I have a confession to make: I’m obsessed with free shipping and free returns. I don’t need an intervention; my obsession, unlike most, is completely rational. (According to me.)
I’ve tried to retrace my footsteps, and by my measure, it all started when I discovered ASOS in 2011. If you’re not familiar, ASOS is a UK-based web emporium full of mostly affordable, trendy clothes. It’s sort of like Zara, if Zara’s selection were bigger and it carried more sizes and brands. I was nervous to try it at first, because the company was still relatively unknown in the US, but the site promised free shipping and free returns on every order, no matter what, all the time, so I figured the risk was minimal.
Not only did I end up loving ASOS (four years later, rarely is there not at least one piece of ASOS clothing on my person at any given time), but I became completely spoiled by the company’s shipping and returns policies. Now I search out the things I want at stores with similar policies if at all possible, and thankfully, many online retailers have realized it’s a great way to entice customers–Net-a-Porter, Shopbop, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, MATCHESFASHION.COM and Barneys all offer the service on US orders. I’ve ordered from all of them.
It takes a rare occasion or great deal to get me to order something from a site that will make me pay to receive or return it, and usually I end up mad at myself for ordering in the first place. To me, it’s not a total dealbreaker, but it has a huge influence on my shopping and buying behavior.
We all have our preferences in online shopping–let’s hear yours in the comments.
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