Try These 8 Shopping Tips Now, Thank Me Later.

It’s that time of the year again— Your inbox is probably blowing up with “Veteran’s Day Sale” emails as we speak.

Love sale season or hate it, you can’t deny that it is the best time of the year to get the items you’ve had on your wish list for ridiculously good prices.  However, if you’re anything like me, you prefer staying away from the hedonistic death trap that is the mall anytime between Thanksgiving and December 31st.

In my opinion, online shopping is the easiest way to take care of everyone on your list as well as get the best deals on those special pieces you’ve had your eye on all season.

After all, wouldn’t you rather be warm at home in your pajamas rather than standing outside in freezing temperatures at 5 am?

8 Tips For Shopping Online1

If you agree, you should probably listen closely to what I’m about to say….

Did you know that if you shop online, you can actually get better deals?


As someone who has spent their entire professional life working in the luxury eCommerce industry, I know all of the inside tips and tricks to get the absolute best deals both during sale season, and every other time of the year.

For instance, did you know that you can gain access to “private” discount codes that are only released to stores’ best customers, receive invitations to shop sales days in advance, and get reminders delivered to your inbox as soon as an item you’ve been watching goes on sale?

Want to start saving massive amounts of money shopping online?  Follow these simple steps….

madames guide to finding the best deals online

1.  Create A Separate Email Account


I actually learned this trick from my younger sister who’s in college — it’s not only helped me save money, but it’s also made my inbox a lot more organized.  Gone are the days of “1,562 Unread Messages.”

The tip?  Create a new email account that’s solely dedicated to receiving promotional newsletters.

Having a separate email is extremely helpful since you won’t have to delete promotions for the sake of saving space– instead you’ll have them in one place when you’re ready to shop.  It makes comparing deals much easier if you’re looking for one item in particular that’s sold at multiple retailers.

Second, you won’t be tempted to shop unless you log into the account.  (This is the benefit that I find most useful.)  It really wrangles temptation–especially when the shoe sales come around.


2.  Get On The List EVERY List


Email lists are a necessary evil when it comes to online shopping.  Sure they’re annoying, but if you set up a separate email account (like I mentioned above!) you won’t feel guilty about having inbox spam interrupting important messages.

You need to be on the mailing list whether you like it or not.  Most brands give away private coupons, free shipping, or early access to sale for customers enrolled within their rewards or email programs.

If you’re looking to get the best deal possible on a specific item, I suggest signing up for any and every list of every retailer you might possibly buy from, (yes, I just said that—) even if you only shop during the holiday season.

Here’s why— Brands such as Kate Spade or Joie, that sell at department stores like Bloomingdales or Nordstrom, are known to do VIP only sales on their own eCommerce sites, and at times offer better deals than their wholesalers.  




3.  Compare Prices Online


Have your eye on something special?   Be sure to run a search for the item before you buy it!

Shopping search engines such as Polyvore, Shopstyle, or Google Shopping pull products from all over the web so you can see which retailer is offering the best deal.

For instance, take this search for “Saint Laurent Glitter Boot”

glitter boot

You can see that the boots are cheaper at Browns Fashion than at Barney’s, or the Saint Laurent site.  Under this circumstance, I’d buy from Browns’ and save almost $100.

Also, as a bonus– if you sign up for a Shopstyle account you can receive notifications when your “saved” items go on sale.  I use this feature personally, and find it really helpful!


4.  Beware of Sneaky Shipping Costs


To expand upon my glitter boot example— 

shipping example

Although Browns is selling the booties for nearly $100 less than other retailers, the shipping costs add on nearly an additional $45 USD.

$45 is a pretty hefty chunk of change. 

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to go with the store that offers free shipping and returns.  Duty and shipping fees can really add up, and there are plenty of retailers that offer free shipping as a standard such as Net-A-Porter.





5.  Search For Promo Codes


If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this article, it’s this:



Before you check out, do a Google search for “[STORENAME] Promo Codes” and see what additional discounts are available.

This ties back to Tip #2: Get on the List —

Did you know that every online retailer organizes their email list into different groups based off of a customer’s purchasing behavior? 

For instance, just because you and I are both signed up for the Nordstrom newsletter doesn’t mean we’ll get targeted with the same advertisements.  If your last purchase was denim, and mine was make up, we’ll most likely be separated into different lists and will receive different promotions.

Sites like RetailMeNot aggregate coupon codes from nearly every store online.  Although you might have already received a promotion code in your email, there could be a better one more suited for your purchase.

It’s also good to keep in mind that some sites allow you to use multiple promo codes in one order.  For example, you could input codes for both free shipping & 15% off at the same time.  This is a great way to save money, especially if you have access to promo codes… which you do now!


6.  “Abandon” Your Cart


If you weren’t already aware, listen up:  Most sites use cookies to track every move you make on their site.

Have you ever shopped online, loaded up your cart, and then decided to not purchase any of it?  Have you then received an email within a day “reminding” you of the items you left behind?

There’s something you don’t know about these emails…

Lots of them will end up sending you a percentage off coupon if you wait long enough to make your purchase.

For instance, I receive these from ASOS quite frequently since my cart is always full with a billion items from their site (they’re my favorite)…

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 10.50.48 PM

This doesn’t happen with every site, but it works with a good majority of the larger ones.  Log in, put items in your cart, leave the site, and forget about it.  See what happens in three weeks.






7.  Two Words– “Price Adjustments”


Let’s say you buy a dress you’ve been lusting after all season long, just to find out that it goes on sale the DAY AFTER you purchase it.  (It’s happened to all of us… don’t worry.)  You feel like a chump and are cursing your bad timing.  However, there is a little secret most of us who have worked in retail know about…

Did you know that most major retailers offer price adjustments within a certain period of time?

For example, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters always do huge markdowns on Black Friday, but most people aren’t aware that they have a 14 day price adjustment policy where if you bring in your receipt, you can get the price adjusted to match the sale price.

If you already knew about this, here’s probably something you haven’t thought of—

If a store offers price adjustments, it makes more sense to buy that thing you love before Black Friday and then bring in your receipt after to get your money back.

Doing this means you won’t have to worry about the item selling out right away.  Also, if it doesn’t end up going on sale and you don’t feel committed to spending full price, you can always return the item.  (Return policies permitting!)


8.  Pick Up the Phone


“But, Madame, what happens if the object of my desires is already sold out online?”

Pick up the phone.

I know it sounds a bit archaic, but it works most of the time.  If the item in question is from a retail chain, call customer service and ask them to do an inventory check to see if any stores have it in stock and can ship it to you.

Also, don’t forget to tell customer service about any vouchers or online codes you may have!




Who knew there could be so much politics behind online shopping?  It’s exhausting!  

Now that you’re an online shopping master (just in time for Black Friday!) go out and slay the sale.

 crossing street1

Have you heard any of these tips before?  Are there any I missed out on?  Be sure to share them in the comments!


If you found this article helpful be sure to share it on facebook, twitter, and tumblr with your friends and family to make sure they get the best deals!


Desk photo credit: Kelly Sue via photopin cc


  1. November 16, 2014 / 4:34 pm

    Such good tips!

  2. elb743
    November 16, 2014 / 4:17 pm

    Great tips Madame!
    Eloquently delivered as well, and with stunning photos of you, a double treat!
    I knew only of the ” abandoned shopping cart” strategy, as I also gleaned that from a prior experience, but the rest was all ( fabulous) news to me.
    Thank you so much for sharing this, especially now, at the beginning of shopping purgatory, which i can now avoid!
    xx, Elle

    • November 16, 2014 / 10:42 pm

      “Shopping purgatory!” Especially in NYC where we don’t just have one mall we can buy all of our presents from–haha!

  3. Jenny
    November 14, 2014 / 6:35 am

    Excellent tips and I cant wait for the sales! I always find it helpful for getting xmas gifts and treats for myself! The UK are now having Black Friday sales too this year! xx

    • November 16, 2014 / 10:43 pm

      Hi Jenny! Thank you so much, I’m glad you enjoyed the article! I’ve heard that from quite a few of my friends in the UK and France that more and more stores are beginning to do Black Friday. Consequently, some retailers in the US have started to adopt China’s 11/11 National Singles Day Sales. I find it very interesting.

      Have a great week! xx

    • November 16, 2014 / 10:44 pm

      Thank you so much, Sarah! I’m glad you enjoyed them. Have a great week! xx

    • November 16, 2014 / 10:45 pm

      Thank you so much, my friend! Have a wonderful week!

  4. November 12, 2014 / 3:40 pm

    These tips are awesome! In Poland they’re all about online shopping it’s so much better than we had in Canada but I’m definitely going to pay attention and take note of what you wrote.

    • November 16, 2014 / 10:46 pm

      Thank you Caroline, let me know how it goes! Have a great week xx

  5. Shybiker
    November 12, 2014 / 8:10 am

    Good tips. Thanks. Proving your point about how companies now operate, I was surprised when I started buying women’s clothes and products to receive ads and e-mails addressing me as female. Even when they use my real male name, they assume I’m female. I’ve been put in that category.

    • November 16, 2014 / 10:48 pm

      It’s strange– it’s helpful because they actually ARE able to gauge what we want (or think we need), but at the same time it’s invasive and kind of creepy how well computers can make assumptions about us off of our browsing behavior alone. xx

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