Many people I know love the convenience of shopping online but hate the guesswork that goes in to figuring out exactly what size they need to order and the potential hassle of returning something. While I’m not perfect (see tweet below about a beautiful pair of Jimmy Choos that needed to find a new home), I’ve gotten my online shopping down an art form because I’ve figured out three basic principles.
What are these three principles? In short, they are buy what you know, always get a discount and strike while the iron’s hot.
Buy What You Know
As you can see from the Jimmy Choos above, I was in the market for a new pair of black wedges. I was ideally wanting the LK Bennett Zahara tortoise heel ones because they were a little different, but they were sold out and the Choos seemed like a great alternative. I bought the Jimmy Choos on a whim in a size that matched up with another pair of Choos I had in my closet, thinking they would be just the same in a wedge style as they were in the stilettos. Was I right? You already know the answer. No, I was very wrong. While I could technically get the Choos on my feet, they puffed up like sausages and I couldn’t quite feel my toes. What is definitely not refined? Shoes you can’t walk in. I hadn’t tried on Choo wedges in a store, I had no idea what they would fit like and I made a miscalculation.
What I should have done was either tried on a pair of the shoes at the store before buying them online if I could get a better price (see tip #2 below!) or I should have bought shoes that were from the same line, style and designer as I was already familiar with. One designer I am amply familiar with on a wedge front? LK Bennett. I own three pairs of wedges and they are all in the same European size that took me forever to figure out. They all fit the same way and the reason I keep buying them is that they are so comfortable I even wear them when I don’t have to wear heels. I live in them. Knowing the brand and the sizing information before making a purchase just makes sense.
Always Get a Discount
Part of the reason I love shopping online is that I can, 95% of the time, find a way to get my item more cheaply than I can in a store. How? Here are my tips:
- Sign up for eBates. If it sounds sketchy, don’t worry, it’s legitimate! All you do is go to the eBates site before you buy anything and then click on the link to the store you want to visit and voila! You are set to earn cash back on your purchases. You can get anywhere from 1-60% of the value you spend on a purchase back in your hands in CASH!
- Google the site you’re shopping on as well as the terms “coupon code”, “promo code” or “discount code”. If you’ve ever shopped online, you’ll know that almost every site has a spot where you can enter a promo code in the checkout boxes. There are entire sites and groups of people who post the codes from stores on their sites to help pass along the savings – or get a commission from your buying something
- Turn on your privacy settings to a stronger level, or try blocking cookies. You know how those Google ads pop up that seem to always know what you were looking for and tempt you with it over and over again on every site? That is based on your browser history. The same thing applies for some stores – especially travel sites – who monitor what you’re searching for, say like a flight to Paris. You’ll be browsing and then come back and see the same flight at a higher price. This is because the algorithms know you’re interested in that flight and are willing to wager that you’ll pay more for it. By blocking cookies or changing your privacy settings, you may save yourself a few dollars!
- When you are on a site you like, sign up for the mailing list! Often, mailing lists will give you a discount for just signing up of 10% off your first purchase, etc.
Strike When the Iron Is Hot!
My last piece of advice? If you see something, in stock, in your size… And price range… Buy it. When you’re shopping in a physical store you are competing with a smaller set of people for the available merchandise, but when you’re online you are competing with a much larger, global pool! Some of my best purchases online have been for the last item in my size (something I surely chalk up to the universe telling me to buy it!) – like today when visiting the LK Bennett site and seeing a pair of the Zahara tortoise wedges on sale for $200 US… And only one pair left in my size. After making sure I was getting the best deal, I bought those babies as fast as my little fingers could travel. They’ll be here in 5-6 business days.