Recently I’ve gotten hooked on a new form of online shopping: Private Sale Sites. Well, it’s new to me, anyway, & as far as I know, it’s fairly new online in general.
If you’ve tried it, you’re probably hooked, too. If you haven’t, well…lemme help you with the introductions.
Private Sale Sites are member-only websites where the company purchases items in bulk, then makes them available for a pre-determined number of days (referred to as an event) with a percentage off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (or MSRP). The average discount is about 60%, based on my experience.
Imagine a virtual Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s, but smaller, more catered, & light years more stylish.
These sites cater to women, especially mothers, offering mostly women’s & children’s clothes, shoes, & jewelry. However, many other things also appear, like toys, books, furniture, kitchen wares, gifts, wall art, & items for entertaining. Products range from high-profile designers to boutique companies.
The most addicting part of private sale sites? Seeing what new items have gone on sale today!
They tease, tease, tease, allowing you to see an item or two in a “preview” picture with the date the sale will start. If you sign up for the email, you’ll get the daily sales right in your inbox with the ability to click to any sale that might catch your fancy. And then let the wonders be revealed.
I’ve always been a shopper. Got it from my mom. Thankfully, she at least taught me to look for good deals, so I’m able to satisfy my shopping urge without breaking the bank. She taught me how fun window shopping can be. She also taught me (unintentionally, I’m sure) to keep a running mental log of items I’d like to purchase “some day.” And finally, she taught me the art of purging, through gifting, garage sales, & charitable donations. Sadly, I had to learn temperance on my own. I’m still learning.
I say all this as part warning & part reassurance. If you’ve inherited the shopping bug, these sites can offer overwhelming temptation if you’re not careful. But if you’ve learned self-discipline & restraint, these sites can be loads of fun while saving you some hard-earned coin on items you would’ve purchased elsewhere anyway.
I’m not going to lie. I’ve splurged a couple times on things I probably wouldn’t have bought otherwise, but overall, I’m enjoying the daily thrill of “look, don’t touch” with my self-restraint firmly in hand.
So here we go.
- Zulily – This is probably my favorite of all the private sale sites. I’ve found the most relevant-to-me deals here, & although they charge shipping (haven’t found a PSS yet that doesn’t), on weekends they apply only one shipping charge to all the purchases you make from Friday through Sunday. That can add up pretty quickly. Zulily offers primarily clothes & shoes, but they liberally sprinkle in other items to keep things interesting. You just never know which sprinkles they’ll offer. (Well, you do if you scroll through the previews, but that takes some of the fun out of my inbox.) Their products are generally from the middling price range of items (e.g. Carters, Applebottoms, Calvin Klein). I visit their site daily via their email notifications to let my eyes wander through their new stock. (I kinda wish I worked there.)
- Totsy – This is another site that I enjoy visiting daily. It’s very similar to Zulily in prices & products, but they’re not quite as nice with the shipping. They charge shipping for every order you place, regardless if it’s the same day or weekend. Since I’m a stickler for having to pay as little as possible for shipping online purchases, I head to Zulily first. However, Totsy still offers great deals, & I’ve dressed my girls in some beyond-adorable outfits from this stellar site. Just don’t browse too long if you’ve added stuff to your shopping cart. You’ve got 15 minutes to buy it before they put it back on the “shelf.”
- Fab.com – I have found that this site offers a far broader product selection than any other PSS I’ve yet perused. However, I have never purchased anything from this site, primarily because the products tend to be in the higher price range, & thus, even with the commendable discounts, they remain outside of my grasp. Fab.com does a cute little thing where each day is themed, like Pet Wednesdays. Thus their new sales are formed around the daily theme. They offer some stunning art work & furniture. I’ve drooled over more than a few. If you’ve got the cash, this PSS might be just the ticket.
- My Habit – Amazon was actually my first introduction to PSS shopping, although I’ve yet to purchase anything through them. They invited me to try My Habit, so I did. I must admit, they didn’t offer much selection at the time (one or two items for a whole week), & it was generally things I wasn’t interested in (like purses). However, they appear to have gotten their act together & might have a shot in the PSS world. I’ve just stopped junking their emails, so I’ll start checking them out along with my other favs. I’m not sure what their price level is, but it’s Amazon, so I’ve got a little hope. (I do find their name a little depressing though. It sounds an awful lot like a drug addiction. Feel free to discuss.)
- HauteLook – This is the newest PSS I’ve seen on the scene, although it might have been around longer than I’ve known about it. HL offers high-end items, including designer brands, for men, women, & children. Because the discounted prices are so incredibly out of my range (& the clothing sizes are much, much, MUCH too small), I haven’t spent a whole lot of time here. However, I’ve seen more than a few drool-worthy items featured on their site. When I slim down a bit more & if my husband gets a nice raise & if I discover some place to go all dressed up (& if all the stars align juuuuuuuust so), then I might finally make a purchase. Until then, I just skim the daily email & only go to look if something really grabs my attention.
While I’m sure this is not an all-inclusive list of Private Sale Sites, I think it’s a pretty decent introduction to the major players currently on the field. It will be interesting to see who survives (I’d put my money on Zulily) & who fades into the ether.
Have you ever shopped at a PSS? Would you? Do you like the concept? I’d love to hear what you think! Also please let me know of any other PSS’ you’ve found that I didn’t mention above. This mommy’s always looking for a deal.