I remember a time when your only fashion options were local shops, home-made clothes or going interstate or overseas for your unique and perfect fashionable item.Today, a click of the mouse or a flick of your finger across the screen and the whole world opens up to you. Provided they ship to your country, you can buy from anywhere.From my personal research, experience and feedback from business and professional women over 40, here is my guide to the best features I have found on savvy internet fashion sites. No one site so far has all the features.Making It a Safe and Special Place to Enter1. How to Use the Website Guide A savvy internet fashion site has a How to Find your Perfect Dress Guide with illustrations and simple descriptions. A good one uses body part descriptions rather than making you work out your figure shape.2. Being Able to Set up Your ProfileThis saves you time by narrowing down your search for clothes.3.
Common Concerns These are quick links to special styles or new season looks that might appeal to you like cosy and chic, little black dress, travellers or slimming styles.4. Best SellersWe women always like to know what is popular as we may want it too. Best sellers can be best bargain buys as well as most popular.5. Web ExclusivesSome fashion sites add a more upmarket line of clothes or tell you when you click on an item that it is exclusive to their website. This lifts them from the ordinary to the extraordinary.6. Styling AdviceA number of websites have live chats with their stylist. Some have a selection of styled outfits that you can peruse and then click to see all the items from that outfit on one page. A great addition is a feature called Styling Tips by Brand which tells you the personality and lifestyle essence of each of the brands that the website offers.Is This Item for Me?7. Accurate SizingMost fashion websites have general sizing guides and international conversions. When labels create their own sizing, it would be helpful if the website stated whether your item is from a smaller, larger or a normal-sized label. Sometimes you can find this information in the buyer reviews.8. Full DescriptionThe more information they give you the better, including length in centimetres or inches. Savvy ones include washing instructions.9. 360 Degree ViewThe best websites give you 360 degree rotation video as well as front and back zooming. Some do a side view. The more angles the site offers you, the more comfortable and confident you will feel about your purchase.10.
How to Wear ItThis is specific styling advice rather than general information. When you click on an item, you are shown one or more ways to wear it. A view with accessories or styling tips gives you ideas on how you can add it to your current wardrobe items.11. If Not This, Maybe ThatSavvy sites show you similar styles as an alternative or an additional purchase. It is like a salesperson with your best interests at heart but no pressure to buy.12 ReviewsGood websites make space for customer reviews. Read them, especially reviewers who describe the fit, size and quality. Savvy websites reply to review comments. The replies I have seen are standardised and I feel that more personal ones would make you feel more valued. Some sites allow reviewers to add their age bracket, body type, shopping frequency and location.13. Acknowledging ReviewersThe savviest websites encourages women to be reviewers. They build a loyal tribe by indicating Top Reviewers on the item page as well as having a Meet Our Top Reviewers page.Delivery and After Sales Service14. Value for MoneyWe all want quality items and we know we must pay for that. If the fashion item look good and the price is right, delivery time and shipping costs are the tipping points. Make them reasonable and we will buy, especially from another country.15. Surprise MeA little extra here adds the personal touch. Some sites wrap it in special, non-branded paper. I was sent a personalised card with one of my internet fashion purchases. OK, it may have been computer-generated but it looks personal. Savvy websites surprise and acknowledge you.16. Ease of ReturnThis is important. It must be easy to return and t no cost to you. Prompt refund of payment is also essential.Last WordsWomen over 40 are computer-literate. We are looking for well-made, modern, stylish clothes and we do compare sites and stores. Make internet shopping safe and easy to use and make us feel a bit special and we will spread the word and return time and time again. Check out these three fashion websites to see some of the above features in action - the American site, Chicos and the Australian sites, Birds Nest and Ezibuy.