01.Are you being served?
The appeal of being able to shop online 24/7 is undeniable, and more and more of us are turning to online stores for both large and small purchases - Australians spent $13.5 billion online in the last year alone, and experts predict this sector will continue to grow.
But what about customer service? This is what traditional bricks and mortar retailers tout as their strong selling point compared with online. So we went shoe shopping to check out how some of the main players in the online arena compare when it comes to a happy and fruitful shopping experience.
We bought shoes from the following e-tailers:
How we shopped
CHOICE chose to order shoes for this exercise because, unlike electronics or books, they’re hard to assess without seeing them - and, more importantly, trying them on. You're also likely to have a more involved interaction with the retailer you’ve purchased them from, as you’ll need a lot of information before purchasing; there's also a strong possibility you'll need to return them or exchange them for another size.
We selected eight large retailers that sell shoes as part of their offering, choosing a mix of online-only retailers as well as traditional bricks and mortar stores offering an online option, and a couple of UK players too.
Ready, set, ship!
We placed all eight orders at the same time and recorded when the packages arrived in the office. Here are the results:
Does the shoe fit?
Our shopper chose her shoes using the information provided by each site, or where there was no information provided, using her own shoes as a guide. Of the shoes ordered, only the sports shoes and those from The Iconic fit properly. The other were too small or too big.
When it comes to buying shoes online, look for a retailer that offers free delivery and easy returns, and consider ordering a couple of sizes to try on if returns are free.