Wednesday, 29 October 2014

How to Shop the Shopbop Sale

A dear reader told me that she is overwhelmed by the Shopbop site and so missed out on the recent site-wide 25% off sale. I can understand: it's a huge site offering thousands of products. On the plus side, Shopbop offers a huge range of brands we simply can't get here. And free shipping over US $100 is a great incentive. They also have a great returns system where the courier will collect your goods for a flat fee of NZ $35 and courier them back to Shopbop in the U.S.

In this post, I want to share my secrets to a successful Shopbop sale (or just general shopping from the site).

Rule 1: Create an account
This will make it easier to check out when the site is busy (especially if you store credit card and address details). An account entitles you to site services such as wish list, favourites and notification emails. Shopbop also emails out a look book several times a week which is great for style inspiration.

Rule 2: Know what you want
The sale is never scheduled, it lasts only three days and things sell out fast. If you have unlimited time to trawl through all items in all categories on a deadline then fine, have fun! But there are THOUSANDS of items on this site, so forget that malarkey! Well before the sale, narrow down what you want and search the relevant categories. For example:

- A pair of black skinny jeans (Clothing > Jeans)
- A set of gold midi rings (Accessories > Jewelry)
- A tan cross-body bag (Bags > Cross Body Bags)

When the sale email comes through, you can purchase straight from your favourites list (see more about favourites below).

Rule 3: Make use of the filters
The filters are vital for narrowing down items that you can afford and that will actually fit you. There are three:

- Designers
- Sizes
- Colours

In addition, you can also sort items to suit. For example, prices low to high will force the cheapest items to the top of the page. Filters and sorts are KEY time savers. For example, I'm a size 32 in jeans. By filtering out all other sizes I drastically reduce the items to browse through.

Rule 4: Build up a favourites list
The little heart icon on product pages lets you easily add items to you favourites list. Shopbop holds a lot of stock and re-stocks regularly. Even if an item sells out, keep it on your list. Chances are it'll be back in stock at some stage.

The point of the favourites list is to speed up transfer-to-cart. Traditionally, when the sale is just announced, the site slows down and it's hard to use. With items already saved, you just need to add them to the cart and purchase.

Rule 5: Know which brands are stocked
Shopbop is different to Net-a-Porter which specialises in high-end designer fashion. Shopbop does stock high-end designer goods, but it also stocks those designers' affordable lines. For example:

- Marc by Marc Jacobs
- T by Alexander Wang
- RED Valentino
- 3.1 Phillip Lim
- MICHAEL Michael Kors

Shopbop also stocks many mid-range designer brands such as:

- Acne Studios
- Karen Walker Eyewear
- A.P.C
- Ash
- Camilla and Marc
- Tory Burch
- Rebecca Taylor
- Dion Lee
- Equipment

Many great lower-price brands are available too, such as Gorjana, Blank Denim and Steve Madden. There's also a huge range of denim on offer.

Rule 6: Get familiar with sizing
Read the size charts and measurements. Check the model's vital statistics (and height). See what size she is wearing and also check her body shape. Hey, they are all a NZ size 6 or 8 but does she have a long torso or long legs? Is she a skinny pear? Are your ankles as fine as hers and will that strap go around YOUR ankles?

The general rule is that American designers size larger and European designers size smaller.

Also, read the customer reviews and get an idea if an item runs smaller or larger. I have found reviews really helpful as women tend to share their body measurements which is great.

Rule 7: Use the sale for smart shopping
If you have been coveting a $400 pair of jeans for months, use a generous discount like this to buy them at a reduced price. Or, stock up on something you've bought before elsewhere and love (and you know your size).

Of the three items I bought in the last sale, I kept two (the jeans and the cashmere) and returned the stripey top. It was a perfect fit but just not a very flattering cut.

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