How to: Stalk shoes online
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How to: Stalk shoes online

Have you ever seen something you put off buying, only to have it disappear/sell out before you had a chance at it? I’ve kicked myself more than once for letting the perfect whatever get away, until I realized how easy it is to stalk merchandise* online. Here’s my technique:

I saw a pair of sturdy-yet-cute sandals on the Urban Outfitters site a few weeks ago. I’ve been on the lookout for a pair of walkable heels since the Ugly Shoes proved to be pretty darn comfy for up to 12 blocks, but I held off on buying the sandals since I’m trying to sensible purchasing decisions and whatnot.

PS: The secret to walkable heels = A shock-absorbing platform, ankle support (in the form of a strap or similar), and a sturdy (not spindly) heel. Trust me, stiletto heels and sidewalk grates to do not mix.

When I went back to the site weeks later, they were gone! Or, they’d disappeared from the shoe section. They were still visible in some of the outfit shots. Hmm…

Step 1:Figure out the manufacturer

If you can locate the brand, you can find the style name/number. This is the key, and the part that takes the most effort. There are a few ways to go about it:

1. Look at the brands available on the original site.

Online shops usually carry a few select brands, so there’s a good chance the item you’re looking for is made by one of them. Most shops will also list the different brands they carry–check it out and see if anything rings a bell. I noticed that there were a few different styles of Seychelles sandals available on, and it sounded familiar…
2. Look at other shopping and personal style sites

Sites like Kaboodle, Polyvore, and ShopStyle, and even personal style sites like Lookbook and Chictopia let users bookmark items and note the brands they’re wearing. I noticed the shoes I was looking for had been bookmarked 5 times on Polyvore!

3. Do a search on mainstream retail sites

Retailers like Zappos, Endless, and Piperlime may carry the style. Include standard characteristics (platform, heel height, material) in your search to see if the desired style (or something similar) comes up.

Step 2: Search for the brand and style

Once you know the brand, Google it if the style name/number hasn’t already popped up in your search. Most brands are online and list the season’s available styles even if they don’t sell directly.
I went to the Seychelles site and browsed until I found the shoe I was looking for (and happened upon their neat blog) and discovered it was called “Gypsy”. After a quick Google search, “Seychelles Gypsy” popped up all over the place!

Step 3: Compare availability and prices

I wanted the black, which seemed to be sold out on Zappos, Lori’s Shoes, and Endless. They were available on the manufacturer’s site, though, so I took action!

Step 4: Make your purchase

You’ve hit the home stretch! Now all there is to do is wait for your purchase to arrive. UPS/USPS tracking will be your new best friend for a few days.

Step 5: Get ’em!

Once your order finally arrives (try not to hug the delivery person), take them out and try ’em on! Walk around a bit and see how they feel. I usually wait a day or two before throwing out the shipping box, and I always hang on the the bill of lading and return label.

Now all that’s left is to look cute and enjoy the compliments!

*Note that this is an exercise in using the net for research, and can be applied to more than apparel and accessories–think job openings, information for a project, or people you want to stalk meet. Um, yeah…meet.

Have you ever stalked anything online? Is the feeling of triumph a huge rush for anyone other than me?

  • The Fashionista Lab

    March 24, 2010 at 8:52 am

    This sounds like great advice. And now I totally want those shoes in orange 🙂

    • tamia

      March 25, 2010 at 5:08 pm

      I was really attracted to the orange, but tried to be sensible and stuff.

  • Alicia

    March 24, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Yup..that’s pretty much the process. LOL.

    *says the shoe stalker*

    • tamia

      March 25, 2010 at 5:09 pm

      I like to think of it as sharpening my research skills. Ha!

  • DailyDivaDish

    April 2, 2010 at 4:25 am

    Great tips! And one of my favorite uses of the internet. 😉
    XO Piper

    • tamia

      April 8, 2010 at 7:43 pm

      Technically, it qualifies as research, right?