Shopping on the Internet is quite safe, especially if you pay attention to the clues. As always, the final choice is yours. Now you know more about how to sort through all the choices and chose the best product for you.

When you find the right one for you, you can purchase it right away. (Remember that often the best product does in fact, cost more. Also normal.) No waiting – parking – standing in line – all the joys of Internet shopping. Fear not – Enjoy.