It may surprise you to learn that studies show that the vast majority of guys — 84.3 percent, to be exact — shop online. There’s no getting around the fact that if you have a precise vision or want a specific product, you’ll likely have to place some online orders from time to time. Plus, you simply can’t beat the massive variety when shopping virtually rather than in-person. But there’s also no denying that online shopping comes with its pitfalls, so you want to make sure you know the best way to do it.
If you’re one of the few who isn’t comfortable with buying clothes via the web or you want to improve your overall experience, there are a few things you can do to minimize the impact and guarantee that your shopping session goes off without a hitch. Here are our top shopping tips for buying menswear online:
Take Your Measurements
Taking your measurements regularly will help ensure that you get the perfect fit. Men will want to know the measurements (in both inches and centimeters) of their collar, chest, shoulders, sleeve, waist, inside leg, outside leg and back length. There are many measuring guides online to help you get accurate numbers. Using a flexible sewing tape measure and enlisting the help of another person will get you the most accurate measurements. You can also visit your local tailor and have them take your numbers if you prefer a professional opinion.
Get Familiar with Size Charts
The whole point of taking your measurements is so you can compare them with the size chart of the shop where you plan to buy your clothes. Size charts can help you choose clothing that fits you properly. For example, if you know your inside leg measurements, you’ll be able to tell exactly where the hem will hit when shopping for men’s swimwear or shorts.
Size charts will also help you determine whether an item will give you a slim or relaxed fit. For example, you may want a little extra breathing room when shopping for things like men’s linen shirts or crewneck sweatshirts, but you may prefer a slimmer, more tailored fit for dress shirts and pants.
Rely on Product Reviews
Product reviews can provide you with tons of insight on the fit, quality, color and feel of a specific garment. If a product has a ton of bad reviews, it’s probably because it doesn’t work well for a lot of guys.
On the other hand, if it’s highly rated, it’s probably a safer bet. Be sure to read reviews not only on products themselves, but also the retailer. The fact is that there are a ton of small, independent shops online, many legitimate and many scammy. Bone up on the best ways to figure out if a website is legit or not before placing big orders.
Prioritize Shops with Flexible Return Policies
Studies show that return policies are among the biggest deterrents for online shoppers. In fact, 33 percent of shoppers cite return issues as reasons why they might not make a purchase online. Getting comfortable with returns ensures that you don’t waste money. It also allows you to place large orders to try items and then send back what you don’t want without a fee. But there are two ways to combat this issue that we recommend for guys who want a great online shopping experience:
Check The Return Policy Before Buying
Luckily, most legitimate online shops will give you a 15- to 30-day window to return products without hassle or questions. Make sure the retailer has a flexible return policy before making a purchase.
Don’t Be Afraid To Make Online Returns
So many of us view returns as a hassle that’s not worth it — we’ve all got plenty of less-than-ideal unworn clothes in the closet — but the reality is that most online retailers have made this process quite easy. Often, all you need to do is print out a return label and affix it to the original packaging. Send it back, and you’ll see a refund within a week or two.
Understand The Balance Between Ease of Use And Consumer Protection With PayPal or Apple Pay
How many times have you spent hours surfing your favorite online store, only to fail to check out when you realized you had to go get your credit card? Using a service such as PayPal or Apple Pay, which stores your credit card information securely, is beneficial in a few ways.
First, it eliminates having to run to get your payment information. Second, it provides extra barriers against fraud because you’re not supplying payment information directly to the retailer. However, you should always make sure to take security measures against fraud and shop only with trusted sellers.
Compare and Track Prices
Another massive benefit of shopping online is, since you can compare prices at thousands of sites, you can pretty much guarantee you’re getting the best price. If the item you want to buy is sold across multiple stores, be sure to put it into Google and check prices, promotions and shipping costs at various retailers. Here are two more ways to ensure you get the lowest price:
Use price trackers such as CamelCamelCamel to keep your eye on the cost of a certain item so you know when it has dropped or increased in price.
Hunt For Coupon Codes
You’ll also find that many clothing retailers offer coupon codes and discounts, so make sure to check for those or use a browser extension such as Honey or RetailMeNot. Some may also offer cash back for certain stores.
While it’s smart to shop with caution, eCommerce has come a long way in the last decade or so. Buying your clothes and accessories online opens you up to a whole new world of product selection, variety, style and convenience, so it’s certainly not something you want to miss out on. With that being said, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re armed with the right knowledge and know how to shop in a way that minimizes the hassle of returns. With this guide, you’ll be able to take full advantage of your online shopping potential!