None of us has time to spend hours and hours shopping at stores on a regular basis (I do maintain that a day of occasional shopping with a girlfriend is therapeutic though!). Add the fact that we have thousands of websites at our fingertips to find exactly what we need, and online shopping becomes a given. Based on my shopping experience, I’ve learned some great tips for how to shop online that will save you money.
- Sign up for store emails. I know the last thing you want is another email in your inbox, but if there are one or two stores that you love to shop, subscribe to their distribution list. There are a lot of secret and one day sales that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
- Order on holiday weekends. Stores, both brick and mortar and online, have great sales on the holiday weekends. I like a specific brand of luxe sheets from Bloomingdales, and I only buy them on a holiday weekend when they are on sale.
- If the shipping is a lot, it’s worth a phone call to see if they will waive the charge. I frequently call the customer service number to see if there is a free shipping special going on, and 9 times out of 10, the customer service representative will waive the charge as a one-time offer.
- While I am on the phone to ask about shipping, I always ask if there is some kind of extra sale going on or a coupon they can offer me.
- Online shopping is not only about saving money but also about saving time. Websites allow you to track down hard-to-find items. For example, I mentioned in a previous post that I have narrow calves and Zappos.com, a shopping website with free shipping and free returns, has a fantastic search engine. I order a few pairs of boots at a time to compare them, and I can return the rest with no shipping charge.
- If you have champagne taste and a beer budget, online shopping offers great opportunities. First, it’s easy to find designer items at greatly reduced prices. Theoutnet.com has clothing and accessories from luxe labels such as Alexander McQueen, Missoni, Chloe and more. If you get on their mailing list, every Friday you’ll get an email with the sale of the week, sometimes up to 40% off the already heavily discounted prices. Other discount designer websites include Bluefly.com, 6PM.com and Yoox.com.
- If you covet this season’s “It” bag but can’t afford it, Bagborroworsteal.com, where you can rent handbags on a monthly basis, is the site for you. Want the Celine Mini Luggage Tote, but don’t want to pay the $2400 MSRP? You can rent it for $325 a month.
- You can cheek out luxury resale sites for high-end designer goods such as Therealreal.com, where they authenticate the goods for you so you know that what you are getting is the real deal.
- The web can also do the research about sales for you. If you enter your favorite brands, trends and sizes on Shopittome.com, they will alert you when items in your size go on sale. You can get even more specific with Hukkster.com by tracking items you like on websites. They will let you know when they go on sale. Poachit.com is similar, but you can also access valid coupons while you shop. Getinvisiblehand.com is a browser extension that notifies you if the product you’re shopping for, whether it’s a pair of shoes or a flight, is available for less on a different website. It even provides a button to click that will take you to the competing site. It doesn’t get any easier than that!
- Be careful of flash sale websites. The thrill of scoring on a timed sale is great, but websites such as Ruelala.com, Hautelook.com and Gilt.com charge for shipping and have limited return policies. If you do a bit of searching on the item, you can sometimes find it on other discount sites as well.
- Once you buy something, check the website again in 14 days. If something has gone on sale, call customer service to get a refund for the price. I bought a couple cashmere sweaters in the fall from Bloomingdales and saw that they went on sale a week later. I ended up getting them for $140 instead of $228!
Online shopping can be time consuming, but if you follow my tips for how to shop online, it can be easy and will yield fabulous clothes and accessories for a lot less than at a brick and mortar store.