Secrets to online shopping: How to access the best designer deals

The Internet is reinventing how we shop for fashion. Now, no matter where you live and whatever your budget, the best designer offerings are available to those in the know.

Whether shopping through your phone, sharing shopping secrets through social media, or gaining access to specialized online shopping sites, like members-only private sales, Internet shopping has never been more rewarding. Here’s what you need to know about these exciting shopping trends, and how you can be part of the action:

Get in on the secret

By going online, in a matter of minutes you can compare prices, see availability, place an order or get on a waiting list. Some women use special members-only sales sites that offer great merchandise at incredible prices. The best sites are invitation only, so be on the lookout for email invitations, or friends with memberships that can get you in the virtual front door.

Boutique bonanza

Flash sales – exclusive sales that only last a limited time – make online shopping fun and exciting. For instance, Rue La La offers members today’s top trends, brands and designers with six to eight new daily Boutiques that last 48 hours. The experience is truly appointment shopping – each day you receive an email at 11 a.m. EST letting you in on the new items, brands and designers available that day. These premium and luxury items are up to 70 percent off retail pricing. If the item sells out, members can often still request it and the concierge will work hard to try to find additional availability.

Hassle-free haven

Shopping online allows you to find the best deals on designer fashion without the hassle of driving to the mall and waiting in a long line. When shopping, look for websites that use models to show the clothing and accessories, this and special zoom and angle features will let you know just what it looks like on models – better photography means you can view the item from all angles so there will be no surprises when it arrives at your doorstep.

Shipping and returns made simple

With the increase of online shopping, many retailers offer free shipping or specials to make the value of shopping online even more attractive. Weigh out the options – attractive websites will provide great customer service including the best shipping and return options. Rue La La, for instance, offers the option of paying a single low, shipping fee that covers standard shipping for any additional orders for the next 30 days. As for easy returns, pre-addressed return labels simplify the returns process and make returning an online purchase easier than ever.

Think social for the inside scoop

Online shopping and social networking go hand in hand. Facebook and Twitter are popular social networks for engaging with your favorite brands and gaining unique backstage access to exclusive offers, special savings, and even sneak peeks on upcoming deals.

Coveted convenience

Today there are more ways than ever to shop your favorite top brands through the Internet. Many online stores have apps that you can download to your phone to make the shopping process even more convenient, no matter where you are.

Private sale “appointment shopping” is perfect for mobile devices. For example, Rue La La members can download apps for their iPhone, Android and iPad allowing them shop wherever they are and never miss accessing a Boutique.

Have it all with in-store pickup

Some retailers are now offering the ability to place your order online and pick it up at the physical store location – even on the same day. Now you can shop for your favorite fashion on your lunch break and pick it up on your drive home.