After bringing you our Top Ten Rules For Shopping Online, we're going to give you a few reasons for doing so in the first place. Now, let us preface this by saying that pulling together the examples you see below took all of ten minutes (three of those we spent wondering how these fit) and so take this as a completely uncontrived set of discrepancies in online shopping. Discrepancies we think you should be aware of if only because it won't be like this forever (yes, waaay too good to be true) and because it illuminates why shopping online is exciting (and yet resourceful) in the first place. The five, below.
1. The Season-less There are certain items that are season-less and ordered and reordered a million times over. Now, one site's season-less might be another site's "we'll give this a try" and so you'll necessarily find vast discrepancies. Denim is often caught in this battle. The Acne A Pant, below, is an example. The A Pant by Acne is stocked and restocked by many stores, both online and behind the bricks, so you'll always find it at full price somewhere. That said, if a site (or store) buys a size run and the jeans don't move, well, that's grounds for a markdown. Simple as that.
2. The Coveted Remember when Beanie Babies went from high-stakes eBay gambling to sitting-in-my-aunt's-basement? Well, that's the basic principle behind this reason to shop online. When an item is 'coveted' then retailers will break some of the mark-up and mark-down rules in its light. Because we're online, we can see the different value judgements retailers make on such items. Handbags are commonly treated this way and below, a perfect example. This Derek Lam handbag is marked down to a mere (relatively speaking) $495 when the same bag is online elsewhere at full price. Now, we set out to write this without calling names but we will say this: there's a reason for this discrepancy and it's that eLuxury probably sells a boatload more designer handbags than Shopbop--they've no need to mark down because, in their world, that handbag is still coveted. (Also note the bags are titled as medium and large respectively but are actually the same bag when you look at the measurements and non-sale retail prices).
3. The Inconspicuous This reason for shopping online references those items that get lost in the shuffle. They are neither IT Bags nor memorable catwalk frocks, most often they are just plain 'ol contemporary items that come and go with the seasons. First, note how vastly different this Alexander Wang dress appears on the two sites. The color, title, fit, and texture do not match whatsoever--even though they are the same exact dress. This is why it's important to check out the same item on multiple sites, with or without the cost differences. In the end, once you get past the visual discrepancy, you'll notice that the markdowns are one hundred dollars apart. Although that might not seem like much, the world of online shopping is riddled with these discrepancies and, in the end, those differences add up.
4. The Long Overdue This reason is one that is more difficult to keep up with but important nonetheless. There is a method to moving inventory and it usually follows the frequency of new deliveries. In the most basic sense, for every box you are shipped, you should be moving a a box out through the shopping carts. Because this is impossible to make happen seamlessly choices are made as to how to finally get rid of inventory that has been sitting on the site, even at 50% off, for a long time. The Phillip Lim skirt you see below, as far as we remember, was part of Holiday 07. Why it is still online in multiple places is amazing to us, especially with a secondary offense of the Inconspicuous (which we describe above), staring you in the face. Many items, long overdue, stay online (they do in the stores too) well beyond their seasonal allowance. As a general rule, if it shipped more than six months ago, you'll probably be able to find it for next to nothing and it's likely to be peddled for vastly different sale prices.
5. The Basic Mark Up Observe the Miu Miu flats below. You're probably wondering why we're calling out a mere 66 dollar discrepancy. Well, take a closer look. Those flats are not even on sale. Yep, that's just the basic mark-up. The way it works is that designers set the wholesale costs and retailers, as a general rule, multiple that number by 2.25. That means they make 50% on the sale of a garment (with the extra .25 going towards shipping costs, etc.). This is, however, completely suggested and some stores will mark up by 2.5 or 2.75 if they think the item will sell for that much. Voila--you've got yourself a sixty six dollar reason to shop online.