Customer Service and Web Shopping

Do you want to shop for clothes on the Internet but are afraid of getting the wrong size or color? Do you believe you have to try things on before purchasing? In my experience, the key to successful Internet shopping is to utilize customer service representatives. Ask them as many questions as your little heart desires and you can usually get exactly what you want.

For example, once you find an item, you can look at the company’s size chart to verify your size. What do you do if it seems your bust size falls between a medium and a large? My advice is not to take a chance! Get on the phone and call your customer service representative.

On a side note, here are a few words about male customer service representatives. The first few times I tried to order a top and was in between sizes, most of the “guys” were not much help. In fact, at one of my favorite companies, a guy who answered the phone had no idea what a bust or bra size was. To put it bluntly, he was clueless.

If you are calling the customer service department for any questions about “fit,” ask to talk to a woman representative. In my “real” life, I would never give up on men, but sadly, in the world of Internet shopping, I have.

There is another thing to be aware of when looking at size charts. Sometimes at the very bottom of the chart, in very small print, it may say something like, “Numbers are just an approximation” or “Numbers are body measurements, garment size may vary.” When I first came across this situation, I thought, “Well, that’s just great. They give me a size chart and then tell me that it’s not reliable!” So what should you do if you see this written on the size chart? That’s right, you’re catching on … call your customer service representative! They can almost always straighten it out for you.

For the Web shopper, colors can also cause a predicament. For example, perhaps you are looking at a T-shirt in “midnight blue.” When you click on the color swatch, however, the color shows up as a lighter shade than the “midnight blue” in the item photo. Uh-oh! I don’t always call the customer service department right away. One trick I have learned is to go to “Search” and type in the words “midnight blue.” If it is a well-designed site, it should show you all the items available in “midnight blue.” Then you can see if all of the “midnight blues” look the same shade or not. Perhaps the first one you looked at was just a mistake or bad lighting. If you are still unsure, then call your customer service representative.

Sometimes women’s clothing has unusual names for colors. I recently ordered a really cute cropped sweatshirt from a company I like and the color was called “fig.” If they hadn’t shown the color on the site, I would think, “Now, just what is ‘fig?'” Even so, it’s not always clear from Web site photos. In actuality, it was a nice mixture of brown and purple, which works well with my red hair. This example, however, brings me to my point. If you see a color called “basil,” “fog,” “antique coral” or any other unusual name you just can’t decipher, use the 800 number and ask your customer service representative to describe it to you.

Many women find that getting the right fit in pants can be a harrowing experience even if you try them on in the store. Ordering pants online does not have to be as difficult as you might believe. A growing number of companies offer petites, regular and even tall sizes.

Again, if you feel you are in between sizes, call your customer service representative. If the pants you want have stretch in them, such as spandex, you may be advised to go with the smaller size. However, if the pants run small, the representative may suggest you order the larger size. If you are still unsure, order one of each size! Then, you can try them on in the privacy of your own home. If one fits better, send the other back. If you don’t like either one, simply return both of them. Happy shopping.


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