online shopping experience #1

I am obsessed with online window shopping. While I typically don’t step into more than five different stores in the mall, I regularly check at least 10 online shopping sites for deals. I’ve even gone as far to bookmark certain sites I read about in Lucky Magazine and elsewhere.  But I very rarely pull the trigger. I don’t know why I spend such an inordinate amount of time coveting items in cyberspace without buying anything, but I’ll chalk it up to the increased likelihood of buyer’s remorse over something I haven’t been able to try on, the hassle of having to ship an item I don’t want back to the store and, maybe, there’s a little part of my brain that is trying to keep my budget in check (or else that’s Tim’s voice). But mostly it’s the wait, oh, how I hate the wait.

I’ve already mentioned my wardrobe anxieties related to my upcoming trip to Paris. It occurred to me that this would be a perfect time to actually bite the bullet and sample some online wares, then share my shopping experiences with the 10s of people out there reading my blog. And it just so happens a package arrived today from …

Piperlime

This isn’t my first experience with this online boutique owned by Gap Inc. I am a Banana Republic cardholder so I first came to Piperlime through BR’s site. I like that all the same cardholder benefits apply — free shipping, the ability to earn points on the purchases and use rewards certificates for more savings — and that I can shop all Gap sites (Gap, BR, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta) at once and place one big order. Talk about streamlined shopping.

The entire Piperlime shopping experience is pleasant and easy.
Site design: The site is modern, clean and easy to navigate. 

Selection: Pretty insane. I could spend hours just looking at the shoes. I particularly like that items are sorted into editorial categories like “Girl on a Budget”. And though I’m not a bohemian chic waif who likes to wear big hats and even bigger heels, I have to admit I do feel pretty cool when I click on an item I like and see the “Rachel Zoe Pick” tagline. Yeah, I could totally be a celebrity stylist.

Piperlime offers a wide array of apparel, shoes and accessories in a range of price points. While the site probably trends overall toward the higher-dollar, there are frequent sale opportunities to find some decent deals.

Feedback: The extensive user reviews make this site incredibly user-friendly. Because you can’t try things on before you buy them, it’s helpful to have a few opinions to help steer your purchase decisions.

Shipping: My main beef about the site is true of most online shops: the standard shipping times. I placed my order on Jan. 23, got an email notification that my items had shipped on Jan. 25 and just received my items today (Jan. 31). Eight days is a long time to wait for new clothes.

Packaging: I know this will sound foolish, but this is one of my favorite parts of shopping at Piperlime. I am always excited to open the white box lined with an adorable green and white lime pattern. And the tongue-in-cheek thank-you card is the perfect feminine final touch. It really is all in the details.

Returns: The return policy couldn’t be easier — stick the items back in the box they came in, slap the return shipping label on the box and mark the correct return code on the receipt, tape it up and drop it off at your nearest UPS. As simple as driving back to Scottsdale Fashion Square after you realize the pants that looked great on you in the store mirror make you like a “sausage in its casing” — to quote my friend Jennifer — at home.

My most recent purchase included the first clothing I’ve bought from Piperlime. I bought two reasonably priced sweaters and a pair of beautiful but cheap black strappy sandals. The shoes are going back (too cheap), but I achieved success with the sweaters; both will make an excellent addition to my spring (and Paris) wardrobe. I am particularly pleased with a cream oversized sweater from Hive & Honey that will look adorable with skinny jeans or a mini.  In fact, I’m really smitten with the whole Hive & Honey brand of reasonably priced clothes, shoes and jewelry. This brand, alone, is enough for me to continue to shop at Piperlime.

I expect to shop Piperlime regularly in the future, and will likely venture deeper into their clothing and accessories options. When it comes to shoes, though, they will continue to face steep competition from Endless.com, the home of the free overnight shipping, and the subject of my next shopping post …

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