I have a bit of a shopping problem, but due to my busy schedule, my shopping problem has turned into an online shopping problem. Luckily for you, this online shopping problem means that I have ordered from enough places to advise you what the best and worst places to shop online in Canada are.
Let’s be honest here, there are slim pickings when it comes to online shops in Canada compared to the United States. Some places don’t ship to Canada and if they do, they have egregious shipping costs. The worst however are the duties – which are always a surprise and can turn your $30 purchase into a $60 purchase. Lastly, say you don’t like the product, then you have to pay to ship it back and the only get a $30 refund for what you just paid $75 for once you account for shipping and duties – so then you end up keeping something you’ll never wear and just wasted your money on. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL!
Below I round up, from personal experience, the best and worst places to shop online in Canada.
Zara has a great selection of trendy clothes, that fit REAL women, at a great price point. I’ve been doing a lot of shopping at Zara lately due to the ease of their online shopping. They offer free shipping for orders over $50 and free returns! You have the option to return in store or they provide you with a pre paid return shipping label. All you have to do is package the items you don’t want and drop it off at your nearest post offfice. An added bonus is that your order usually comes in within 2-3 days.
I love ASOS for always having the most trendiest clothing, amazing selection, great quality and items at every possible price point. It has so much variety that your eyes will go cross eyed if you try to scour the entire site, which is why their filter options are great. I usually filter by size, price and style. They provide free shipping on orders over $40 and I have to pay duties about 40% of the time. They have a petite line, a tall line and even a great maternity line. I actually bought my baby shower dress from there! On the down side, shipping can take some time. Allow up to a month for your order to come in.
You can buy almost anything you need at The Bay and they often have great flash sales. I recently purchased a Rowenta suitcase set from there at a deep discount during their holiday flash sales and ordered my husband’s Christmas gifts from there as well. My order was in within the week and I never had to leave the comfort of my home and face the holiday shopping madness. The Bay offers free shipping on order over $50 and you can return in store – doesn’t hurt that they have a great return policy. Much like ASOS, the Bay has so much variety that it’s necessary to use the filter options if you’re browsing.
Amazon has been a life saver and bank account drainer. I’m signed up for subscribe and save for items such as diapers, toilet paper and paper towel. I get a package delivered to my door once and month so we never run out. We’ve done our research and Amazon’s subscribe and save options offers the best deal on these items. I highly recommend you sign up to be a Prime Member, as your order comes in the next day and you don’t have to worry about shipping fees. I’ve purhcased everything off Amazon – baby toys, housewares, electronics, you name it!
If you know what you want to buy from Sephora, then there’s no reason why you should ever shop in store. If you’re a VIB ROUGE Member (which I am) you get free shipping regardless of the order amount, otherwise, it’s free shiping for orders over $50. You can select up to 3 samples at check out, your order comes in 2-4 days and if you’re a VIB Rouge or VIB member, you get access to exclusive deals where you can enter a promo code at check out. If you’re not happy with your purchase, you can always return in store, hassle free.
Want My Look became popular by using Instagram influencers, particularly Lily Ghalichi to promote their clothing line. I advise that you tread with caution when buying from Want My Look! I had the worst online shopping experience with Want My Look and will never place an order with them again.
I had been eyeing a particular item for quite some time now and they had a promotion going on where I could get 40% off my entire order; so I went ahead and placed my order. When confirming my order, I got an error. I waited for over 24 hours to see if I’d get a confirmation email, as I didn’t want to re order and get a duplicate order. Nothing came through, so I tried ordering again and got another error at check out. Since I didn’t get a confirmation email last time, I figured this error means that the order isn’t processed and as a result, tried one more time, at which point the order went through.
Despite the order going through, I didn’t get a confirmation email right away. The next day, I received THREE seperate confirmation emails! So the first two orders that I put through that returned back an error actually ended up going through! I immediately contacted their customer support, advising them of the situation and asking if they can cancel two of the three orders. Two days later, I hear nothing from them, so I try calling them, NO ONE PICKS UP! So I emailed again, and then finally 4 days later I get an email saying nothing can be done as the order has already been dispatched!
I ended up receiving the same thing three times and had to pay shipping and duties on each order! I emailed them back asking if they can at least pay for return shipping, considering what happened, and they couldn’t do that either!
Once I came to terms with the fact that Want My Looking is an utter disappointment when it comes to customer service, I decided to at the very least cut my losses and return it for a refund. I figured that, hey, at least I’ll get something back from the two extra items I don’t need. I go online and check their return policy, only to discover that since I used a promo code, they don’t offer returns!!! BIGGEST SCAM EVER!
Want My Look has to date been literally, the WORST online shopping experience ever!
It seems they’ve recently changed their name to Haus Of Ottilia?! The fact they’ve changed their name and the link to their Instagram page from their website is broken should tell you that something shady is definitely going on here. I ordered from Smooch Swimwear a total of three times and the third time was my LAST time. This line claims to be bespoke luxury swimwear where each piece is designed and hand sewn in-house and made in Canada.
My first order was a simple red one piece with the Barbie logo pressed on, while and my second order was a couple of pieces of body jewelry. Neither of these orders included “bespoke” items, as the swimsuit was a simple press on and the second order was likely a resale of body jewelry she sourced from some supplier abroad (most likely China).
My third order was for my best friend’s bachelorette in Vegas – a cutout black bikini, with no embellishments. My best friend also placed an order, as she wanted something white and bridal to wear to the pool party for our “themed event”. At the time of order, the website advised that it can take up to 30 days (now they’ve changed the wording to a minimum of 30 days). Since we both had over 2 months until we departed for our trip, we assumed that we would have plenty of time for our respective orders to come in. Three weeks before our trip, we still haven’t received our items and no notification of shipping. When I followed up with their customer service, I was advised that mine would be sent out that week. I waited for that week to be over and when I didn’t receive a shipment notification, I followed up again. When I followed up again, I was advised that my bikini was being shipped out the next day, which I soon discovered that it wasn’t. I followed up one more time before my trip and got no response. I should note that after my first email, the only way I was able to get any kind of response was when I’d post a comment asking about the status of my order on on our their latest Instagram posts. My comment would be immediately deleted and I’d get a DM telling me to email customer service to which I’d tell them I did and haven’t received a response yet.
My trip came and went, and my order still hadn’t come in. At this point I was beyond frustrated and requested for a refund via email and of course, I got no response. I then started posting comments about my order on their Instagram page, advising that I want a refund until they finally gave me a refund. Needless to say, my best friend had a very similar experience. We were left scrambling last minute for pool party appropriate outfits the week of our trip.
I really didn’t want to have to resort to “Instagram trolling” and even advised them of that in our correspondence. I really wanted to support a local, small business as the pictures of the bikinis I saw were beautiful, but what good are they if you never get them? At this point, my credit card has been charged a sizable amount and I hadn’t received anything in 3 months and enough was enough!
Now, it’s possible that they do have beautiful bikinis and people do end up getting them, but unless you’re a big influencer on Instagram with lots of followers, don’t expect to get your order in a timely manner, or at all. On the bright side, at least I got my money back (but clearly not without a hassle).
I’ve had some bad experiences with other small shops, but from what I can gather, they are no longer around anymore. There was this online sunglasses shop where I finally received my order after 4 months, and when I researched them, it seems I wasn’t the only one that got screwed over.
There was another shop based out of Canada, they would advertise one thing, but what you’d get was something else. They would find bloggers wearing something similar, and the actual item you received was a very bad quality version of it.
The great thing about social media is that it gives a platform for small businesses to get noticed and build a big following, but at the same time, you also risk wasting money on some very bad online stores. I advise you do your research before hand. Research the company for reviews beforehand, or see if you know a friend whose ordered from there before. See if you can contact someone from the company before hand. Although I find that any inquiries that are based on purchasing are answered much more promptly than any inquiries after you’ve placed your order.
Do you have any favourite online shops or horror stories to share? Please share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear what your list of best and worst places to shop online in Canada are!