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What is an Online Personal Shopper?

By Carol Francois
Updated May 16, 2024
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An online personal shopper is someone who finds products available from Internet-based companies. The vast majority of online personal shoppers work for a firm that offers styling assistance, shopping, and valet services. Unlike the personal shopping assistant, this service is not typically available from the online stores themselves.

Very popular around the holidays, the client provides a list of people, their interests, and a budget for gift purchases. The online personal shopper reviews the information and has a short interview with the client about possible gift ideas. The shopper is responsible for finding the appropriate gift, wrapping, and labeling. The cost of the service is typically negotiated in advance, based on either the number of items or time required.

An added benefit of the online personal shopper is the approval process. The shopper can select the items on behalf of the client and create a shopping cart for them. He or she can email the link to the online shopping cart to the client, who can review the selection and make changes, if necessary. The client enters her own credit card number directly into the website payment screen. This added security removes the need to provide access to a credit card to a personal shopper.

This type of personal shopping service firm is not tied to a specific store, but is able to procure items from a variety of suppliers. This flexibility increases the scope of the services. It is important to note that buyers should ask for a list of clients as references. Take the time to check the references to ensure the firm delivers the quality of service required.

There is no specific training program to become an online personal shopper. Many people who have received training as a fashion designer or buyer generate additional income in this role. When looking to select an online shopping firm, ask about the level of experience of your assigned shopper. Using references and recommendations is the best way to find a service that meets your needs.

When hiring an online personal shopper, take the time to meet with him, either in person or via the Internet. Review pricing, services, and your requirements. Never provide your credit card account information. Legitimate firms will offer several payment options, allowing you to review the suggested products before payment is required. Most firms will issue an invoice for the cost of the service provided.

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Discussion Comments

By KoiwiGal — On Aug 21, 2011

I would be careful to meet your shopper in person, or at least over the phone and get a lot of references before I put any money into this kind of service.

It seems like there would be a lot of scope to rip clients off, particularly as they could set up false shopping websites to direct you to, and get even more of your money that way.

Or use referrals through websites and direct you to shoddy products.

Not saying everyone would do this, but it would be easy enough, so definitely use caution.

By Mor — On Aug 21, 2011

@pleonasm - It does sound like a cool job, but I imagine it can get tedious just like any other kind of job. After all, most of the fun in shopping is in using the goods after you've bought them. Shopping for someone else seems like it would quickly become routine.

And also bear in mind that you would mostly be looking for difficult gifts. You probably wouldn't be looking in the pretty clothes or snazzy gift stores so much as in the car accessories and the ties.

That said I really enjoy playing the free online personal shopper games. They are just a bit of fun and my livelihood doesn't depend on pleasing the customer.

By pleonasm — On Aug 21, 2011

This seems like it would be an awesome job! I know, it would probably not be as amazing as it sounds just looking at the article, but I'm not sure what the drawback would be.

As long as you enjoyed surfing the internet and finding bargains and fitting them to different personality types. I think you could find all kinds of fun things and you could make sure to do it in an environmentally friendly way as well.

Plus, you wouldn't need to worry about upsetting the client, or being left with the bill if they hate your choices, because they can approve them before paying.

And you wouldn't even need to fight the Christmas shopping crowds.

I really want to be an online personal shoper now!

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