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Experts weigh in on top shopping Web sites

December 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Americans spend billions of dollars shopping for clothing online. ABC7 Consumer Specialist Ric Romero says many of the top shopping sites got high marks in a new survey.The biggest drawback to buying clothes online is that you can't try them on to make sure they fit. But when ABC7 teamed up with Consumer Reports, we found some sites that will custom fit your clothing with the click of the mouse.

Braving the crowds can make clothes shopping a drag. But people who buy online are quite happy, according to a Consumer Reports survey.

"Eighty-five percent of those surveyed were very or completely satisfied with their online shopping experience for clothes. It was highly popular, highly satisfying and among the highest-rated surveys we've done recently," said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports.

The survey, which covered 39 clothing sites, found only seven percent of the respondents complained about how the clothes fit. The best sites offer features that can help you find something you really like, including size guides, customer reviews and zoom views that let you look at details up close.

Particularly helpful is Lands' End "My Virtual Model" section. It actually lets you create a model with your own height, weight, body type and even your hairstyle.

"Shopping was a snap for most people. But one problem that seemed to be persistent in one out of four purchases is shipping costs. They weren't revealed until the customer was ready to check out," said Marks.

There were also some gripes about the high cost of shipping, especially for J. Jill, Victoria's Secret and QVC. But the Consumer Reports survey shows several sites were standouts for clothes shopping. Those sites included L.L.Bean, Lands' End and Zappos, which was noted for its no-charge return policy.

Consumer Reports said another advantage to online shopping is that you can take advantage of up-to-the-minute sale information. You can also sign up for e-mail alerts from your favorite sites to hear about exclusive online specials.


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