Has there been a pair of Citizens of Humanity jeans, Tory Burch flats, or some Hanky Panky unmentionables you have been dreaming of? Do you love designer style but don’t have a designer budget? Websites such as Rue La La, HauteLook, Gilt Groupe, Swirl, Beyond the Rack and others have created a place for you to shop designer items at a massive discount.

In past years, flash sites have popped up everywhere. These sites are exactly what they sound like–sales in a flash. You will need to sign up for a membership (which is free), and each day you will receive an email in your inbox notifying you of the daily deals.

It is important to know how to shop these flash sales, as quantities are limited and hot items don’t last. These sales last for 24 to 72 hours, and as soon as the sale starts, the pick of the litter will sell out quickly. It is important to be prepared and know how to get the best deals. Here are a few tips that will give you an edge.

  • Search Upcoming Sales. On most flash sites there is a section that will show you which boutiques will be hosting sales over the next three days. When you see a designer you are interested in, check their current inventory on other sites (such as Macys.com, Nordstrom.com, Bloomingdales.com, etc) and see your top picks. Hopefully, these will be in the items on discount on the day of the sale.
  • Be on top of the sales. Flash sites open the boutiques’ doors virtually at the same time daily. It is important to get to know each site’s schedule. Rue La La and HauteLook open new sales at 11 am ET, while others sites open new sales at 12 Noon ET. It is important to have your mouse ready to take action once the sale opens.
  • Shop from the bottom up. Most people start shopping at the top of the page (yes, this is usual). But, try something a bit unusual and start your shopping at the bottom of the page. The items at the top most commonly go first because, obviously,  people see it first and put it in their carts. If you shop at the bottom of the page, it is less likely that people have already purchased the limited quantity.
  • Place in your shopping cart even if you are unsure. If you are looking through a boutique and see something you think you might like, add it to your cart! The item will be saved for a small amount of time allowing you to think about what you are going to purchase and what you don’t need. Sites usually will give you 10 to 15 minutes before they take an item out of your cart and put it up for grabs to others

If you understand how to shop flash sales and you do your homework, you’ll be able to land some awesome deals!

How to Shop Flash Sales Online