Mark Ellwood, whose Salemail features John Varvatos, Marc Jacobs and Fred Perry, offers Shop It To Me members these four tips from his new book to help you score the best possible deals online.
1. Don’t hit ‘check out’ without asking for a better deal
Many shoppers assume that the posted sale price is non-negotiable. Not true. The retailer may have over-bought and might be under pressure to clear out the item you want to buy. Before making the purchase, IM with customer service: Are any additional discounts available? How about free shipping? It doesn’t always work, but it never hurts to ask.
2. Practice cart abandonment
****Nothing worries a retailer more than a shopper who logs in, places an item in her cart and then closes the window without completing the sale. Clearly, you were about to make a purchase and got distracted. They REALLY want you to come back and finish your purchase. Many will email you a “reminder” within 24 hours – and offer you an additional discount to close the sale.
3. Take things out of context
Retailers engineer product context – both in-store and online — to make sale prices look cheaper than they are. They surround “sale” items with high-priced ones, to make you think you’re getting a good deal. So you aren’t misled by this, take the item you want to purchase out of that retailer-engineered context and look at it again. Is it really a bargain? (Does that $500 bag still look like a deal when it’s not sitting next to one that’s $1,200?)
4. Don’t shop while stressed
This is a corollary to the rule of not shopping for food when you’re hungry. Like hunger, stress hormones interfere with the brain’s ability to make good comparisons and smart decisions. If you shop when you are feeling stressed, you’ll make impulse purchases that you will regret later. So, put on some classical music, do some deep breathing … and wait for the “headmaster of your brain” to take back control before you shop. Mark lists John Varvatos shoes, shirts and fragrances (“I’m obsessed with Varvatos!”) among his top Shop it To Me finds. His biggest “score” was a lilac-striped shirt that makes him feel like a cross between Mick Jagger and Gordon Gecko. Mark also keeps Gucci shoes on his Salemail, hoping someday to find a pair of classic loafers on sale in his size.
*Mark Ellwood’s new book “Bargain Fever” will be published on October 17, but is available for preorder here. *If you order a copy of the book before October 17, you’ll even receive a BONUS chapter, Bargain Fever: The Manual, which features 100 tips and tricks to help you save money and shop smarter, from airline tickets to TVs. Forward the proof of purchase to firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll receive this manual by email after publication.