Sales aren’t for cheapskates anymore. With the economy still in a state of despair, sales are the new black. Sites like Bluefly and Overstock have long offered last season’s designer goods at steep discounts, but those just don’t feel exclusive and urgent enough to get buyers to to splurge right here, right now.
Enter “restricted” shopping sites. These sites claim to limit entry to friends of people already on the site (which means they are restricted for about a day and then everyone gets in.) But their real sell is that they offer designer goods at steep discounts for a very limited time. It’s the buy now or forever hold your cash philosophy. And it apparently works. People love to think they’re getting a good deal. Sites like Gilt, Ideeli, Rue La La, OneKingsLane and others are making bank convincing shoppers if they don’t get in on a sale they’re going to be miserable forever.
I’ve long believed that a sale is only as valuable as whether or not you actually need what you buy. In my previous life, I was guilty of shopping the sale rack and feeling pride leaving a store when I got a “steal.” And that “steal” often ended up in the back of my closet, never to be worn.
Designer goods tend to either be beautiful or just plan odd. Trends don’t last. There is a reason an item is on sale. If you’re going to shop a sale, whether that be at the mall or on a restricted shopping site, know what you are looking for “before going in.” This way you won’t end up with credit card debt from buying a whole bunch of “great deals.” These sites are probably best shopping for gifts since you can spend less for more expensive goods. But in shopping for yourself, don’t get caught by the lure of the sale.
For more about these sites, check out the latest post by the Cranky Consumer on The Wall Street Journal.