Twice a year, prep-favorite clothing brand Lilly Pulitzer holds a big end-of-season sale. And every year, the exact same thing happens: the website crashes, no one can access it, and yet still everything you want in your size and color sells out. It’s enough to make you crazy, and judging from the comments on Lilly Pulitzer’s Facebook posts, it does exactly that to hundreds of shoppers. It’s a sale when emotions run high. Every poster falls into two extreme categories: either a) elated that they beat all the other shoppers in a race to empty their bank accounts into the hands of their favorite designer, or b) devastated that they missed out on what they wanted and livid with Lilly’s IT staff for letting the site crash yet again.
That’s right, Lilly’s sale site crashes every.single.year. And I think it’s far from accidental. A company as successful as Lilly has the means to keep their site from crashing even during a period of high traffic. They’re doing it on purpose as a marketing technique. Their skilled marketing team builds the excitement for the sale for weeks and turns it into a game–hunting for the retail-oriented, if you will. We’re encouraged to get up early, refreshing our browser obsessively until 7:59 turns over to 8:00 EST. Log in to your account the night before! Check out as soon as you put an item in your cart or it will sell out! Buy it now!!! I’m getting anxious just writing this.
It’s the perfect retail strategy. Yes, thousands of shoppers are upset and disappointed, but it’s clearly not hurting Lilly’s brand. The company has some mad marketing genius, I’ll give them that, but you don’t have to fall into this trap.
Last year, after the site went down for hours and no one was able to shop, I found the best post in reaction to it:I like this lady’s attitude. Every year there are disappointments when shopping is delayed by site crashes and what you want sells out. This lady was the only rational person on social media during the Lilly Pulitzer summer sale, it seemed.
So now you know the game is rigged, here’s how to ease the emotional pain and keep your sanity through the Lilly Pulitzer summer sale. You don’t even have to go to the extreme of taking up knitting to make your own Lilly replicas.
Lilly Pulitzer Endless Summer Sale Tips: Keeping your sanity
1. If an item you want is sold out, before you drop into a deep depression and call in sick to work forever, check Signature Stores for the item you want. Zappos and 6 pm will sometimes have the same sale items still in stock long after they’ve sold out on LillyPulitzer.com. And, both of those sites take returns! Last year, I opted to pay ten dollars more for the same shift on 6 pm instead for that very reason, rather than risking $69 on final sale through Lilly’s website.
Here are some very affordable Lilly items available through other retailers (Dillards and Saks 5th Avenue). These are in the range of $10-$26. So there are even better deals out there than what you’ll find at the summer sale!
2. If you bought something in a fit of Lilly Pulitzer summer sale obsession and changed your mind after it arrived, Lilly’s final sale policy during the end-of-season sales will leave you out a bit of money. Luckily, the brand holds it resale value (and sometimes even gains value with time) so try reselling on Re-Lilly on Facebook or e-Bay.
3. Know that Lilly keeps making cute stuff. So that adorable cocktail dress or floral tote bag you wanted and missed out on is only leaving room in your life (and budget) for next season’s line.
What are your best shopping tip? If you’ve scored something great, share in the comments!
(Photo used with permission from Target).