While the traditional shopping experience of stepping into the brick-and-mortar and being able to try on and peruse has its perks, it’s hard to beat online shopping for the ease and comfort it affords.
By Caitlin Brown
While the traditional shopping experience of stepping into the brick-and-mortar and being able to try on and peruse has its perks, it’s hard to beat online shopping for the ease and comfort it affords. Most are familiar with the larger, more established retailers like Amazon.com, but new and exciting e-commerce sites are popping up, to satisfy our every shopping whim. We’ve chosen a few that stand out for the extra-something they offer.
For the artisan type, Etsy (www.etsy.com) is a must go-to. They offer handcrafted pieces that run the gamut — crocheted made-to-order pieces, beaded jewelry, artwork — just about anything hands can make, is here.
Brika (www.brika.com), newer to the e-commerce world, has taken the Etsy concept one step further. Like Etsy, it offers exclusive craft goods galore — from beautiful paper products to child-friendly treats — but it also provides photos and the interesting backstory of the makers of these wares, giving a more organic quality to the e-shopping experience.
For those with an appetite for things designer and exotic, L-atitude (www.shoplatitude.com) offers goods from far-off destinations, bringing the grand bazaar to us. Expect to see amazing embroidered Mexican blouses, Moroccan furnishings, and Indian beaded scarves, to name a few. Shoppers click on one of the far-off destinations, from Bali to Bogota to Mumbai, and shop without the hefty airfare.
For those with designer tastes who also appreciate a sale, Lyst (www.lyst.com) allows shoppers to save products to a “lyst” and tracks them for you. When something on your lyst is marked down, they will e-mail you with a notification. In addition, it allows you to follow collections, follow the “lysts” of others — style mavens like Rachel Zoe have lysts open for all to peruse.
Feyt (www.feyt.com), another designer clothing site, offers an “add-to-closet” option, so the fashion enthusiast can add the pieces they like to their own, virtual closet by “rating” and “adding” products. Scoring items gives e-commerce teams “intel,” which they use to recommend products, giving customers an almost virtual personal shopper. The carefully curated closets of fashion insiders are regularly featured and are always fun to look at.
The power-fashionistas behind the much buzzed about, ModaOperandi (www.modaoperandi.com) bring the runway as close as it gets, without an invite. Consumers, who are willing to spend a dizzying amount on designer duds, can get them just off the runway at this site. Secure the duds by paying for half the item upfront. The additional 50 percent is expected when the item becomes available. Also, thanks to a large amount of seed money, ModaOperandi has expanded to offer ready-to-wear. If you’re someone who is willing to spend anything on designer clothing and accessories — and most of us aren’t — you might want to pay the Modagirls a visit. You might want to visit anyway, as it’s always fun to look!
For most, the infinite claims made of beauty products — ingredients in them and what they actually do — has us in a tizzy, which is why this newbie to the ecommerce world is so exciting. Beauty Sage (www.beautysage.com) is all about telling the consumer, in lay terms, what a product does and making sure the products they offer really do what their manufacturer’s claim. They have a slew of in-house chemists making sure of it!
For bargain hunters — and really, who isn’t — there are several great sites. But you’ll have to type fast, as items tend to go quickly. Gilt.com (www.gilt.com) offers designer clothing, accessories, jewelry, children’s stuff, home goods, furniture … even gourmet food, and, on it’s sister site, Jetsetter, trips, for up to 65 percent off. Sales go up every day at noon sharp, so if you’re not there right on the nose, it’s very possible the item you want is “sold out.” They do, however offer the option to go on the “waitlist,” and are very good about e-mailing you if the item comes back in stock. While most things are returnable, not all are, so be sure to check before you buy. Belle & Clive (www.belleandclive.com) — Bluefly’s answer to Gilt — is also a great place to find a bargain. The Outnet (www.outnet.com), owned by upscale online retailer Net-a-Porter, is limited to fashion and accessories. All require you to become a member in order to shop their site.