Remember when you had to drive to Buffalo to shop the US stores? Or when you had to fight for a parking spot to shop? Yeah, we waved goodbye to those days a decade ago. Now, we’ve got the world’s fashions right at our fingertips. No more battling the roads to buy the best when we can just shop online.

10 Smart Online Shopping Tips You'll Never ForgetWhat? You’re not an online shopper? Time to get with the program because online shopping is just getting more and more popular—and easy. Even if you’ve had a few bad experiences, you can still do this. In fact, you can become an online shopping master in no time. First rule to keep in  mind: Just like your grocery list, smart online shopping takes just the right amount of prep.

Here are some really smart tips you’ve never thought of that will make your online shopping experience simple and successful. We promise.


1. Shop from a list.

Cleanse your closet and create a list of pieces you need and pieces you have enough of (black T-shirts anyone?). Impulse buys are way too easy to do online. If you don’t have time for a full-out closet cleanse, think about what you have enough of and any situations that you may not be prepared for.

2. Google the item you are looking for and add “Canada” at the end of it.

If you can source the piece in Canada, it will save you an incredible amount in shipping and duties. Also, some stores like Marks & Spencers have Canadian sites that differ from their other international ones, so it’s important to check.

3. Only buy brands you have tried on in real life.

Either try brands yourself or talk to friends to see if they have purchased them Otherwise, be prepared to spend a little money to learn an important lesson on the difference in fit and fabrics.

4. Consult size charts.

Don’t assume that because you are a 4 at Banana Republic, you are a 4 everywhere. Take a look at the measurements offered online and then get your measuring tape out to see how you measure up. If you still aren’t sure which size to buy, email the company or post on their social media to ask about the fit.

5. Look at the shipping and return policies.

It may seem obvious, but it is good to know whether the duties are included or if there are free returns. I usually add 25% for duties so I am not shocked when they appear at my doorstep.

6. Check fabric compositions.

Is it hand wash or dry clean only? In other words, is this a piece you don’t mind continually investing in? Compare the fabrics with pieces you love and wear before you make a decision.

7. Check for coupons.

Did you know there are coupons you can find that will save you cash with a keystroke? Do this and you’ll save so much money! I never hit a checkout without checking out first or at least googling “coupon code for ____”.

8. Price match.

Do a quick google search of the item and see what price other sites are selling it for. Visiting a site like ShopStyle is a great way to see what the same piece will cost across a variety of stores.

9. Start a new email just for stores or sign ups.

If you take this step, shop emails won’t crowd your inbox, but you are able to take advantage of them when needed. I have 300,000 unchecked emails on my “shopping only” gmail account, but because I only check it when I need it, it’s all good. Check it before you shop to ensure you’re getting them the best deals.

10. Want to sleep on it? Too expensive? Start a wish list and monitor the item there.

Pin the piece, put it on the site’s wish list or keep track of them on a site like

Happy Shopping!

About the author

Suzanne Colmer

Suzanne Colmer is the Owner and Creator of Your Shop Girl Image Consulting. She has been featured on CBC radio, in the National Post and The Toronto Star. She specializes in teaching women and men how to love their clothes and dress for everyday life.

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