Everything you need to know about online shopping you were too afraid to ask

Online shopping is gaining more and more popularity, with 7.6 million Australians buying one or more products every month online.

But if you missed the boat on online shopping and want to know where to start, we’re here to help. Here’s what you need to know…

How do I know my clothes/shoes/underwear I buy will fit?

The simplest answer is to get properly measured, both males and females. Ensuring you have all your measurements will make sure you get the correct size in line with the retailers sizing guide (which should be available online).

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Checkout/shopping cart

If you’re looking for something specific, simply Google it, or, if you know what online store you want to purchase goods from, head there. Once on the website, you can search for an item, browse and view sales. When you know what you’d like to buy, this is sometimes where people whoa re new to online shopping run into trouble.

Find the ‘add to cart’ button and you’ll see it appear in the right hand corner in a little shopping trolley/basket. You can either keep shopping, or check out. Click on your cart to check out your goods. You may be asked at this point to log in or you may need to sign up. After this, you’ll need to enter your shipping details including name and address.

In the next section, we’ll talk about payment.

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Paying for goods online seems daunting but in actual fact it is completely safe if you use a reputable retailer. Look for a little lock in the URL (address bar of the website) – this means the site is secure and your information is encrypted. You may be given the option to enter your credit card details in a form, or you can use PayPal. PayPal is widely regarded as one of the safest forms of payment in the world, in the real world and online. Plus they have excellent buyer protection meaning if you don’t receive your goods, you can typically get a full refund.

Click and Collect

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Click and Collect is a relatively new concept and is basically as easy as ordering a product from an online retailer, and collecting it in store. For example, you can order groceries from Coles or Woolworths and then pick them up in store (packaged for you ready to go). It saves time and streamlines the process of looking for a product and checking it’s in-store and going into the shop and finding it.


Tracking shipments is very easy online, though if you have any issues or concerns, always refer back to the retailer. Often, Australia Post, TNT and other transit companies cannot provide details into your order without input from the sender. It’s best to be patient and if you’re in a hurry for something, pay that extra cash to have it sent via Express. Also, some delivery companies may require you to assist them with the goods (if they are over a certain weight) so always prepare for another person to be home to assist on the day of delivery. Note: there are still some couriers that require you to be home between 9-5pm on the day of delivery, so again, check this before you go ahead with payment. Most online stores and retailers provide tracking consignment details automatically, but if they don’t, they should have them on file so simply email or call the business.

Tip: Some retailers/online stores say there’s free shipping, but only if you spend a certain amount. Ensure you’ve checked this by going into the FAQs to see if you’re eligible. Also, if you live rurally or on an island, there’s a chance the shop will not ship to you at all. It pays to give them a call if you’re unsure or if the shipping quote is very high or non-existent.

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Refunds and warranties

If you purchase a product from an Australian website, you’re fully protected by the Australian Consumer Law. That essentially means everything it does in store: you are entitled to a refund if your product is faulty, damaged on receipt, or doesn’t do what it says it does. And you can return an item too. Bulky goods such as electronics will have warranty periods stipulated in the paper work. If you have an issue or you’re not happy with your product, the first port of call is the retailer who will advise the next steps.


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Discount codes

If you have a discount code, you can enter it in when you get to the checkout. If you’re a new customer, there’s often discount codes available and you might see them in banners on the site. Otherwise, you can just Google them. When you go through to the checkout, in the payment screen, there should be a field for you to pop in the code. Apply it and it’ll take off a percentage of the cost!

Customer service

If you have any issue with your purchase or questions, it can be handy to have customer service on hand. Plenty of online retailers offer multiple options include a phone number, email address, social media and live chat. Live chat can be the most handy if you’re at work or don’t want to be stuck on hold. Look for it around the bottom of the screen or in the contact us section.

Did this help you and answer all your questions? Do you like to online shop?