How to shop online for brand name clothes and items

Online shopping for brand name items is good for two reasons: (1) you can potentially save heaps of money and (2) you get access to brands that don’t even sell in Australia.

Here are four different situations that you may face when you shop online. I’ve given you some tips on how to approach them.

Whether you’re in Australia or from elsewhere in the world, the things I talk about below will apply to you in the same way.

Situation 1: has Australian online store.
Don’t be fooled. More often than not, Aussie online stores are pricier than their overseas counterparts, so compare prices with the overseas online store before buying.

AU$ more expensive than US$: American Apparel, Apple, Bose, Burberry.
Comparable to US$:  Asos.

Asos has free delivery in Australia. Now you’d feel even less guilty shopping here


Situation 2: overseas online store. Ships to Australia. Can pay in AUD
Consider the shipping costs (otherwise you can use mail redirection services) and whether it is cheaper to pay in AUD or the foreign currency. You may find it cheaper to pay in the foreign currency (but see my final note).

AU$ more expensive than US$: Macy’s, Nordstrom.
Comparable to US$/UK£: American Eagle Outfitters, Book Depository (UK), Revolve Clothing

Revolve Clothing offers free international shipping for orders of over US$100


Situation 3: overseas online store. Ships to Australia. Can’t pay in AUD
In this situation your only variable is the shipping rates. You may find it cheaper to use mail redirection services to get the product home (see below).

Examples: Abercrombie & FitchEvisu (EU), Forever 21, Hollister, Threadless, Topman (UK), Topshop (UK), Urban Outfitters

Topman sells contemporary British wear for guys and sister brand Topshop does the same for the girls


Situation 4: overseas online store. Doesn’t ship to Australia
For these brands, you must use mail redirection services to get the product home (see below).

Examples: Ben Sherman (EU), H&M (UK), Levi’s, Ralph LaurenTommy Hilfiger, UNIQLO (UK)

Some brands may not even let you use an Australian credit card for payment.

UNIQLO’s clothes are available online through its stores in Japan and the UK


Mail redirection/forwarding services
There are several mail redirecting services you can choose from to get your goods home. These services provide you with a local address (US or UK address) where you will ship your goods, and then it will be repacked and sent to Australia.

When using mail redirection, be mindful of the weight and dimensions of any goods you intend to send back. Always check the costs and restrictions first.

Examples: MyUS.com (US), VIAddress (US), ReShip.com (US), ShopUSA (US), Shipito (US), Forward2me (UK)

Don’t forget
If you use your Australian credit card to pay for an amount in a foreign currency, you may be charged foreign exchange and conversion fees which can add another ~4% on top of your purchase amount. Check out the terms and conditions of your card before you pay.

Also, you are better off getting a few friends together for one larger order rather than each paying separately.

Most importantly, have fun! Share with us your online shopping experiences below.

5 responses to “How to shop online for brand name clothes and items

  1. Sometime we can find some cheap and bargain same branded product from oversea market. For example Malaysia sell the cheapest Ipad in the world. It more cheaper than US store.

  2. That’s right, Shamin. Not only do we find cheaper items overseas, but we also don’t have to deal with poor service (particularly here in Australia)!

  3. When you pick a forwarding company, you should choose one that’s located in a state that doesn’t have a sales tax. I use a company called AmForward (http://www.amforward.com), they are in Portland, OR, so you don’t ever pay a sales tax. One think that I like about them that you can choose different shipping methods like USPS, FedEx, UPS. Personally, I prefer USPS because I usually forward small packages and the express carriers are just too expensive for a small package.

  4. Another situation is Australian brands with only Australian stores. You then need to be looking for great prices, amazing service and free shipping where possible. I agree some stores don’t offer great service Benny, but we like to go out of our way whenever possible. Online stores get fewer opportunities to interact with consumers personally, so when something does go wrong, that is when we really like to shine and get it right for the customer!

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