My latest shopping obsession is The Real Real, where you can get gently worn or brand new designer clothes at a fraction of the price. I’m a big fan of the “thrill of the hunt” when it comes to getting a deal so it’s become a daily ritual for me to visit The Real Real to see if anything catches my eye. I’ve gotten designer clothing, handbags, shoes and accessories for more than 75% off at The Real Real, so I know a thing or two. #humblebrag Lucky for you, I’m sharing some of my tips for shopping The Real Real:
1. Set calendar reminders. New merchandise is posted twice a day at 10 AM and 7 PM. You want to be online at those times to make sure you get first dibs on the goods. Anecdotally I think they post more merchandise in the morning, but I can’t prove it.
2. Create feeds. One of the best ways to cut through the clutter is to create feeds of your favorite brands or items that you’re specifically looking for. That way when new merchandise is released it will pop up in your feed and be easily viewable. You can create a new feed by browsing or from saving a keyword search. Make sure to hit “refine” to input your sizes. I have feeds for random things like denim shoes (currently on the hunt), elastic waists (more comfortable and forgiving!) and Nili Lotan (love that line).
3. Be patient. Unless something is an item you will die for if you miss it, don’t buy anything right away. Favorite everything that you find interesting. People can still buy it if you favorite, but it will give you time to think about it.
4. Buy in bulk. Once I have a bunch of items favorited I buy as much as possible at once. The Real Real charges $11.95 for shipping no matter how much you buy so to save money you want to consolidate your shipments. They also make you pay for return shipping. Usually 70% of what I buy I return so I try to consolidate that return shipment, too.
Another reason to wait to buy in bulk is that they frequently have promotions that reward you with store credit it you buy a certain amount. For example, spend $250 get $50 back in credit or spend $500 get $100 back.
5. Make sure you can return it. The Real Real gets a little persnickety with returns. Items that are on sale, handbags, swimwear, luggage and beauty are not returnable. Make sure you click the little plus sign on the item to check before you purchase. You only have 14 days to request a return so make sure you do that. You have 21 days total to get the items back to the return center.
6. Don’t forget the 20% off coupon. For the last few months they haven’t bothered to change it; “REAL” is the promo code.
Michelle Madhok is an online shopping expert and the founder of SHEfinds Media, publisher of SheFinds.com. Her tips for online shopping have been featured in magazines, TV shows, news segments, radio, and popular websites.