by Rebecca Lee
With the humble days of letter writing behind us, online shopping is keeping Australia Post in business! The world has become a lot smaller with many of the UK and USA’s once coveted brands now available to us with the touch of a button. Once you place your order (at a time convenient to you) and wait, wait, wait, there is nothing like the thrill of the delivery vehicle pulling up in the drive and tearing open that package to reveal some new clothing or homewares.
With most of Australia’s big brands now online, we have compiled a list of trusted sites to get you started. A large investment of time (and $$ ;)) has gone into the research of this story so we hope it’s appreciated!
For the whole family:
About: Next is a UK company that ships to 72 countries worldwide. They have a huge range of regularly updated collections from casual to cocktail and everything in between for adults and kids- including nursing and maternity, tall and petite sizes, shoes, belts and other accessories. Most of their products are private label but they do carry some brands, especially in footwear. A common complaint of mums of boys is that there is a lack of variety- I personally LOVE the boyswear. They have a great range of colours, styles and at a great price.
Postage: As far as logistics go, they have it down to a fine art. Your package will be received within 5 working days and is trackable at every step along the way. Postage is free over $35.
Returns: A breeze. You post the package to their warehouse in Alexandria and a refund will land in your account soon after.
Quality: Brilliant. It’s designer quality at Target prices.
Tip: If you order via Paypal and need to return items, Paypal will refund you the cost of postage!
Marks and Spencer: The traditional English favourite. Beginning as a market stall, M&S have been part of the British high street since 1904. Their range covers the whole family and the home. M&S are particularly well known for their high quality and comfortable underwear. British expats breathed a sigh of relief when M&S launched their dedicated Australian website.
Biden: “The new British”. They carry simple and sophisticated fashions for Women, Men and Kids. Their jackets and raincoats, whilst pricey are well worth the investment for their quality.
Fashion for She and Him:
About: Their motto is ‘for everything but the girl’. Birdsnest has over 250 suppliers that bring you the most desirable and affordable names in Australian fashion and accessories including JAG, Sacha Drake, Wish, Boom Shankar and Metalicus. Their site is designed for “intelligent, resourceful and fashion conscious women” and they focus on style, rather than age.
Postage: Free express post, tracked delivery on all orders over $200. For orders under $200, orders are express posted for $7.95.
Returns: All orders link to a personalised “Me” page. From this page, you can choose which item/s you would like to return and choose for your return to be processed as a refund, an exchange or a credit note. You then have the option of printing a $7.95 pre-paid postage label to attach to the parcel you’re returning. Orders can be returned within 365 days of purchase. The pre-paid label is free the first time you use it!
Quality: Loads of big brand names of varying quality. Most are great.
Tip: The website has loads of ready styled outfits and solutions to cater to various occasions and body types.
About: To this day I have no idea how to pronounce this business’ name, but when it comes to men’s shirts- these guys are the business. If the man in your life wears business shirts daily, “CT Shirts” have suits, business and casual shirts and ties in every colour of the rainbow.
Postage: Standard: $12.95 delivered within 12 business days, Express $25.95 delivered within 5-7 business days.
Returns: Easier than returning to a local store! CT uses ParcelPoint, which means returns are FREE and TRACKABLE! Just look at all the ones in our area!
Quality: Excellent wash and wear. Shirts don’t lose shape and iron brilliantly. Some are non-iron and I have no qualms saying they’re my favourite!
Tip: If you buy a magazine, keep an eye out for the CT leaflet that might be inside. They usually have some excellent savings on shirts and postage.
Little Party Dress: A one-stop shop to pick up stylish and affordable party dresses for sizes 6-18. Most items are under $150. Some patterns come in a range of styles so you could even dress a bridal party!
The ICONIC: There is no faster way to have a new outfit at your door in time for dinner! Delivery in 3-4 HOURS if ordered between 7am and 5pm Monday to Friday, or delivery between 6pm and 10pm Monday- Friday when ordered before 4pm.
ASOS: An online shoppers dream. Ranges to suit every body shape and event, super affordable and shipped fast. Their returns process is second to none- for $5 they will send a courier to pick the parcel up from your desk or door!
ModCloth: For the retro lovers!
Feather and Noise: Gorgeous fashions for ladies, only available online.
J Crew: With flat rate shipping and FREE returns, men in particular love J Crew’s cashmere, denim and knits.
About: Created by an Aussie mum who knows what it’s like to drag the kids through the shopping centre in search of a high quality item at an affordable price. OSFK carries clothing, accessories, baby items and decor at heavy discounts.
Postage: The standard delivery charge for all orders within Australia is $7.00, regardless of size and weight. Delivery is FREE over $150.
Returns: Refund or exchange within 30 days of original purchase.
Quality: Brands are all reputable and recognisable retail brands.
Tip: While you’re on the website, check out their house brand Minifin Baby and Kidswear.
Lila and Huxley: a Sydney local store that has become an online destination for beautifully curated unique children’s wear
Oobi: Oobi donates a piece of ‘Oobi Magic’ – baby clothes, girls’ dresses and gifts to a child in need for every garment sold. My only complaint is that they don’t do boyswear!
Melijoe: For something truly special, Melijoe brings together the latest designer fashions for baby, girl and boy.
Books, Gifts and the Home
About: This is a great one for gift buying for any occasion. Hardtofind brings together smaller online stores into one giant gift shop.
Postage: Free shipping Australia wide. As items are coming from individual stores, shipping times may vary but are displayed at time of purchase
Returns: You can return or exchange any item, for any reason, within 30 days of receipt.
Quality: Loads of big brand names of varying quality. Most are great.
Tip: As the range of products is so broad, you can knock over pretty much all the Christmas shopping in one go!
Zanui: Australia’s online destination for furniture and homewares. Zane is part of the Rocket Internet GmBh – the world’s largest online start-up incubator, which also owns THE ICONIC so you know the service is reliable.
Etsy: Think back to when you had the time to scour markets for unique handmade and vintage items. Be careful not to fall down the rabbit hole!
Book Depository: With over 17 million titles, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for- and free shipping to Australia! Despatch times can vary and be a little slow at times so give yourself plenty of time.
Tips and Tricks
Navigating online shopping can be a bit tricky if you haven’t done it before, so here are some hot tips to get you started!
- Have your measurements taken buy a seamstress or tailor for accurate size ordering
- Before buying check the currency that you will be charged in and whether your bank charges fees for currency conversion
- If you haven’t got a pay pal account, it’s a good idea to get one (its free). PayPal has additional security measures to keep your bank and credit card details safe from hackers
- Keep an eye out for sales when the overseas stores are changing seasons or when they have special events, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the weekdays that book end Thanksgiving
- Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time for delivery in the lead up to Christmas. If a store doesn’t advertise their Christmas delivery cut off time, email them and ask
- If you plan to buy sheets and bedding, ensure you work out the sheet size Australian to UK and US conversion