Flash sale sites are all the rage right now. From the sample sale sites like Gilt Groupe and Ideeli to the daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social, it can be overwhelming. That’s why we created SampleSaleSites.com – to bring you the daily list of the best sales on the web, as well as any coupon codes there may be for these sites.
The way flash sales work is that brands connect with the flash sale site to sell off excess merchandise at (usually) deep discounts. Sample sale websites are a new trend expanding upon the traditional sample sale you might find in New York City or L.A.. They’re usually invite-only, so you must receive an invitation from an existing member to create an account. Fortunately, if you click our list of scrolling flash sale invite icons at the top of this site, you’ll be able to join them instantly. Now you are ready to shop the flash sales and save! You’ll find everything from high-end designer labels like Gucci to home decor by brands like Cuisinart, to wine and travel. I’ve bought so much this way that the UPS man and I are on a first-name basis.
Here are some tips for shopping online flash sales:
1. Check our site each morning, before the sales start. Shameless plug! Click on Today’s Sample Sales to see a current list of what’s going on sale. Your best bet is to check this before 10:00am each day so you’ll know what time to get online later. You can also subscribe to our mailing list to get the sales in your email inbox each morning.
2. Get online on time! Each sample sale tends to run for about 24 to 72 hours, or until sold out – and let me tell you – sell out they do! For example, one site had vintage Louis Vuitton bags and wallets on sale today starting at 11:00 a.m. and by 11:02 a.m. everything was GONE. Find out what time the sale starts and get online a few minutes early if a brand is featured that you really love. Most sites start sales at either 10 a.m., 11 a.m. or noon, with a few that feature 9:00pm sales as well.
3. Know your Size. I’m a sucker for designer denim. Joe’s Jeans, Diesel Jeans, AG Adriano Goldschmied, 7 for All Mankind, I can’t get enough. So what I do is I’ll go to Saks Fifth Avenue or Nordstrom during the week and try on the styles I like to see what size I am. Then when I see my favorite brands go on sale, I know I’m a size 29 (if its a skinny day, if not, a 30!) and I can buy my denim with confidence. I also know that I’m a size 8 in Calvin Klein dresses, but an 6 in Donna Ricco’s dresses… a girl’s got to know these things! This leads into #4…
4. Check out the site’s Return Policy. So you ordered the jeans and they don’t fit! Oh no! Many offer returns but for store credit only, or some allow returns within a certain number of days. However there are also often “final sale” events where prices are discounted even more drastically. These items are not returnable. Great deal, but if the item doesn’t fit, you must accept it, or do what I do and sell it on eBay to recoup what you’ve spent, or bring these items to your local consignment shop. You might even make money on your misfortune that your item didn’t work out.
5. Go Classic. Understand that many items are from a prior season. As long as you are okay with this, you can find great classic pieces that will still work in your wardrobe for years to come. Things like designer jeans, the perfect shift dress, handbags and shoes will become staples in your wardrobe for seasons to come. And really – do brands like Gucci or Burberry ever go out of style? I think not.
6. Be Willing to Walk Away. If all the good stuff goes before you get online, don’t let your adrenaline get the best of you and buy something that you are not in love with just because it is a good deal. Flash sales create a sense of urgency, but don’t let it fool you into buying something you didn’t really want anyway. If you don’t find what you were looking for, there will always be another sale. Also, make sure the sale price is really a good deal by doing a quick price comparison with other online shops, like Amazon, for example. Recently Gilt Groupe tried to fool consumers by offering a $125 retail piggy bank for a whopping $329, PLUS $65 shipping. Deal? Not so much. Who buys a piggy bank for even $125, really?!
7. Oh No, My Item Sold Out! If you missed out on that must-have item, some sites have a “wait list” feature or a “still want it“. This way, if someone returns an item because it didn’t fit or they just didn’t like it, you will be notified when the item is returned to the store or if the store gets more in stock. Once I put a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses on my wait list and a few weeks later, voila, I received an e-mail that I could purchase a pair for $45! I’m currently testing out Rue La La’s Still Want It feature. I added a Michael Kors handbag to my Still Want It, and I’m praying it works!
With these tips you’ll be a flash sale shopping pro in no time. Click here for a list of ALL the sample sale and flash sale sites! Be sure to share your flash sale scores with us on our Facebook page!
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