I love shopping, and with the internet, I can shop whenever I want, even in my pajamas! Many national retailers have now embraced online shopping and offer great incentives, such as free shipping or special online only discounts. Most larger U.S. based companies now offer shipping to Canada, but you need to be aware of where they ship from. Some still ship from the U.S. and some ship from distribution centres in Canada. It can make a difference in the shipping cost and time, as well as duty and taxes. It’s also really important to check the return policies before you order. Since you’re not going to be able to try on the clothing or shoes, you may get stuck with something that doesn’t fit. Some companies allow you to return items in-store as well through Canada Post or their preferred courier, and many offer free returns as well.

My latest online shopping experience was at Bluenotes. I visit them frequently at local malls but had never purchased anything online from them before. I recently bought a few pairs of skinny jeans in-store, but couldn’t find one particular colour, so I placed my first online order with them. You also have the option of choosing a Bluenotes Signature Card for an extra $20, which allows you free shipping for an entire year, as well as 10% off regular and sale priced items for a full year, and 20% off during your birthday week, which is a nice little extra incentive. Real time shipping updates are also great.

I have made many purchases online from Old Navy, as well as their sister companies, Banana Republic and the Gap. They were a little late in offering Canadian online shopping, which I found surprising for a company that has been established in Canada for many years. I believe that they took their time to ensure that shopping online with them was a great experience, and they are my favourite online retailer. I love that you can order from all three brands at one time. Buy yourself something from Gap, the kids some items from Old Navy, and your husband pieces from Banana Republic, and check out all at the same time. Shipping is free for orders over $50, and returns are always free. I have returned a few items to Old Navy and was impressed at how quickly they were processed.

Many of the larger, upscale U.S. retailers are now offering Canadian shipping. I was thrilled when one of my favourite stores, Nordstrom, introduced their cross-border delivery. And now, U.S. retailing giants including Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue have also jumped in, and a most automatically convert their prices and shipping options to Canadian when you log onto their sites. Macy’s is offering a flat-fee shipping rate of $9.99 every day with a $99 purchase, with some exceptions. Macy’s, Nordstrom and Saks also show you right away what the end price will be, with shipping, currency exchange, duties and taxes up front so that you’ll have no surprises when your package arrives at your front door and ends up costing twice what you expected.

Shopping online is becoming far less complicated and far less costly than it used to be. Don’t be afraid to press that ‘place my order’ button and experience how easy it is!