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Open Discussion: Do You Prefer Online Shopping or Shopping in Department Stores?

Hi Beauties!


For a change, I thought an open discussion might be nice – to gather your thoughts and opinions on beauty happenings! I recently popped by the shops to suss out what has come out for Chistmas and the holidays – but it left me with mixed feelings… So my question for you beauties is – do you prefer online shopping or shopping in department/drugstores? What are your pet peeves when it comes to online shopping or shopping in department/drugstores? We are now officially open for discussion!


I will be blunt and say that I am totally in favour of internet shopping over visiting department stores. It’s just oh so comfortable! No masses of people, no one chewing with their mouth open and you can look as unkept as you like because there is no one to judge you 🙂 I can sit in the comfort of my own home – browse for hours, do my own research and then shop around for the best deal. It is true that you can’t try before you buy or feel the product for yourself in person and then you have to wait for it to arrive, but I still think it beats schlepping it to the shops… I’ve also noticed that in the hype of being in a department store and those horrid lights, sometimes you walk away with a colour or product you wouldn’t have purchased if you were sane and saw the product in a different environment. So whether you are buying a new product from a department store or online, you always take a certain risk (unless it’s a tried and tested goodie).

Last week, I went into Mecca Cosmetica (I would call it a specialty department beauty store, for those of you who don’t live in Aus). I’ve been wanting to buy and try the Smashbox FullExposure Waterproof mascara for summer, so I figured that since I was there and had seen it on their website I may as well go in and pick it up  (I don’t want to pay for shipping if I am buying just one item, so it was either buy it from overseas and wait, or buy it instantly in store). It’s a new and big store and while they were somewhat busy, the amount of sales assistants standing around and watching customers was just overwhelming. Yes the Christmas rush is approaching, but it was a bit OTT for a weekday afternoon. In most department stores, if you want to have a play around with some products/test out some colours, I always feel like I am being watched and it makes me super uncomfortable. A little paranoid? Perhaps lol.

I couldn’t find the waterproof version of the mascara I wanted, so I asked one of the sales assistants to me help me. She looked uncomfortable, looked around for a little while and then ran off to find someone else who could help me. I find this happens all the time in most department stores – the sales assistants don’t know what’s going on or what products they sell. A second sales assistant came up to me and let me know that they were out of stock of the waterproof version of the mascara. Fair enough. They were lovely – don’t get me wrong, but I just found the whole process to be tiring. Then, the sales assistant started telling me that the waterproof version of the mascara wasn’t as good as the original, hinting to me that I should give up on my pursuit. This is my other pet peeve – when sales assistants assume you know nothing about the product that you want, and try and convince you that you want something else instead because it is better. Most of the time, I let them give me their spiel about how product B is more amazing than product A just because I’m to polite and can’t say no bluntly and walk away. I then muffle that I’ll have a think about it and leave.

Also, all the makeup stands were so close to each other, I couldn’t maneuver most of the time to get to the products I wanted to see anyway because while the store wasn’t packed, the bad design made it difficult to get around the 5 people standing near me. I think most stores have this problem.  Another pet peeve of mine is when shelves are not stocked or are very messy (helloooo, Priceline!). I swear I avoided Priceline (a drugstore) for years because of this and no, I’m not a perfectionist when it comes to cleanliness etc. I just don’t see how low and messy stock is meant to entice you to buy something. I go into Priceline these days and I do admit that seeing drugstore makeup in person before buying it helps a lot when it comes to colour selection.

And lastly, the makeup of a lot of sales assistants just frightens me (department stores win out in this category). I get that they work with makeup and need to wear the product they are trying to sell, but must the wear every product at once? It makes me trust them less when I can see that they haven’t been able to colour match their own foundation shade lol

So yes – I prefer online shopping! A lot of online stores offer free shipping these days and offer quite a lot of discounts throughout the year (Myer and David Jones never offer discounts on regular high end makeup). The customer loyalty programs offered by online stores also tend to be much better. I recently received a $20 Myer gift card because I had spend $2000 over the course of the year. That is ONE percent of what I spent. What an incentive huh lol I do admit that sometimes the ritual of going in store to shop can be pleasant when  your goodies are wrapped up all nice and when the shop assistant has been more than lovely and helpful (and when the transaction has gone smoothly). Unfortunately I think the art of customer service is dying.

I thought I would mention some of my favourite online shops (perhaps this will help you if you don’t shop online very often for makeup and skincare products) 🙂 – An Australian online beauty retailer, selling both Australian and international brands. They offer free shipping on all orders and their customer service is excellent! The place to go for both makeup and skincare goodies. If you are not sure how to introduce a product into your regime, or if you are not sure about the ingredients of a product and if they suit your needs – you can send them an email and you can expect a detailed and sincere response! Processing and shipping is quick and easy. They regularly update their Facebook page and run competitions often (yay!). *They are currently holding a 10% off flash sale store wide* – Again, free shipping on all orders and a very large selection of brands. Most products are cheaper than standard Australian retail prices. If you sign up to their loyalty program, you automatically receive 5% off all orders and as you shop with them, over time your discounts increase. Apparently they are having some super sale tomorrow from 5pm, so sign up and like their Facebook page to stay in the loop! I have called their Melbourne office a few times with some order issues (which doesn’t happen often and I’ve been buying from their site for years) and they were quick and happy to resolve my problems. They don’t carry say the full coloured makeup lines when it comes to Chanel, Dior etc but they still have a wide range of products and colours and are always adding more products to their site. – A smaller online retailer, that sells niche makeup brands (OCC, Lime Crime, Beauty Blender etc.). They offer free shipping on orders over $95. Prices are very reasonable, and their online blog features some really interesting articles and tips! I love discovering smaller brands which are still ethical and creative – so if that sounds appealing to you and you love coloured makeup, check out their shop! – This is an online store which is an actual boutique beauty shop in New York. They offer brands such as Laura Mercier, Nars and Smashbox (everything is in US prices accordingly). International postage costs just $10 (flatrate!). Because they are a small shop, getting through to them via email can take a while – but if you are patient, you will get a response. I’ve never had an issue with any of my parcels (they generally take about 2 weeks to arrive) and I’ve been ordering from them for years also!

Obviously, there’s pros and cons to every shopping ‘style’ but I would love to know your preference and what are your pet peeves when shopping, so leave me a comment below! OH – and do let me know if you know of any gems when it comes to online beauty shops 🙂

I’m always posting about online sales and competitions via my Facebook page, so be sure to like me there (please be my friend!) so you don’t miss out on all the news!

Catch ya next time beauties,

Beauty Bee~

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