online versus in-store shopping

What’s your take on online versus in store shopping?

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 63 Comments

I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately. Online versus in store shopping.

I mean it wasn’t so long ago that we were all petrified of it. Or was that just me?

We were convinced our credit cards would be taken for a ride somewhere by someone who knew how best to ride them. I kind of knew I was always safe as more often than not my poor little over-worked and under-loved rectangle of plastic was maxed out or close enough to being maxed out.

Now it seems we’ve very much gotten over ourselves with a recent study has finding that 85% of Australians have shopped online. The same study found that in any given week three-quarters of us still do most of our shopping in store. Yep, I thought, that sounds just about right.

It was this stat, however, that got me thinking:

When Australians considered the statement “I think it’s wrong to get a shop assistant to show you something in-store and then go and buy it online”, 39% agreed and 29% disagreed.

Hold on a minute.

So almost a third of us who shop online think it’s ok to go into a physical store, talk to a “real” sales person or store owner, try on a pair of shoes or a new frock, only to leave and hunt down that same item online?

I’m not comfortable with that. AT ALL.

Sure, it’s not illegal but it kind of crosses my personal ethics’ boundaries. Sure you could nab a bargain but at whose expense?

online versus in store shopping

I checked in with the Styling You Facebook community too. I wanted to gauge their response. Would they do this? Have they done it?

Here are just some of the responses:

  • Penny Webb: I’m the same. If it fits I’ll buy it then and there. I need instantaneous gratification. It’s part of my retail process 😉
  • Jana Karen: Mizzi sometimes I browse online then go instore to try on & buy. Sometimes I see something in store but dont buy at the time then I buy on sale online !
  • Deb Hodgon: If I go to all of the trouble of trying something on in the store, then I’m going to buy it. I hate shopping online anyway. Takes the fun out of shopping
  • Evelyn Robinson: I’m more inclined to browse online, then go try it on and buy it in a store. It’s called “research” haha
  • Hannah Lundberg: I will for big ticket items. Australian markup is just too much on some things.
  • Bronwyn Orsatti: I buy online but make sure the returns policy allows for me to exchange in store if size wrong (or if looks hideous on). Don’t have time to shop in store for me (without kids)
  • Lynny Hailes: I use both options depending on what I’m wanting to buy. I’ve never gone into a store though to try something on for size so I can buy online at a cheaper price. It’s not a practice that feels right to me.
  • Rochelle Taylor: If I see it in store and like it then I’ll buy it then and there. Although on one occassion I did buy a Fendi bag from Nieman Marcus but I first went to DJ’s to have a look at the style. DJs didn’t have the colour I was after anyway so I didn’t feel guilty about buying from overseas.

But it was perhaps the responses I received from two people who work in the Australian boutique game who really made me think and prompted me to blog further about the topic here.

Linda Nogara: Ohh this question really gets my blood boiling. Buying online will eventually lead to a huge problem of loss of jobs. Remember that small business is the biggest employer in Australia, and workers in OZ are amongst the highest paid in the world! Stores in Melbourne are already trying to charge people for trying on. This in it self is ridiculous but what hope do they have of surviving. Before the end of the year you will see many more Australian brands go under. Iconic brands that can’t compete with overseas markets. I urge you to think hard about buying online. You may save a buck or two but you will most definitely be taking a job away from someone you know! That or take a pay cut of about 80% to be on the same wage as an American sales assistant! Australian sales assistant is on about $25 per hour, and US is on about $5. Just saying … online serves a purpose, I am not doubting that and yes there are many Australian stores that have an online presence and there are also many products that are not available here at all. But when a person uses a local store to try on and then goes off shore to save a buck this is down right wrong. I would not supply one of my overseas stores and give them the right to sell online to Australian clients as our wage conditions and taxes etc are so different and I want to protect my stockists in this country.

Katrina Mellon: So heartening to read your comments Linda Nogara!! My husband and I have a small retail business selling a European footwear brand and we have many customers every week trying on shoes, writing the details down and then walking out. We even have people trying to swap their online purchases with us! We used to have two outlets and employ seven staff. We have had to close one store and now only my husband works in the store. We unfortunately, cannot compete with prices offered by the European internet stores who can buy direct from the supplier, while we have to purchase via a distributor who whacks a huge margin on the wholesale price!  Our future in retail is pretty bleak. If only more people thought like you Linda! One day, people will walk down their high street and wonder where all the little independent boutiques have gone.

Here’s MY take on the online versus in-store shopping debate:

1. Online shopping is a fashion leveller. I grew up in a regional town where if you wanted to buy new clothes you mostly had to drive three hours to the capital city. Not any more. It doesn’t matter where you live in Australia, the fashion can come to you.

2. Online shopping is convenient. If you have small children or had small children you will remember how much of a drama it was to even get out the door, let alone achieve anything clothes shopping wise for yourself. Even if your children are older or you don’t have them, we seem to have less time for an in-store browse. Even if I don’t click the checkout button on a store’s website, I’ll often be found browsing online with a view to buying online – or the next day or week in the physical version of that online store. As a few people said above, that’s research!

3. If you can’t beat them, join them. I have a number of favourite independent boutiques here where I live on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. I’ve been advising them since the GFC hit to get their business online – as a way to help keep their physical store door open. Why? Because of the two reasons above. Online fashion retail done well can give a physical store a reach well beyond their current customer market.

4. Remember that many independent Australian online stores need your support too. Yes, our physical store retailers are taking a hit but helping an online Australian independent retailer is just as good for our retail economy.

5. Respect in store Australian retailers. Please don’t go into their store where they pay high rents and wages, try on your fancy shoes and walk out minutes later to buy on your smartphone from a cheaper overseas outlet. Think of the bigger picture.

For all the reasons above I’m hugely passionate about supporting the Australian retail industry and because I’m playing in the online space. Styling You readers are not necessarily sitting minutes from a city shopping centre or high street so online shopping is a huge focus here.

That’s why every Sunday I feature and profile a new Online Shopping Find. Plus, I’m extremely grateful for the independent online retailers who support this blog by directing some of their marketing budget to Styling You. If you haven’t had a chance to click through to visit some of these retailers, please do.

As a bit of encouragement, I’ve created an Online Outfit of the Week … just from the independent online retailers who advertise here. Yep, that’s an unapologetic disclosure. It’s all a part of the retail wheel of support and I, for one, do not want to see our independent boutiques and designers shut up shop.

In future weeks, the Online Outfit of the Week will also feature retailers beyond those who advertise here but this new post series will also support Australian online retailers – those with and without and physical store.

online outfit of the week

1. Bondi Beach Company Hat @ Sequins & Sand $39.95 | 2. Josette top @ Sancerre $110 | 3. Angular bangles coming soon to Uberkate | 4. Bella Lido Roman sandal $109.95 | 5. Feathers Cocktail pants $199 | 6. Renee Blackwell Design owl pendant $280

Oops, I realise that’s a bit of brain dump for a Thursday. Hope that was ok with you? I’d love to keep the conversation going, though.

What are you thoughts re online shopping and the ethics around trying something on in a physical Australian store and then buying for cheaper online? What are the best things about online shopping for you? What do you love about going into a store to shop?

Comments 63

  1. I think that online shopping is always better than store
    shopping. When you shop online you can compare prices from different providers
    and choose according to your need. Online shopping also helps you to get things
    from overseas.

  2. Sorry, Nikks, I dont get it….what is the point of your “Online Outfit of the Week”? Is it for those on line retailers who advertise on your site & are Aussie made? or also those made overseas? Cos buying from the Aussie made on line sellers will “save” Australian jobs, but buying from the FOREIGN on line seller will NOT “save” Australian jobs….please explain hun, I am trying to understand your principles…thanks Olga

  3. I generally do my browsing in store, before going online to see if the price they are asking is “about right”. If I find that I can get the same item for considerably less (>50%), then I’ll order online. Otherwise, I’ll buy in store for the instant gratification. I guess it’s all about value over convenience.

  4. If I see something online and ‘need’ it, then I buy it online. But I mostly shop around the sunny coast with a rare foray to brisvegas or further afield if the opportunity presents itself. I like to feel the fabric, check the quality, and see if it looks better on the hanger or me before making a commitment. I share the love of Cotton Tree, and would also recommend Être at Mountain Creek.

  5. The only think I am completly comfortable buying online is books but I still buy from the shops too. I actually do buy some clothes from people I have found on Facebook & it’s a bit hit & miss in the sizing but they all bend over backwards to make sure I am happy with my purchase. I wish I was more confidant buying clothes online because there does seems to be a fair few places that sell things at a really discounted price, or brands cant find here, but because my body is such an odd shape I’d much rather walk into a shop & try on a few different items & make a choice then & there.

  6. Until I moved to the lovely little town of Bangalow, online was my retail mode of operation. The feeling of community here is so palatable, I know that if I don’t support those local stores, the gorgeous town that drew me to move here from Brisbane, would not exist. Obviously the shopping is far more limited and for items I can’t source here, online is a fabulous tool which enables me to buy exactly the same things as my city sisters!

  7. I was in Country Road today and wanted something from kidswear that they didn’t have in the size I needed – the assistant offered to go online and order it there for me, in the store. Free shipping, so same price.
    I’m lucky to live close to some great shopping, however the downside is everyone is shopping in the same places – for me, this is where online comes in as I buy a few things here and there that aren’t available locally to add a bit of variety into my wardrobe.

    1. This is a new service at Country Road and it’s a sensational one! Previously you couldn’t get a store transfer – they could hunt it down for you on the computer but then up to you to physically hunt it down. Big tick in my retail book. And yes, living near great shopping is an advantage but you are very clever for keeping that interesting with other pieces!

  8. My teenage daughters go in their beloved teen stores, try on stuff and then wait for the clothes they want to go on sale, on line… no hesitations, they are wired this way. They will always check online prior to going to stores and compare websites etc
    And…they think I am ancient for going into boutiques and dept stores ‘unprepared’!

  9. I prefer to buy in a shop, as I can never be sure about the fit of something new. However, sometimes I’ve tried something on, and either want to think about it, or I might already have one item and want another in a different colour… So then I do buy online – but I ALWAYS buy from the online version of the physical stores. I am a size 12 shoe so that’s difficult, but there is an Australian brand that caters to my size, and I’ve bought from their online store in sales – taken a punt on the fit, and I’m happy to say that so far, so good! I always check the return policy beforehand and if that seems ok I go ahead. I hope that my system of staying loyal to the Aussie brand, regardless of whether buying online or in store works for them as it keeps my options open!

    1. Nicoll, this is something I do too. And a good thing if you’re on to a good item – better to grab more while they’re available. With your shoes, it’s tricky and you would get more variety from some US stores, I’d think?

  10. I support local brands (more than my husband would like) but there are certain things I will always buy online – it boils down to affordability, accessibility and wider variety for me.

    I know that Ojay has just gone into administration and Country Road have recently purchased Witchery but there are some Australian retailers that have thrived in a pretty lousy market so it’s not impossible. The ridiculous rents (coming from a husband with a commercial property background) don’t help but neither does a government attempting to use credit card companies as GST collectors for online purchases (dismissed by Visa due to legal implications).

    I recently dealt with a sales assistant at Thurley who went out of her way to call a CBD store who then walked over a pair of pants from one store to another so my husband could pick them up. Now that is something you can’t buy online and I will always go back for that kind of service! (sorry for the essay!)

    1. The smart Australian retailers have thrived Carli – the big and small ones – a friend of mine owns a boutique here and she’s completely re-invented it since the GFC. Without re-inventing she would have shut the doors a long time ago. And that service from Thurley? That’s a big big tick in my shopping book!

  11. I’m another that needs my instant gratification. If I have bothered to go to a shopping centre, tried something on, then I’ll buy it. A lot of the brands I buy typically aren’t any cheaper online anyway. I’ve had such hit and miss experiences buying online – I’ve never successfully bought shoes online and there are only a few items of clothing I’ve bought with success. The things I will buy online – kids clothing and shoes, repeat purchases of makeup and skincare and must-haves I can’t buy here (Kate Spade; J. Crew and Lands End are the main places my overseas spending happens).

    1. I should add – I don’t mind clothing retail assistants, but I LOATHE that to buy make up here in a store I need to chat about it. I just want my sephora basket and to be able to ask for help IF I need it, not be forced into a sales pitch.

  12. I buy massive amounts of jewellery, purses, bags, and bits and pieces on ebay. I’ve rarely bought from an online store unless it’s wholesale bead shops where I get my beads and findings from, or the odd beauty or chemist shop like Chemist Warehouse who is the only one to stock my shampoo.

    I also buy massive amounts in stores. Kmart for clothes and stationery as they are so cheap, Target sometimes, lots of jewellery chain stores and cheap shops like Go-Lo, and Cheap As Chips here in Adelaide. I’ll buy tonnes in stores as long as it’s on sale and as cheap as anything, that way, I buy more. And I prefer to try stuff on to see if it fits, otherwise it’s a waste of time and money buying online and the bugger doesn’t fit you and you have to send it back.

    I’ll also shop for things, like shoes or bags, in stores. But if they are sold out, on’t have my size, or the store is nowhere near me or not in S.A., then I’ll look online for it.

    So overall, I’m 50/50.

  13. I buy about 50/50 online and instore. With a couple of exceptions, I will only buy online if its free shipping – hence why most of my stuff comes from ASOS. I bought a tee for Dad for Fathers Day from Threadless and had to pay more for shipping than the actual t-shirt cost. I work for a major fashion retailer and online has been quite successful for us although many of our customers would prefer to get us to transfer something in (argh!) then go and buy it online if we don’t have the size, especially as it means paying for shipping. I think many ‘traditional’ retailers have suffered because of online stores, and international brands coming to Aus mainly because of price. However, I do think people like being able to come in and try stuff on and see it properly in the flesh so to speak.

  14. I love both online and In store shopping,But I do Like to support local shops too,if I try something on in a shop and I like it I will buy it there and then,But if it say something we sell here but is way cheaper in the US I may have a troll online and see how the price compares,I haven’t actually bought anything yet ,BUT I tried a Guess watch on in Prouds and I was only looking and came home and had a little Google search and guess what a watch that retails here for $500 is $163 on the online Guess store,but like I said I haven’t actually purchased it yet,The price difference is huge so I may well buy it online.I do a lot of sales shopping online eg brands exculsives,ozsale,Seed online etc etc ,because you do get a much better price than you would if you bought it from a physical store,take for instance my new taupe wedges,They were $160 down to $40 and all leather and not too high and are Effegie brand ( not sure if shops sell them )just got them as minute ago and they are beautiful so you can’t fault those sales,I am sitting on the fence on this one ,I support both online and in store shops as long as you get the help you need to make a purchase,a couple of weeks ago I was in Katies and one of the buyers was there in the store and she kept pointing out tops for me and sort of made me try them on,and because she was cool and very helpful and honest I bought the top we decided suited the best ,she also said I had nice legs and arms lol But i am happy with the top a lot of online stores models are 6ft4 and skinny so you really can’t judge how it will look on you,so both for me!

      1. Thank-you Nikki ,Yes It is one thing I am good at,maybe my previous life in Fashion has helped,and I’m glad you enjoy hearing about what I buy that makes me happy to hear x

  15. I think the key is that whilst our retail assistants are paid a higher wage, they provide a much lesser service. The service I received in the States was above and beyond what I have ever received here (small owner operated boutiques aside). The best example of this I saw was a large chain retailer giving us a 20% discount because their credit card facility was down, and realising that as we were tourists we couldn’t/wouldn’t come back later…or we would just go to another of their stores. The 20% was to encourage us to get the cash from the ATM around the corner and then make the purchase!

    1. Agree with you there Wendy – we had exception service everywhere in the US. There were always a lot more on the floor of the department stores too. I’ve since learned that sales assistants earn commission on sales, which very much makes up their wages for the week as their regular wage is substantially lower than what Australian workers get paid. Would be great to find a happy medium somewhere.

  16. I love love love online shopping apart from shoes (no can do!) and have done for years for absolutely everything else. I am sick to death of the majority of sales assistances! There I’ve said it. If I go in dressed well and made up they are all over me like a rash because they think I have money and if I slob in on the weekend in jeans with no make up they don’t even look twice at me – sick of the judgement which I don’t get from my own lounge chair.

    1. Shoes is one thing that has been an easy online buy for me … actually scrap that, shoes are an easy BUY for me 😉 And yes, the bad sales assistants do tarnish the rep of the good ones. So much so, I know where the good ones are and that’s who gets my in store money.

  17. I have done this only once, and it wasn’t intentional!! I went into David Jones with my fiance “looking” for a suit for the wedding. We found one which fit like a dream, but it was the last one and we actually didn’t have the cash that week to buy it (had just paid caterers etc..). I was considering getting a DJs store card just to make sure we didn’t miss out as nothing else he had tried on had looked anywhere as nice, and then I thought, “how about I check the brands online store, and if they have plenty in stock, then if we come back next week and this one has sold then it’s not the end of the world”.

    I was only planning on using the online as a back up, then I saw the price.
    It was literally a 3rd, and 3-day delivery was free from the UK (which also meant we didn’t have to then lug the big suit bag around for the rest of the day).

    So yep, I am guilty of the try on and then buy elsewhere, but it that instance can you blame me??

  18. As a full-time working mom with no car, I find it quite difficult to get out to the shops. Many weekends I’d rather spend the time with my family than browse for and try on clothes. I rely on online because it is convenient, and I wish more Australian brands offered a better online experience and discounted shipping options.

    Whereas I support local retail, it is very difficult to justify the extraordinary markup that Australians pay for fashion (I am American). For example, I bought a pair of Hunter wellies from ASOS for $80 that retail at David Jones for $170. That’s an insane difference! When I look at items here that I know cost substantially less online or in other countries, I have a tough time purchasing just for the sake of supporting local businesses. My first priority is to do what is fiscally right for my family, period.

    That’s not to say that I don’t spend money on fashion here. My philosophy is not to fill my wardrobe with bargains, but to selectively buy pieces of good quality that will last for years, not just one season. When I find unique items I love, I have no problem paying the price and revisiting the retailer in the future.

    1. I really love your fashion philosophy – and your family fiscal and time priorities. The mark-up is difficult for us to understand but what I’m learning is that it’s a combo of wages, import duties and distributor fees. Doesn’t make it fair but helps me to better make decisions about my shopping dollar.

  19. The way I shop has changed over the years thanks to the rise of online shops, but honestly I still prefer to try things on first and nothing beats seeing it and walking out of the shop with it. I simply hate waiting for online orders to arrive.
    I’ve noticed that with so many online shops/sites to look at I don’t buy magazines anymore, Pinterest is like having a new magazine everyday!
    I seem to spend lots of time looking and wanting, but when I do shop, I shop at pretty much the same 3 shops, Witchery, Seed and Sussan. I have a “uniform” and I stick to it. I buy online from Seed if I can’t see myself getting to an actual shop anytime soon.

    1. Kelly, you are the epitome of today’s busy woman. And a uniform is a good thing – as is knowing which stores work for you. We don’t have Seed locally so unless I happen to be in a city, they get my business online too.

  20. Not a lot of options in Maleny, unfortunately. I buy in the local stores when I can, or otherwise online. Rarely I will make a trip to stores down the coast or go to some faves when I visit Sydney. Showrooming (the practice of trying it on first then buying it online) is happening everywhere but I don’t think it’s cool. I feel sorry for the store owners.

    1. No, and even on the Coast we don’t have the same as in Brisbane or Sydney (difficult for city people to understand that, I think) but you have lovely interesting places to browse. My kind of in-store shopping! Thanks for the term Showrooming … and no it’s not cool.

  21. Nikki I think you are 100% spot on. I love online shopping – mainly because I work six days a week and it gives me a chance to actually browse rather than race in and out and make impulse decisions on my only day off. I have learnt which shops to buy from and which ones not to and there are some things you just can’t buy online ie. jeans, swimwear unless you know the brand/style well. In saying that, I love looking at the real thing and would much rather buy in store. My biggest problem is the lack of service in some (some is underlined) chain stores – they want you to pay $300 for a dress but can’t even say hello or offer you assistance with sizes or other styles. I think there is a real skill required to work in retail and unfortunately some stores forget that.
    Sports shoes are my biggest issue. A lot of the big retailers have no idea about the products they are selling. I have found an independant store with people who actually run and know about their product – if they are going to be that helpful and knowledgeable – I am prepared to pay for it because I value their input in my buying decision. Even though I know I can save over $100 buying online.

    1. There is definitely a skill required to work in retail, Kelly … the good ones stand out a mile and I get happy thinking about returning to their stores. And I usually buy something when there. And I’m stoked you’ve found success with a sport shoe store. I’m lucky – my husband worked in one while at uni so he’s very handy when helping me find the right shoe for my feet – way better help than what I’ve ever received in store at the big players.

  22. I love boutique shopping and if I find a
    good boutique store which stocks the labels I love, I will support them all the
    way, I would never try on in one and not buy there too. Independent retail shops are subjective though and there are a lot I go
    into which don’t have my taste or just have so much “stuff” in there, I cannot
    even being to enjoy my shopping experience and the mark-ups can be huge. I have
    often seen an item in one store in a more exclusive shopping district, only to
    go and find it at a different independent retailer in another area at a quarter
    of the cost. That is not right either for retailers to do that. The customer
    service is another thing that will make or break a sale for me. If I walk into a store and am not
    acknowledge and asked if I need assistance, if I feel like they don’t want my
    money or care about a sale then I will walk out. I used to work in retail and I
    was trained to greet a customer and assist them within a time frame of them
    walking into the store. I do both kinds of shopping but if it is a label I know
    well who have both stores and online then I will usually buy from their online.
    I love a good boutique crawl though! Maybe it could be an idea that people could suggest independent boutique
    stores, who don’t yet have an online presence, which they love and buy from. I
    move around or if I am there on holidays I would definitely seek them out and I
    would love to share a few I love too.

  23. I would never intentionally try in-store then buy on-line, but I recently fell in love with a pair of shoes, but the retailer did not have my size in the colour I wanted, so I had to buy on-line.
    I have bought some clothing on-line, but can’t say I’ve had much success.Either the style or cut is not quite right, or the quality of the fabric or finish is not what I thought I was buying, so now I pretty much stick to trying and buying in-store.
    My exception is makeup and skincare which I only buy on-line, apart from my cheapy purchases at Priceline.

  24. Oh yes I am so with you on this one! I like a mix of both! I am isolated too and really only get to a big centre 2 times a year- does anyone shop only twice a year. I do have some boutiques here , but you are very much at the mercy of their style choices ( which is very good really!) but the size issue does me in, they only get in one of each size in a style so that you don’t see yourself walking towards you in the street! But Elwectrical – Absolutely all local, the afterservice from our Harvey norman is outstanding. I do my research and then get them to order in exactly what I want. My whitegoods are pretty high end and not standard in stores- they often even get a better price for me than online!
    I am very concerned about the future of retail though. I would never in a pink fit go into a store and try on then source cheaper elsewhere. maybe I would buy at the same price from their online but if they have given me the service then they get my dollar. Recently I think I confirmed my ideas on this when I bought a pretty top notch camera in store rather than saving quite possibly thousands online. I liked the guy salesman who had excellent knowledge, spent over an hour with me going through the differences between models and was very gracious when I walked away from the deal 3 months previously. But I went back to him when I had saved a bit more and got absolutely all that I wanted. And I am going back to him again next week to spent a few more thousand on extra lenses and stuff!

  25. This is an interesting discussion Nikki. I do quite a bit of shopping online both here and overseas, more so now that I’m a new mum. I don’t do my research in store and then buy online overseas and I try to support local businesses where possible. I realise the enormous value of the Australian retail sector to our economy. However I do have some concerns about Australian retailers online and in store.
    When shopping in store, especially at some of the bigger retailers who like to complain about online shopping, I could be forgiven for thinking I’m a nuisance as a potential customer or forced to search high and low to seek assistance. If I’m going to receive zero customer service i would prefer to spend my money elsewhere.
    Secondly the high cost of shipping charged by Australian retailers online can be frustrating, I tried to buy a fold up umbrella, the size you can pop in your handbag from a well known australian retailer this week for a sale price of $28 with a shipping cost of $14.95. I chose not to proceed with the sale.
    And my final comment is that after shopping overseas while on holiday, especially the US, it can be disheartening sometimes to pay up to twice the price for the same item in Australia.

    1. I hear you on all of the above Katie. As you know I’ve experienced the service and prices in the US … which I think is driven by commission-based lower wages than our retail. But wage disparity or not, if you’re employed as a sales assistant, I’d like you to help me if I’m in store. My favourite independents do this really well, even buying for key loyal customers a season ahead. Re, the postage … I really don’t get why there is a postage charge at all if it’s a chain store which already has a bricks and mortar operation. You don’t pay a “handling” charge if you shop in store!

  26. I tend to window shop online, and then buy in store. I don’t like buying clothes on line being excited about them arriving only to find they don’t fit. Most online stores have great return policies but then I have to get to the post office etc etc… So I do my research, then go I store. I have a really narrow foot so always need to try on shoes, have big boobs, so like to try on tops to work out the right size for me… But For some things though you can get away without trying on. I guess it just depends on the item you are looking for. I think there is room for both.

    1. Definitely room for both and I’m a big online “researcher” both for my job here plus also personal. Knowing the things that you can confidently buy online is a big help, yes, for sure Vicky. Also knowing a brand’s sizing really well helps too.

  27. Oh and another thing – I recently won a voucher for a pair of jeans from Jeanswest (via Mamamia). Iwent to the store, tried some on. They fit everywhere but in the legs – Im so short! The sales assistant told me they sell long legged jeans in store but for short and even REGULAR lenghth jeans they or the customer needs to purchase them online! So I couldn’t try the short legged jeans on, settled for regular legs and when they arrived I realised I could have bought the short length. This online system made the purchase tricky.

    1. I think trying in store and then buying online at the same store is ok – unless independently franchised, then the $ all going the same way but yes aware of this with Jeanswest. I think the only way it’s viable for them to stock shorter leg length is via online because it’s a bigger market than an individual store.

      1. Jeanswest are the only place my 6’7, 18 year old son can buy jeans locally in Ballarat. He tries instore then they order them in from the factory unhemmed and have them tailored with a tiny hem. Great service here.

  28. I agree with what you and your readers write Nikki, it’s a murky area. I used to try things on in store, and maybe buy them online if I found them cheaper, but now I know my size so well I simply buy online without trying anything on. I love store shopping too – it is instant gratification. But sometimes bad service. Recently I’ve bough more online, because it’s convenient and My workplace has moved away from the shops.
    The retail space is changing and so many of the indie bricks and mortar stores we love to support are doing business online too, or even solely online. Two friends have online fashion businesses (St Frock, Red Phoenix Emporium) and because I don’t live in the cities they’re in, online is the way I can support them.
    I wish online shopping was more prevalent when I grew up near a regional city – there was really only Westco for trendy clothes!! Hah!

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