Dear QUE,

There is no better way of saying this so I’m just going to come out with it – I am afraid of shopping online. I know, I know, how can someone say such an incredulous thing in this day and age. I don’t consider myself to be a technophobe. In fact, a large part of my everyday lifestyle depends on it – from shopping for groceries online to accessing media. But my experience with online shopping hasn’t been as pleasant. For starters, I have been a victim of the most common problem. Things look different online than when I receive my order.  The colours and the fit always look so different. Then there is the hassle of returning or exchanging. I have to wait for the delivery person to show up and pick up the item, then wait for the exchanged item to arrive. All this has made me extremely skeptical of shopping online even though I enjoy the convenience of shopping from my smartphone or laptop. Please tell me there is a better way to shop online?
– Skeptical Shopper

Dear Skeptical Shopper,

As chronic online shoppers ourselves, we understand your dilemma. At some point, we have all faced the same issues. The onscreen versus real life disappointment is enough to turn the most optimistic of us away from shopping online. What looks great on screen can be deceptive, and dealing with the sheer disappointment of receiving your package can suck the joy out of shopping. Then there is the hassle of return/exchange which can either cause to much stress or mean that you give up and call it a bad investment.

But here’s the thing – online shopping is evolving with time and our requirements. Brick-and-mortar stores are now supporting the world of online shopping to create a seamless ‘Phygital’ experience. Here are some cool new features that will restore your faith in online shopping again.

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CLiQ&PiQ

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SHOP

If you really don’t have the time and patience to hit your closest mall, then this feature will have you squealing with joy. You can shop for your favourite brand and add your picks to your cart. Then while you are completing the checkout process, opt for the CLiQ & PiQ feature. Your order will be processed and your parcel will be packed and waiting to be picked up right at the store closest to you. Talk about instant gratification, right? Take your lunch off or pick up your shopping while you are on your way back home from work.

Shipped From Store

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SHOP

Another new feature that has made shopping online super fun is this concept. When you place an order, your nearest store gets a notification and they can help process it ASAP. What does this mean to you? Expect your package to reach you straight from the brand store, and sooner than you are used to.

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Return And Exchange

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SHOP

One of the biggest problems of shopping online has been the discrepancies in sizing or fit. The return or exchange process can be drudgery. The scheduling, co-ordination for the pick-up, wait for the exchanged item or refund is taxing and time consuming. This is enough to make you undertake the laborious task of dragging yourself to the store to do your shopping. Not a pleasant experience if you don’t like crowds and long lines to the fitting rooms and billing counters. But the latest development shows promise. Some popular brands – including Westside, Globus, Aldo and Fossil – now let you return the products straight to the store and you can exchange the items there as well. This way you can check if the material and size suits your requirement.

Try these features out, Skeptical Shopper and give online shopping another try. Who knows, maybe you will find your faith restored and even enjoy the experience.

Image courtesy Shutterstock.com

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