To take advantage of opportune shopping deals, and do it efficiently, I’ve collected my personal tenets of successful online shopping, for you, dear reader:
- Download shopping apps on your phone, tablet: ShopStyle by POPSUGAR is my favorite.
- browse across brands, stores, types of items, favorite, and get sale alerts via e-mail and push notification
- Subscribe to your favorite brands’ e-mail lists, so you get their announcements (of new arrivals, sales, etc.). Don’t forget department stores!
- Subscribe to third party sale/deal daily e-mails/blog posts (Racked National’s SaleWire, ShopItToMe)
- Utilize an e-mail organizer widget to filter out all those shopping e-mails – if the onslaught will be too much (OtherInbox)
- Check Valet Mag‘s Personal Shopper calendar.
- Research and assemble a wish list ahead of time.
- Stick to sites that provide free shipping and returns.
- Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Zappo’s, etc.
- If you’re shopping on Amazon.com regularly, consider paying for Amazon Prime, which provides free 2-day shipping on any order, for $80/year, which you can offer to 5 family members as well (on your dime)
- Pay special attention to online-only stores, as they typically do not collect sales tax, and have deeper discounts, because they can’t sell in brick and mortar stores.
And some tips to remember:
- Online shopping is not about instant gratification. Be prepared to wait, and in some cases, have items not fit or not be right. Send back immediately if so.
- Read item descriptions carefully for sizing nuances.
- The experience is not the same as shopping in person, so there won’t be a car full of shopping bags high.
- If this is all too much work, then hire me to monitor an item or list of pieces you want over the course of a season. I’ll be happy to help.
You may have noticed I completely skipped over flash-sale sites like Gilt, MYHABIT, and Haute Look. Those sites can be useful if you have already been watching something that pops up for sale (or a brand you like), but the emphasis on impulsive buying can lead to more buyer’s remorse later. Plus, the original MSRP/discounted price “deal” is suspect (sometimes for sale on normal sites for less).
And, they usually have spotty return policies. But, no reason not to get on their e-mail list so you at least know what’s up for sale each day.
I hope these strategies and tips are useful – I use them all regularly. If you have patience, they keep you from paying full price or wasting time getting in and out of shopping centers.
In case you missed it, also see Skip the Outlets from last fall for more shopping advisory.