9 Ways to NOT Get Screwed Over by Social Shopping

If you are turned off by Black Friday there are ways to save money on products without literally buying into this terrible social and economic monster we’ve created. Please read up on Black Friday and all the ways that it is harming our society. Which reminds me to share this post about social shopping!

Social shopping apps are growing like crazy, and if you’re an avid (addicted?) shopper then you’ve probably already checked out the latest way to save money on your favorite brands. It’s also an amazing way to SELL the perfectly good items sitting in your closet. Because sometimes we make emotional purchases, and not everyone is good at gifting.  However, it’s easy to get screwed when you’re not buying an item in person not to mention that most of these sites do not allow returns. Which is why you need this list of ways to social shop like a boss.

The two apps I have experience with are Poshmark and Mercari. I prefer Poshmark for the experience and Mercari for the prices; it’s like Nordstrom vs. Target.
1. Ask Quality Control Questions.

Ask for images of the actual item; people love to post the images from the website (which is stealing, BTW) because it boosts sales. Yeah, that’s why the website spent on that money to get those images! But it leaves you without a visual of the item and you may be surprised by some one else’s definition of “Excellent Used Condition”. It’s also important to see the true color of the item…we’ve all been burned by that through on-line shopping. “Is the color in the image true to life? If not, could you try to get a photo in natural light?”

Current condition is huge which is why questions like, “how many times has it been worn?” and “how many times has it been washed?” will give you important info. Stay alert for phrases like, “I don’t know, maybe around 10?” That’s code for, “I wore this A LOT.” Ask about the care of the item, “Was this put in the drier or air dried?” Because shrinkage is a real thing! Ask is there was tailoring or repair, “Has there been any non-original sewing done to it?” Because what might have STARTED as a 27×34 could have been fitted to someone else’s body.

Most importantly, ask about flaws. Any defects? Stains, rips, tears, holes, or other? Signs of wear? Ask to see them! If you think you see a flaw in an image don’t be afraid to ask for clarification! Any seller that gets huffy about answering questions is probably hiding something.

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2. Do Your Research.

Find out as much as you can about this item you’re now obsessed with. How much was it originally? When was it put out by the designer? Is it still available? How much is it currently being listed for if it’s still available is it now on sale?

This will all help you know what price is fair. If the item is 5 years old but NWT (New With Tags) it has still depreciated in value simply because of time. Is it current season, never worn, NWT, AND super trendy? It could go for almost retail! But, remember, clothing and cars both depreciate in value as soon as they leave the lot. Don’t pay retail for something you could drive to the mall and get WITHOUT shipping costs. (Unless you just don’t want to support the retailed, which is totally legit, but a different listicle.) Also, beware a price that seems too good to be true. Because you know the old adage, I don’t even have to say it.

The seller below is awesome because she pictured the sticker price so I didn’t have to google it! I got them for $8 instead of $14.90!
3. Get the Measurements.

Ask for inseam, sleeve length, full length of garment, across the hips, across the waist, rise of the pants, across the chest…or any measurement that is important to your fit! You don’t even have to know your own measurements! Simply measure clothing you wear that’s comparable to the item you’re considering and see if the numbers match up!

If a seller doesn’t know how to measure the clothing that is a problem! Familiarize yourself with the “usual” numbers for each measurement so you’ll be able to spot when someone probably just doesn’t know how to use the measuring tape.

This seller is so nice! She actually updated the length of the shirt dress in the official listing for everyone to see it. I am really hoping to sell some items quickly because I want this shirt dress so badly!!

abitha-bigbee-an-honest-life-poshmark-measure
4. What is the Seller’s Rating?
This seems obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in the adrenaline of on-line shopping and forget to background check the seller. Lurk on their listings to find out if they’re someone you want to deal with. What’s their response rate? Do they ship in a timely manner? Are they nice to people in comments? Is there a lot of drama in their comments? Is this someone you want to buy from? Do you feel they are trustworthy? If your gut shies away from a seller then move on; ain’t nobody got time for that.

Love Notes are reviews from buyers! This is a great place to see what real buyers have to say about a seller you are thinking of purchasing from.
5. Be honest with yourself about your expectation of an item!

You’re not shopping at Nordstrom right now. You’re bargain hunting. Check in with yourself to make sure your expectations are on point because even a Brand New With Tags (BNWT) item is coming from someone’s house and not the store or warehouse. Do you love ripping open a sealed plastic bag? Does the smell of fresh sizing (the fabric stuff they spray on clothing to make it look fancy) make your heart skip a beat? Social shopping may not be for you.
It IS fair to ask if an item is coming from a pet and smoke free environment.

6. Negotiate Price.

But don’t be a dick. Be informed about the cost of the item when it was new and then break the price down from there based on amount of wear, age of item, rarity, etc. Making an offer or negotiating a price is half the fun/battle of social shopping. When done right both parties win! Offering 50% less than the listing price is a waste of everyone’s time. If you feel it’s truly that over-priced then move on to another closet. But at the same time, don’t be afraid to make a reasonable offer! You never know what kind of deal you could score!

There is always that “unicorn” item that actually appreciates in value. You’ll see this with brands like Lululemon and Wildfox who have limited runs on styles. Something that was sold once in fall of 2015 and FLEW off the rack can be re-sold for MORE than retail value because of a little thing called “Supply and Demand”. If you don’t like it, then don’t shop it. If you have to have it, then cough up the money and feel smug about your super rare leggings.

Example: This girl below is being pretty rude by offering $20 on an item listed for $45. That’s more then 50% off.

tabitha-bigbee-an-honest-life-poshmark-offer

7. Know The Rules.

Like, who pays for shipping? How is this item getting to you? Your seller could be anywhere. Find out from the app or site exactly what mail service is used, who pays for the shipping, and within what time frame should you receive your new obsession? It is coming protected in a box or just in an envelope? These are things you need to know before you order so that your expectations are set. Different platforms have different ways of handling shipping. You will find all possible options out there so just make sure you know how much you need to tack on to the price tag of the item.

Find out how you are protected or NOT protected by the platform. Read all the rules and regulations about buying and selling so that you cannot be duped whether buying or selling. What are the rules regarding items that do NOT match what you were told in the pre-purchase conversation? This is where asking all those questions and getting the images of the item comes into play. If you get an item that has been totally misrepresented you can refer back to the conversations and be protected. Which leads us to…

DO NOT accept an item until you have thoroughly inspected it!

It’s so much fun to get your package in the mail and hit the little “I Got It!” button. BUT WAIT. Did you try it on? Is it actually the item you thought you were buying? Are there any defects that weren’t disclosed to you? Be 100% sure before you report that you’re happy. As soon as you report that you received exactly what you thought you were getting you have no recourse for a bum deal.

8. Stick to Brands You Know.

Social shopping sites are a terrible way to try new brands. Stick to designers whose cut you already know and love! If you think you found a deal on a brand you’ve never worn you can ask for all the measurements in the world and still end up with an adorable pair of jeans that you can’t button. It’s a faux pas to head to the store and try on all the styles you saw on line and then go purchase from a social site because you’ve just wasted their time. The only time this could slide is at discount or warehouse stores like Nordstrom Rack where you’re helping yourself to begin with. But remember those items are frequently there because they are somehow sub-standard.

Also, it never hurts to know the actual style number of what you’re looking for and ask the seller to list it if it’s printed on the tag. Higher end designers do this. Something from Forever 21 or Target? Not so much. Which leads to the final point!

9. Shop Quality.

Don’t bother with items that are already cheap in the stores! That top from Forever 21 that’s listed for $10? It was $10 IN STORE! And will only last you a few washes. This is an opportunity to level up your wardrobe without blowing your budget! It’s appealing to see items under $10, but ask yourself, “How and why is this so cheap? Was it probably cheap to start with? Why do I want something cheaply made?” And then leave that closet immediately.

Beware of trendy brands with terrible quality. They sell for far more than they are worth simply because they are “cool”. I don’t want to name names but one major offender is a Southern California beach babe staple and has been known for their cheeky tees, slouchy chic style, and unfortunate quality. The under 21 set can’t get enough of it because of the lifestyle branding they’ve been sold, but you’re smarter than that! Invest in quality items you can count on and enjoy for more than 2 seasons.

 

 

Interested in getting your own Poshmark account? If you use this link and enter my code you get $5! Code: BGVXV

tabitha-bigbee-an-honest-life-poshmark-everlane

 

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