I'm a pretty big fan of online shopping. Actual in-store shopping is certainly fun, but it's just not as easy - and in the Midwest (or is MN simply the North?), our options are pretty limited.
Over the past few years, I've cultivated an online shopping technique to help me find the best deals on the things I want with a minimal investment of time. The first step is to know, at least generally, what you're looking for. These five tools will help you with the rest:
#1 SHOPSTYLE: for finding
ShopStyle is an online shopping aggregator that lets you shop pretty much all the clothes on the Internet in one place. Filters let you narrow your search by category, brands, stores, colors, price, keywords, etc.
This makes it really simple to find, say, all the white turtleneck sweaters available in your price range. It's also easy to price-compare across multiple retailers and keep a 'favorites' list. And lately, they've curated some super-lovely collections in their Editor's Picks.
ShopStyle does have a sale-alert option built in, though it’s not as fast-responding or detailed as ShopTagr (see below). But if you want to shop, price-compare and set sale alerts all in one spot, ShopStyle is probably your best option.
#2 SHOPTAGR: for sale alerts
ShopTagr is an extension app for your web browser (no mobile app yet) that I use to manage price-drop alerts for items I'm looking to add to my closet.
On a product page, click the button on your browser window to add the item to your tags - you can specify the size, color, and percentage of price drop you want. Choosing the percentage of price drop to be notified of is so helpful in waiting until a particular item drops into your price range. You'll get an email alert if the price drops, if an applicable discount code is available, or if the item is low/back in stock. You do need to log in to their website to view and manage your tags.
If the lack of mobile app is deal breaker for you - or if you want something that’s more broadly focused product-wise - I’ve heard great things about TrackIf.
#3 RETAILMENOT: for promo codes
RetailMeNot is a one-stop-shop for discount codes, promotions and sales both online and in-store. It’s so comprehensive, it’s truly not worth googling around for codes or subscribing to retailers' emails for promos. They have it all, including some exclusive codes.
I like to check the mobile app before I make a purchase to see if there are any codes or coupons I can use, and there often are. It only takes a few seconds to look up the retailer and scroll through offers. There can be expired codes hanging around, but I find them easy to sift through.
#4 EBATES: for money back
I only recently got on board with Ebates - the old method of going to their website before shopping any other site was just too inconvenient, but now they have a browser extension app and I am converted. Once you've installed the browser button, a banner pops up when you visit a participating site. Just click once to activate your Ebates shopping trip (or to dismiss the banner if you're just browsing).
The percentage of cash back you receive depends on the retailer and the day - sometimes there are double-cash-back deals during popular shopping times. You can choose to have a check mailed to you, or to have your cash back deposited into your PayPal account.
#5 PS DEPT: designer shopping wizards
Yes, the personal shoppers of PS Dept. are shopping wizards. They curate the chicest, most covetable designer pieces that you often just can't get on your own. Unless maybe you live in NYC and shop professionally. Which they do.
Their beautiful feed of latest picks and most-asked-for pieces is reason enough to download the app, but you also have access to a dedicated team of professional personal shoppers from many different stores. PS Dept. shoppers can help you snag that Mansur Gavriel bag, find the best coat to add to your winter wardrobe, and style a look for your next event. For someone who lives in the Midwest with limited shopping opportunities, this is pretty amazing.
While some of the sites mentioned here offer referral rewards, this is not a sponsored post. These are the apps that I like and use; I think they're the best shopping apps out there!