I've always been shy to use a personal shopper—reason being, I always assumed they were very expensive. As it turns out, many online and brick-and-mortar stores offer personal shopping services absolutely free to their customers! Here’s what I've learned about great ways to work with a personal shopper for free!
My favorite definition of "personal shopper" comes from StyleUpCo:
A personal shopper is an associate that works for the store, may or may not have specific training, and is generally paid by commission.
Typically, personal shoppers help you shop for clothes, shoes and accessories. Personal shoppers that work for large department stores may also offer other shopping services.
First, analyze your spending
- The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports the average adult spends $1,700 per year.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average adult woman spends twice that – $3,400.
- The Huffington Post reports households earning $100,000+ spend up to $8,000 per year.
Questions to ask:
- Do you spend more or less than the national average?
- Do you feel you spend too much of your annual budget?
- If so, would having someone else shop for you help to cut down on your overspending?
Can a personal shopper help you save?
Because most personal shoppers work on commission, you won't be billed for their services. However, whether your free personal shopper works for a store or freelance, their fee is built into the products you are buying somehow.
To decide whether a personal shopper will cost you or help you save, take a look at what an hour of your time is worth.
Three ways a personal shopper may help you save:
- Your personal shopper picks out a smashing new suit—you ace your interview and your new salary comes with a substantial raise!
- Your personal shopper does your gift shopping, and you focus on building the profitability of your small business.
- Your personal shopper helps you select the best outfits for your shape, reducing what you spend annually on discarded outfits.
Navigating “pressure to buy”
Working with a commission-based personal shopper may cause you to feel pressured to buy something just so they get paid for their time.
4 Ways to keep the pressure off:
- Be very aware of why you’re using a personal shopper. If you know what you like already and you just want an assistant to buy the items on your shopping list, you may be better off using a virtual assistant who is paid hourly.
- Focus on building a relationship. The ultimate goal is to build a relationship to save you time/money over the long-term. If you don't say "no" until it’s a true "yes," your shopper will never really learn your tastes.
- Remember you can give back in other ways. Much of a personal shopper's clientele is built from referrals—so even if it doesn't out work for you, you may refer someone else who is a perfect fit!
- Set your budget up front. Let your personal shopper know what you can spend, and then refer back to that if they present items above your price range.
- Don't bring your wallet to the first meeting! Let your shopper know up front you plan to use the first meeting to see if there’s a fit—and you won't be bringing your wallet.
4 Great ways to use free personal shopping services
At Anthropologie, you can make an appointment online with a personal shopper and they’ll prepare recommendations for when you meet.
- Request Form: Just fill out your name, contact info, style preferences and any additional information to help your shopper learn your tastes.
- Services provided: Personal (for you) or gift shopping.
2. My Stylit
This unique online personal shopping service will assemble an entire outfit for you. Plus, you will feel zero pressure to buy, since it’s all done online!
- Fill out the style quiz online: Register with Facebook or email and answer about 15 questions ranging from your preferred looks to your body type to get started.
- Services provided: Every Thursday, an email will arrive with assembled outfits. You can rank them (1-5 stars) and click to purchase the ones you like.
On a completely different level, J.Crew's personal shopping services are billed as "very personal"—to the point where personal shoppers will make themselves available to you 24/7—literally.
- Book online: When you book online, you can choose from five different options.
- Services provided: Just pick your closest store for your first appointment, and after that, if you can't come in to meet, you can use email or phone to talk with your personal shopper.
4. PS Dept
"Personal Shopping Department" is a 5-star rated iOS app created for the busy woman who doesn't have time to shop. This free app gives you access to personal shoppers at all the top department stores—just ask your question and get a fast response!
- Website: http://www.psdept.com
- Get the free iOS app: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ps-dept./id536957427?mt=8
- Stores represented: Bergdorf Goodman, Stella McCartney, Michael Kors, Cynthia Rowley and more!