There will always be the woman who bookmarks Net-a-Porter or MyTheresa, adds the latest arrivals of her liking to her cart and chooses next day shipping—voilà, online shopping accomplished. But some of us enjoy the thrill of the hunt a bit more. Seasoned online shoppers (it’s our profession, after all), we’ve picked up a few tricks along the way. Below are some helpful hacks to getting your size, finding the best price, and overall winning the game of Internet spending.
1. Deals on Steals: When shopping on high-street sites like H&M and Topshop, always do a quick search for coupons on Google. You’ll be surprised how often a 20% off is available.
2. Extreme Sizes: If you have very small or very large feet, always search by size on sites like Zara, because there are limited styles that come in sizes 5 and 12. This way you won’t be tortured by styles you can’t have.
3. Community Access: Join newsletters if you truly like the site—it’s the only way to know about pre-sales, special friends-and-family deals and the like. It won’t feel like spam if you actually love the brand or boutique. To that note, unsubscribe from any newsletters that rarely pique your interests to keep your inbox focused.
4. Cosign Consignment: Sites like The Real Real and Bib & Tuck are great for sourcing past-season and vintage items at a deal—just be wary. If you love that Alexander Wang dress from Spring 2011 and it’s there and in your siz, do a quick eBay, Yoox, The Outnet and Bluefly search to make sure the same piece isn’t currently available for less. It’s easy to impulse purchase when you think it’s a steal—think of it as a virtual sample sale.
5. Flasher: Sites like Gilt and Rue La La are truly like virtual sample sales. Employ the same quick search tactics after you add your desired piece to your cart. You have ten minutes and it can save you a lot.
6. eBay For Life: eBay has gotten considerable competition in recent years, but it’s still a huge marketplace with endless stock. Always use a site like Snipe Swipe to do your bidding for you. It assures that you will only spend what you would want for any given item and not get lost in the competitive spirit. I am also personally obsessed with creating alerts on eBay for items from past seasons that I am on the hunt for.
7. Let Apps Work for You: Widgets like Hukster and Keep allow you to receive alerts when your favorite in-season pieces go on sale. You use them like you would a Pinterest widget except you’re inputting your exact size and color preference. I was able to nail down my favorite Prada shoes last season this way. I won’t say I use them often, but it’s worth it for the important things in life—like Prada.
8. Use Your Wish List: Similarly, sites like Shopbop, which allow you to maintain an account wish list, alert you when your list items go on sale. If you’re not the widget type, it’s a great alternative.
9. Don’t Be a Sell Out: Sites like Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion have options to receive emails when an item you love comes back into stock. It can be well worth setting up an alert. I couldn’t get my hands on a Delfina Delettrez single pearl earring until I did this at Matches. You also sometimes realize maybe you didn’t want the piece as much as you thought you did once it’s available again. Money saved is money earned.
10. Jetsetter: We love international e-commerce sites like MyTheresa, Stylebop and LN-CC and sites that have international boutiques like Farfetch, but there are some conversion issues that arise. Often denim brands can be more expensive or a dress can be as much as $200 more—or less—on one site than another. Just do your research on Polyvore or ShopStyle for that particular item to make sure you’re getting the best price. Again, these sites can be a great resource, but always pay attention to international taxes and shipping costs. What looks like a deal can turn out to be quite expensive. Luckily, many of the bigger sites are including international costs in the price shown and providing free global shipping.