Online shopping: a New Zealand perspective

Since I got my first and only credit card back in 2007 (I still have the same one, although obviously not the exact same physical card as I’ve been through a couple of expiry dates, but the same account nonetheless) I’ve made many big purchases online. Mostly things like hotel reservations, flights, concert tickets.

When it comes to buying physical goods online, I stick to smaller items. Guitar strings and contact lenses are SO much cheaper online than in shops. I bought my voice recorder and phone recording adapter online. I’ve bought a handful of clothes online, which is okay when you stick to a label you know and where you’re familiar with their sizing. I even played it risky and bought a bass amp online once (a trusted brand, of course).

My Pretty Pennies recently had a bad experience buying clothes online, which actually inspired this post. See, I recently made my biggest ever purchase of physical goods online. T bought aftermarket full fairings for his bike (which he’s been working on), which cost not far off $1000. They arrived safely, are the right colour, shape and fit, and allowed for an all-round sigh of relief (although for some reason they packaged and sent one lot of bolts separately. Bizarre).

To date, my only real damp squib remains picking up a genuine leather jacket off TradeMe that was never, ever going to fit me.

We suffer from high prices and lack of choice here (on a related note, see Vanessa’s guest post on the headache that is shopping in Canada) though NZ Post has a new service, YouShop, that lets NZ shoppers buy items from US online stores to be delivered to a US address, and then on to their NZ address (circumventing policies that exclude NZ delivery, or impose high shipping charges). So it’s no surprise that online shopping is serious biz.

That said, I’m definitely cautious about buying things off the internet, a fear that rises in proportion with the amount at stake.
Here’s what I take into consideration.

Is it a commodity? If so, it’s probably cheaper online. Books, CDs, etc.

Can I check it out in person first, somehow? I bought my glasses online, but only after I was able to try the exact same pair on in a retail shop. That  was uber important to me because I have a ridiculously wide head and flat nose/face, which means very few frames fit properly. After that, by all means buy the exact same item online at a major discount.

What about shipping? Shipping costs can kill a bargain. Apparently everyone loves Asos thanks to its free freight around the world. I’m keeping that in mind for the future (when I’m off my shopping ban), but not knowing anything about their sizing, I’d be wary.

What do you buy online?

11 thoughts on “Online shopping: a New Zealand perspective

  • Reply Kerry @ Frugal City Girl November 6, 2012 at 20:53

    Aah, I agree about buying commodities and such online, I really have a kind of moral problem with trying stuff on in the shop and then buying it somewhere else online. The way I see it, the shop is providing you a service to help you decide which of their goods you’d like, and you’re basically stealing that by going in knowing that you’re not going to buy anything there. It’s one thing to try on things and then decide not to buy them altogether – that’s what trying things on is for – but it’s different to consciously go in intending to take advantage of the store.

    • Reply eemusings November 6, 2012 at 21:47

      Interesting. I don’t have any such scruples – and I don’t think of it as taking advantage, personally. (In the case of the glasses, I wandered in randomly and tried them on, to my memory, but I would never have paid the store price. Luckily, I found the same pair online. But I wouldn’t have a problem consciously doing the same thing from the start.)

      I just read a piece on this topic right after today’s post actually, which is salient: http://blog.firebrandtalent.com/2012/11/are-brands-still-judged-by-the-company-they-keep/

      “Are we fast approaching the reality where the high street store will be no more than a brand statement while consumers will use smart phones to secure what they want at the keenest price?”

  • Reply Elle November 7, 2012 at 00:36

    When I lived in NZ, it was CRAZY how expensive everything was. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t buy a lot of things online. I have never bought clothes online, ever. But I have just opened my first ever online store and it is super interesting to see how people shop online. Love Elle, from skylarkingnanny.blogspot.com

  • Reply mochiandmacarons November 7, 2012 at 02:37

    In the US, everything. It was free shipping and returns. Made buying a lot easier!!!

    In Canada, contact lenses, SOME clothing and as seen on TV stuff after I’ve researched my eyeballs out and that is about it.

  • Reply Kara E November 7, 2012 at 03:29

    I usually buy books and other commodities online as well. I’m always worried about clothes fitting properly if I buy them online unless it’s a brand I know will fit me. I never thought to go and try frames on at local retailers and then ordering them online! I have a weird face too, lol.

  • Reply Mo' Money Mo' Houses (@momoneymohouses) November 7, 2012 at 09:46

    I love online shopping for the variety of different brands, and because sometimes I’m just lazy and don’ty want to leave my house, but sometimes the duty and shipping charges just make it not worth it. But there are some pretty good online shopping sites in Canada, you just have to be patient to get free shipping, or just suck it up and pay the duty charges from the US.

  • Reply Budget & the Beach November 7, 2012 at 14:44

    I buy random stuff but rarely do I buy clothes, because I usually like to try them on in person. I’m lazy about returning stuff that doesn’t fit right.

  • Reply The Asian Pear November 8, 2012 at 16:23

    I buy CDs, DVDs, books and games. And that’s about it. I don’t buy clothes because I like to try it on first. Same goes with buying almost anything. And then things I want I need to pay shipping which I abhor so I end up buying something else that will do the trick.

  • Reply mochiandmacarons November 11, 2012 at 12:20

    I only buy things I can’t find in store, and e-books and music (electronic).

    Otherwise, I buy everything in store. Unless there are free shipping/returns both ways, but that was only in the US. I’m back in Canada now.

  • Reply The Money Mail Carnival – Second Edition November 11, 2012 at 23:29

    […] EEMusings  @ NZ Muse writes: Shopping online isn’t always such a good deal when you live outside the US.. See post Online shopping: a New Zealand perspective. […]

  • Reply Link love (Powered by mochachinos and Coldplay) | NZ Muse November 12, 2012 at 13:00

    […] Finally, thanks to Femme Frugality, who hosted the latest Lifestyle Carnival, including my review of The Conservatory at Wynyard Quarter, and new carnival The Money Mail, complete with my ramblings on online shopping in New Zealand. […]

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