How-To Shop For Shoes Online

Online shoe stores can be a great resource for a number of reasons. Besides allowing you the convenience of shopping in your PJ’s as you watch TV and scarf down some delicious ice cream, you can discover amazing deals that can save you a lot of money. Most online shoe stores also have much larger selections than retail stores because they give you access to a huge nationwide inventory instead of access to what one local shop has. But the online shopping experience is very different from the retail shopping experience. Just as there are some great advantages, there are different kinds of hurdles to be aware of. These tips will help you clear those hurdles like an Olympic athlete and become an online shopping champion.

  1. Know your correct size. The largest hurdle in shopping for shoes online is that you can’t actually try them on before you buy them. That’s particularly worrisome for shoe shopping because each brand of shoes goes by a different size chart. Before you buy a pair of shoes online, know your correct size for that particular brand.
    • If you already own shoes from that brand, use your current pair’s size as a reference.
    • If you don’t already own shoes from that brand, you should go to a retail shoe store, try on some shoes from that brand, and find a comfortable size and width.
  2. Check out the store’s return policy. Since you can’t try on your shoes beforehand, you should read the store’s return policy carefully. Be on the lookout for:
    • how much time the store allows for returns
    • whether you or the store would pay for return shipping
    • whether the store offers a full refund or store credit only.
  3. Stay safe. Online shopping is subject to thieves and scam artists, just like normal shopping.
    • Make sure the online store you’re shopping with has a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, indicated by a padlock icon in the lower right-hand corner of your browser window when you reach the checkout page.
    • Pay with a PayPal account, which is widely regarded as the most secure way to shop online. If not PayPal, use a credit card instead of a debit card because a hacker who obtains access to your debit card can clean out your whole bank account.
    • Do not give out more information than you need to. An online store should usually only ask for your name, billing info, shipping info, and an email address. Avoid revealing your phone number, if possible. DO NOT reveal your Social Security Number (SSN).
  4. Choose a reputable store with a professional look. As a general rule of thumb, stores with a clean, polished website and a history of good service are more likely to provide a happy shopping experience (otherwise, they probably would’ve gone out of business long ago). Avoid links from emails as email is the most common method of stealing information.
  5. Research shoes online. A great thing about shopping online is that you can usually find reviews of shoes and avoid any immediate red flags in terms of quality. Buzzillions is an excellent resource for reviews on all different types of shoes.
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