How to Shop Like a Pro Online

By Chanel Dror
home office

A few weeks ago I found myself at the mall, bouncing from one store to the next, skimming the racks for something new and exciting to add to my wardrobe, when it hit me: I don’t know how to shop in person anymore. Is it just me, or has the shift into online shopping been so profound, that we literally don’t know how to shop any other way? I started thinking about all the clothes I’d purchased in the last couple years, and realized that 90% of them were delivered to my front door. That’s crazy, right?

Suffice it to say, all that time spent online has made me quite the savvy internet shopper, if I do say so myself. I take pride in the skills I’ve developed in recent years and the deals I’ve scored as a result, so much so that I’ve been wanting to write a blog post on the subject for a while. With the help of our friends at Sudo, we finally had the perfect opportunity: click through for my seven tips for shopping like a pro online…

*Oh! And for our fellow Austinites, come hang out with me at the Sudo House on Tuesday March 15th from 3 – 5pm! They’re taking over Trinity Hall and will have drinks, charging stations, entertainment, massage chairs, express mani’s, and more. Best of all, they’re inviting locals to skip the waitlist and download the Sudo app instantly… sweet! 

*photography by Kate LeSueur

Use Pinterest to plan your purchases. 

You have your favorite recipes bookmarked and your someday-wedding practically planned, but are you using Pinterest to shop smart? I have a secret board called “Shopping,” and it’s where I save any products I spot online that I’m interesting in, but not yet ready to purchase. This cool baseball tee? I’d had my eye on it for a while, but the price tag had me second-guessing the purchase. So I pinned it, revisited the link about once a week, and after a couple months, clicked over to find it on major sale. Home run!

Use Sudo to stay safe.

The number one rule to being a savvy online shopper is to be a safe one. And in an age where we spend nearly all our time on the internet, and where all our information seems to exist in the public domain, it’s easy to feel like “online privacy” is a contradiction in terms. Sudo has changed all of that by allowing you to create a secure digital persona, making it safer than ever to visit and shop your favorite online stores right from your phone. The best part of it all? No more being followed by ads weeks after you’ve searched or purchased a product… hallelujah!

Pick up the phone.

Never underestimate the power of interpersonal communication. In the world of online shopping, sometimes the best deals happen, well, over the phone. Whether you’ve just missed a huge sale, are planning to make a big purchase, or are unhappy with the service you’ve received, it never hurts to give the store a call to see how they can help. I find that more often than not, the customer service representative has some pull and is able to offer at least 10% off… and that adds up!

Check for promo codes and cashback discounts.

No lies, I do both these things for every single online purchase I make…

First I check RetailMeNot.com for any promo codes that might be floating out there on the web — this could be anything from “10% off site-wide,” to “15% off for new customers,” to “40% off your first in-app purchase.” Checking takes less than five minutes, you can’t afford not to it.

Second, I use Ebates to collect cash back on my purchases. All you do is sign up, shop participating retailers (most big box stores, travel sites, and a lot more), then get a percentage of your purchase back in the form of a check.

Free shipping and returns are your friend.

When shipping and returns are free, you literally have nothing to lose. Often — especially when I have a special event coming up — I buy multiple styles in different sizes so that I’m certain to find something I like. This plaid dress was part of a huge order I placed on ASOS a couple years ago, and turned out to be the only item I kept. Everything else went back, and this number has since become one of my fall and winter wardrobe staples.

Always price match.

If I Google these “Brown Vince Erving Boots” right now, I find prices ranging from $237 to $395… that’s a $150 difference! If your size is only available for the more expensive amount, give the retailer a call and let them know you found an identical pair available elsewhere online for a fraction of the cost. I bet you they’ll match what the other retailer is offering, and if they didn’t already, they may even throw in free shipping.

Follow your favorite brands on social media.

There are a handful of brands our there that I absolutely love, but they’re priced a little high for me. Those are the brands I make sure to follow on social media, so that I’m truly among the first to learn about sales and new arrivals (sometimes even before they come out). I was obsessed with this black coat from Reformation, but didn’t act fast enough and it quickly sold out. Someone must have made a return, because after clicking over to the site from their Instagram account one day, I found that they had magically restocked one coat, and it was my size. It was meant to be!