Your New Secret to Majorly Discounted Shopping - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

#HilaryRowland

Your New Secret to Majorly Discounted Shopping

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eBay

If you want deep discounts on clothing, the best way to get them is to shop on eBay. This is how I get all my clothing at 90% off. Don’t just buy the first thing you see. Here’s my 6-step process, and how to get the best prices (I go into more detail below):

  1. Figure out what brands you like and what size you are.
  2. Search for it and narrow down the results until the descriptions for the items showing up are basically what you want. Select a price range (keep it low) on the left, and specify your size.
  3. Click “save search”, so it’ll email you daily with the new listings. In your email, filter them into a folder and check that folder every few days.
  4. When something good comes up at a low price, copy the Item ID.
  5. Paste the Item ID into www.myibidder.com (it’s free), and it’ll bid for you in the last few seconds, so you don’t have to wait around for the auction to end. Say the item is at $50 and you’d pay a max of $120 for it, well MyiBidder will bid $51, and if someone else has a max of $80, then the price will go up to $80, then MyiBidder will bid $81, and you’ll win it for that.
  6. Pay via PayPal using your AMEX (which has great buyer protection), and wait for your item to be delivered. Fun!

Your New Secret to Majorly Discounted Shopping

Here’s everything you need to know, in more detail:

 

Know the value of the merchandise

It is important to know if an item on eBay is listed at less than its regular price. You will be upset if you pay more for an item online than it sells for at a department store. Peruse catalogues and visit shops to know the retail price of an item. When shopping online, read the item description closely to find the material, as well as whether it is new or used. Both help determine its value.

Look for keywords

When buying designer items, look for the word “authentic” in the item title or description. Beware of descriptions that say “designer-like” or “designer-style”. Most likely these items are knock-offs. Also, locate misspelled listings – they are likely to have fewer bidders.

Set saved searches

Your New Secret to Majorly Discounted Shopping

I search for items I like, in my size, and narrow the search down until I think it’ll capture when someone lists the items I want. Then I save the search. eBay will then send me a daily digest of the new listing that fit that search. I filter these into a box in my email (so they don’t clutter up my InBox), and look through them every so often. I usually find what I’m looking for after a week or two.

Know your measurements

Most power-sellers include size charts with their garments or will have exact measurements in the item’s description. I personally prefer to stick to brands I know fit me well. Keep in mind that a used item may have stretched or shrunk from its original size.

Check feedback

Always look at the seller’s feedback. This feature rates sellers on service. They don’t need to have 100 per cent positive feedback. For example, a seller who has sold more than 500 items and has 98 per cent positive feedback is more credible than a seller who has sold three items with 100 per cent positive feedback. Their rating should be at least 95 per cent and the more items they’ve sold the better.

Check delivery charges and payment methods

An item usually lists delivery charges. Keep this in mind when bidding. If a listing does not specify the delivery charges ask the seller BEFORE bidding. All auctions require the buyer to pay for shipping and handling unless stated otherwise. As for payment methods, PayPal is the most common. Again, check which payment methods are accepted before bidding.

Check the location

If possible, bid only on items that are from the country where you reside to avoid being slapped with a customs surcharge. Be cautious of sellers from Asia as they produce a lot of replica (fake) items.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

eBay shopping is straightforward to find exactly what you want because a photograph and description accompanies almost every item. However, if you are not provided with enough information, feel free to ask questions about an item. Ask questions BEFORE bidding though. This is proper eBay etiquette and will save you and the seller from frustration.

Use a sniper

Your New Secret to Majorly Discounted ShoppingBidding too early can raise the price of an item. It also decreases your chances of winning the auction. I learned this the hard way a year ago when I bid on a fabulous Roberto Cavalli dress three days before the auction ended. I was outbid in the last half-hour of the auction. I wanted the dress so badly that I entered a higher maximum bid. I was outbid again in the last five minutes of the auction. I bid again. I won the auction but spent much more on the dress than I intended. You can avoid all this by using an eBay auction sniper. It’ll bid for you (automatically) in the last 5 seconds. That way you’ll keep the bids low and you won’t have to be by your computer when the auction ends.

Look at the seller’s other items and eBay Stores

Many eBay power-sellers have an eBay store where you can find great items at low buy-it-now prices. Look at the seller’s other items or their eBay store if you need an item in another size or color. Also, if you have interest in buying more than one item from the same seller, ask for combined shipping to save money. Periodic visits to eBay stores help me find exactly what I want. You can buy styles that are impossible to find anywhere else. This is ideal for anyone who lives in an area with limited access to stores and outlets. I always do an eBay stores search in addition to a regular search because sometimes different items pop-up. Some of my favorite eBay stores include bm-co, prada-m and designer-exchange.

Pay using AMEX

American Express also has fantastic chargeback policies that favor the buyer (you). If PayPal fails to do a chargeback on an item that the seller won’t refund you for, AMEX is a guaranteed backup.

Relax

Your New Secret to Majorly Discounted ShoppingRemember that eBay shopping is safe. Both eBay and PayPal have fraud protection programs that are effective. I recommend that you do NOT make any purchases outside of eBay as you will not be protected, regardless of how attractive an offer from a seller may seem. Remember that eBay works on an effective feedback system and that the majority of fraudulent transactions are reported to the eBay community.

Once you get into it, you’ll find that the reward is well worth the effort. At first, I was hesitant to shop online. But now that my entire wardrobe consists of designer shoes and brand name clothing, I am hooked. Shopping for clothes on eBay costs a fraction of original prices without having to waste time rummaging through sales racks at department stores. Your eBay shopping experience will be uncomplicated and valuable, and you’ll have the best wardrobe imaginable.

——-

UPDATE:

I got an email from GILT’s PR / media relations, who wanted us to change this article. This was the rationalization:

“We take this very seriously at Gilt.com, and have many processes in place to verify retail. [The “retail/original” price listed on GILT’s sales] of all products on our site reflects […] the price reported by the manufacturer [and] may not always represent the prevailing price for retailers or department stores on every day or in every community. For international sales, the Full Retail Price is based on what such items would be sold at in the US market or in the worldwide online market, plus taxes, shipping and additional international surcharges, if applicable.”

So it sounds like they basically figure out how they can make it sound the highest, between what the manufacturer says, the highest price it’s selling for anywhere, and what other charges they can add to the “retail” price like tax, duty, and shipping that some customers may have had to pay depending on where they would have bought it (but the sale price doesn’t include that, of course). Hmmm….

I personally think that strategy is very misleading at best, and I replied and said that the only price that people care about is the item’s current price at other stores — not the absolute maximum price it has historically sold for anywhere, including duty and tax, etc!

What experiences with online shopping have you had?

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A writer, artist and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary spends most of her time in France, but still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC and has traveled extensively around the world, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

69 Comments

  1. James Hannks

    Going to use this advice buy cheaper kicks. Buying at Nike, and Adidas is very expensive. I will give it a try on eBay.

    • Steev Smith

      I was thinking of that too. Our technology is fast upgrading, and before we knew, we are living in the future.

  2. George Sumanta

    This article is a whack! I love how you teach us to how to get huge discounts on eBay, Thanks for sharing your secret! Love you, Hilary.

  3. Dawn Katz

    You are very lucky to have a conversation with Zac Posen!!!! He’s my idol when it comes to designing. Waaa!!!

  4. Kimberly Holder

    You are an amazing person, Hilary! When I was at school I used to live way out in the countryside with no means of getting to the ‘cool’ shops let alone affording anything – we weren’t very well off. Buying and selling on ebay was a great way for me to keep up with trends and have nice things that I wouldn’t normally be able to access or afford. I haven’t used it in years as back then it required a lot of time and commitment but maybe I should give it another go today – it is better for the environment to shop second hand.

  5. Kathryn Gibson

    I and my husband are fans of online shopping. Most of the time we are at work, and we don’t have spare time to buy things at the malls. I thank eBay for saving us!

  6. Blanche Martina

    Online shopping is very popular today. They don’t want to waste time looking for parking spaces and driving to the malls.

  7. Jodi Thil

    Wow! Thanks, Hilary. You taught us how to purchase things through online! It’s not easy, especially for beginners. Thanks! love love

  8. Candis Melton

    What I like on eBay is that you can buy items around the world. I purchased stuff from Asia. You must pay the shipping fee, but it’s all worth it once you get the items.

  9. Joss Butler

    I let my girlfriend read this article, and I’m just staring at her. I watched her laughing and smiling like a crazy woman. Lol.

  10. Kylie Johnson

    I use eBay regularly and have for years, same thing – followed searches, sometimes I have exceeded my maximum searches…but I have never shilled ( I don’t sell, just buy) and I find some of the tactics in this article a bit off-putting. That said, many, many things can come your way if you are patient. It took nearly ten years for a pair of amazing pumps to show up in my size, and new to boot. It took even longer for a pair of nearly-vanished cowboy boots to show up in my size (apparently ALL the people with size 10s either threw ’em out eventually or didn’t list them on eBay!) but they did..and barely worn. I have had some amazing, amazing scores over the years. And yes, the thrill of the hunt cannot be denied. And there is perhaps no victory as sweet as that of being the victor in a bidding war. 🙂

  11. Patricia Montague

    I never tried bidding on eBay. Is it hard? What if you lose? Or what if the price s too much than expected? Hmm..

    • Katherine Donnelly

      You should try buying on eBay! Of course, you should be very careful with that. Like what Hilary said, know the value of the merchandise.

  12. Carol Joyner

    My friends are addicted to online shopping, and I am not. I want to see the items personally, so I can see if it has any damage or if the item is perfect to my eyes.

  13. Olive Williams

    I knew it! One kings lane is not worthy. If you want to purchase cheaper items, you can always search online. What’s the use of Google if don’t use it?

  14. Robert Patel

    What? The items will arrive after a month? What kind of online shop is that? It’s not worth it!

    • Sara Williams

      I know! I ordered a lamp from One Kings Lane and it took THREE WEEKS to arrive!!

  15. Carrie Bleau

    When it comes to sizing, search for the brand about how they measure the sizes. Adidas has different sizing than the other shoes. Knowing the size of your shoes converted to their size chart is important so you can purchase the right size of shoes that you need.

  16. Wilma Moore

    What I want to know is what things people look for… of course, a true list would screw up the chances you’d find them because a fellow Urbanette commenter is on the same path. Naturally the best things to get are things you 100% know your size for – I got some great aqua Frye boots that way. Then designer things that are more mid-market than super high – so there are a lot of them out there (like the example of Mulberry bags) but they aren’t too crappy like the hordes of JCrew/Banana out there. I look for Sonia Rykiel sweaters, older coach bags. Been looking for Jil Sander stuff for a long time with only minimal success though.

    • Sherry Manust

      Checking feedback is very helpful. Don’t be stupid when buying items online. Lol

      • Julie F

        I wholeheartedly agree. That works on the seller side too though. Buyers can falsely claim that the items they receive are “not as advertised,” in order to bypass a no-return policy or to avoid return shipping fees if they’ve just changed their minds. More often than not EBay takes their side and offers a refund to the buyer. I had a nightmarish experience years ago with a buyer who falsely claimed damage on an expensive bag—EBay immediately withdrew the funds from my account and it took months to resolve 🙁

  17. Kelly Gonzales

    Yep! Know the real value of the item. Checking them at their physical stores will help you a lot. Compare the price, and if you think it’s worth it, grab it!

  18. Evelyn Harris

    Oh, Hilary. You are very talented. Reading your articles is my past time and my relaxation after work. You don’t just inspire people, but you help them too.

  19. Hena Taylor

    There’s a tool like that? It will be very useful for bidders! They don’t have to wait and check the items as it bids automatically. I like that tool. 😀

    • Ani Hoker

      Yes, we have that kind of tool. It’s amazing, right? Give it a try. I’ve been using it since I started buying on eBay.

  20. Anila William

    You have different varieties if you shop through online. You can purchase items from different countries, but you have to pay for their shipping fee (it’s expensive than the regular).

  21. Bela Christo

    I only trust eBay when it comes to online shopping. I have nothing against to the other online shops, but I’m just careful because I might lose some bucks.

    • Ana Brose

      I agree! I only shop on eBay because it is safe. You have to be careful when it comes to online shopping.

  22. Mike Verti

    I will share this with my girlfriend. She can now shop without dragging me to the mall. My leg hurts whenever we go shopping.

    • cries moris

      Hahaha! Your girlfriend must be a shopaholic. Funny how you like this post because you want to avoid being dragged to the malls. Haha

  23. Allen Kathleen

    Yeah, just ensure you get the right item. Why would you take a risk buying online, if you can drive and go to the malls? I don’t get the point.

  24. Amelia Beckons

    I bought shoes on eBay for like a third of the real price. I started purchasing items on eBay more often but of course, when bidding you must really think if it is worth it or not. I try not to buy on impulse.

  25. Oh.. I can’t believe you bought D&G boots that cost $1050 at the price of $160! Is that brand new? How did it happen? Why are they cheaper than the store? I want answers. Lol.

  26. Britni Baynes

    90% discount on a branded items? Is that for real? You can’t even get 70% discount at their physical stores! Wow! I will try buying on eBay starting from now.

  27. Jeweli Prater

    Your articles are very useful. I invited my friends to your website, and now they are more addicted that me. They love your articles a lot.

  28. Zerin Martin

    $160 for D&G boots? You must be kidding me! Seriously? Wow! I am speechless. I envy you, Hilary, Lol

    • Lancy Stanford

      Me too! I hope I can get a deal just like that!

  29. I always buy furniture at the one kings, and I am disappointed in this. They are fooling customers just to purchase their items. I know that this is a business strategy, but they are lying.

  30. Buying on Ebay can be expensive if the buyer has to pay for shipping of the products. If the products are bulky or heavy, the buyer may end up paying high shipping fees and spending MORE!

  31. Sarah M.

    Despite the convenience, there is an element of risk associated with buying online. The fact that you can’t actually see the person selling and products being sold, you might end up getting an unpleasant surprise when products are delivered to your door.

  32. Marina Josef

    I like online buying. It’s hassle-free, and you can shop anytime, and anywhere you want. I’m addicted to it. I rarely go to the mall to buy things, as online stores are easy to view.

    • Sasha

      I love online shopping too 🙂 Aside from the points you mentioned, I noticed that online shop items are more “varied.” But we should always be careful! Lots of scammers… 😡😠

  33. Caren Sipos

    Hah! Finally! Someone speaks about how other online sellers’ tactics. 70% discount on an item? Are you going to believe that? That’s hilarious!

  34. Luthi Sanders

    OMG! I must tell my parents about the One Kings Lane. They are a huge fan of that store because of their discounts. Now I know that their big discounts are all joke. Thanks, Hilary!

    • Queenie Larsen

      Yeah! Secrets revealed! Thanks for writing about it!

  35. Marina Bozek

    My friend is a fan of online purchasing. I see nothing wrong with that, but I’m not impressed. I need to see the items personally before purchasing it.

    • Donna Summers

      I’m with you, I’d rather buy clothes at sales in a shop where I can try them on and see the condition and quality. I have been ‘stung’ on Ebay by garments that were ill-fitting, a different color or plain shabby when they arrived.

  36. Kseniya Tomlin

    I used to buy furniture at one kings lane. I like their furniture, but they have a poor quality of service. My item arrived after 7 days, and I tried eBay, the transaction is fast and smooth.

    • Thina

      Agree! Buying on eBay is fun and easy! 🤣👏

  37. Jesse Wyss

    Zac Posen!!! Wow! I am jealous. lol. I love Zac Posen!! You both look great in that picture. My two inspiration, in one picture. How lovely, isn’t it?

    • Jasmin

      IKR!!! 😍

  38. Jessie Fernande

    Wow! You are a shopaholic, Hilary. You have an extraordinary talent when it comes to online buying. I don’t usually buy things through online, but after reading this, I will try to buy on eBay.

  39. Yuliya Bruce

    There is always good and bad side in every story. In online buying, it is more convenient for the buyers, but you must be very careful.

    • Oscar

      There are pros and cons to everything! Doing research is very important!

  40. Lana Wiliam

    Buying items through online can save you time. I used to buy stuff at the mall, and I discovered Ebay. Be patient when looking for the right deal.

    • Chanelle L.

      I love Ebay because it brings a wide range of products I want to buy in the mall or on one website. I get to browse for these products and select what I want in my own time, I can also compare prices and pick the exact products I need.

  41. Alena Martin

    Online buying is more convenient than buying at the physical store. I thank the technology for that, as I can shop whenever, and wherever I want.

  42. Randie Cadiogan

    I think it’s important to note that we should always be cautious especially when shopping online. No matter how much it is that we are spending online, it’s still “hard-earned” money that of course, we don’t want to waste.

    I believe a “trusted” online seller is someone who has been in online business for  5+ years and have gained more than a hundred comment. A trusted online seller is someone who has sold both expensive and cheap products. Particularly for eBay, these points can always be checked which I really appreciate 🙂

  43. Very useful tips!!! One downside: now I’m obsessed with calculating all the money I wasted paying full price for everything! :/ LOL

  44. Joanne Samonte

    Mmmm… I'm so glad I came across this article in time for my holiday shopping 🙂

  45. Sarah Evanston

    Hi, I want to say thanks for giving valuable information regarding online shopping. This article was really helpful because use eBay and other online shopping sites frequently. This article is worth sharing!

  46. Jen Garcia

    Beware of online scammers! There are a lot of them present online. Online shopping is good (or I can say it’s the best because I don’t have to waste so much time in line at the cashier especially during holiday rush) but every online shopper NEEDS to be careful ALWAYS!

    • Cathleen

      You’re right! Shoppers need to be cautious. One thing they need to do is to be on the lookout for people selling fake (or even stolen) items on Ebay. Some sellers claim that the item they’re selling is the real thing, completely authentic when it’s not.

  47. Courtney Watson

    I just recently tried shopping via eBay. And I definitely agree with the author that if you bid early, there’s a big chance of spending more than what you actually allotted for a particular item. What I do now is if I want an item, I set a budget and I stick to it. I make sure to have 3 choices so that if I get out-bidden, I still have options.

    Checking the seller’s feedback helps a lot! In this time and age, it’s hard to just spend your money to “dishonest” sellers.

    Always shop with caution!

  48. I'd never thought of visiting eBay for discounts, but that's a great tip! Will definitely try it out next time I need something.

  49. Once you said Ebay!!! I knew exactly what you're talking about. I'm a bargain hunter myself and manage to always find great deals on ebay for possibly anything. I always tell my friends about it, and they seem to still not try it. Last year I decorated my whole room from decals to even bought a canopy to put over my bed for all cheap prices. It's simply amazing.

  50. Jen Spillane

    I love eBay! Thanks for the tips!

  51. Reading this article was extremely helpful; now I will definitely visit eBay to find online shopping options and skip the expensive "discount" designer websites. Being careful online is super important, so ironing out shipping or any details that may confuse you will increase your chances of a successful (and gorgeous) purchase on eBay.

  52. Francis Woods

    I love online shopping! To successfully shop online:
    1. I make sure to bookmark / follow “trusted” sellers.
    2. I go for those who offer free shipping. It’s very economical and convenient. 🙂

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