Insider tips and tricks for shopping the Boxing Day sales online

Insider tips on how to bag an online bargain this Boxing Day [Photo: Getty]
Insider tips on how to bag an online bargain this Boxing Day [Photo: Getty]

The Boxing Day sales are an annual ritual, and this year's event looks set to be as big as ever.

As people drain the last of the Baileys and settle down for the night in their new Christmas pyjamas, many will be setting their alarm for a busy day of sale shopping from the comfort of their sofa, left-over turkey sarnie in hand.

But, with thousands of cut-price goods on offer, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer choice and scale of it all, so being armed with some handy insider hacks will help you become sale shopping savvy.

"The Boxing Day Sales! Shopping can be stressful at the best of times, but the busy-ness of the post-Christmas sales can send us into anxiety overdrive,” explains Joy Gregory, founder of The Style Guide.

“Overall preparation is KEY in order to make it a stressLESS occasion and actually enjoy spending money on yourself.”

So, with Boxing Day mere days away, here’s Yahoo UK’s expert-backed tips and tricks to help you up your online sale shopping game.

READ MORE: Boxing Day sales 2019: The UK shops with the best deals

Do a social media stalk

Instagram is really one to engage in for post-festive deals.

“Often, retailers will post their latest deals online either in their feed, via sponsored ads or on Instagram stories,” explains Holly Barry founder Scott Styling.

“Instagram stories are great because you can use the swipe up feature that will take you to the product page which has caught your eye without spending too much time shopping around, something which can cause shoppers to become indecisive with too much choice when visiting the shops.”

Jones suggests following smaller brands on social media too.

“Smaller brands might give a little preview of what’s to go on sale the next day or any offers that they might have on their Instagram stories or Facebook,” he explains.

“This is something larger retailers don’t do because they have too many stores located in different places, meaning that offers will differ.”

Don’t panic buy

Do you really need another animal print coat? “Don’t be tempted to buy the first things you see,” warns Ian Jones, founder and CEO of LoLo.

“Some people panic buy in the sales because they don’t want to miss out, and end up taking home things that they don’t need or even want – so even if everyone else is in a panic, don’t be tempted to buy things for the sake of it.”

Gregory agrees. “Don't be drawn to styles and colours that don't suit you solely because of the discount,” she says. “Lose focus = lose money.”

We've all been there: 'Wow, that lime green French Connection bomber jacket is half price!' STEP AWAY!

“Do not be blinded by the price,” Gregory continues. “You will never wear it; it's a complete waste of money.”

This is where knowing your best styles and colours comes in handy, she adds.

Buy the right size

Sounds obvious but but who hasn’t been tempted to snap up too-small shoes in the hope they’ll squeeze into them. It will only ever end in tears, and bunions.

Do a before-pay check

And think about WHEN you’re going to wear the item in your shopping basket

“Look at it and ask yourself: When will I wear it? How often will I wear it? Is it worth the money?” Gregory advises.

She also suggests working out what the cost per-wear might be by dividing the item’s original cost by the number of times you might wear it.

“Just being a little more conscious and aware of your initial goals when you're in the shop can really aid the right decision,” she adds.

Buy classic

By looking out for pieces you can wear all year. “Spend your money in the right places by buying classic,” suggests Gregory.

“Quality coats, leather boots, real denim, leather court shoes and, of course bags and belts.”

Sign up for VIP access

“A lot of retailers offer early access to their sales to customers who have signed up for VIP access or have signed up to their newsletter,” says Anthony McGrath, celebrity stylist and lecturer at the Fashion Retail Academy.

“Make sure you check your favourite retailers' sites a few days before to see if they are offering this.”

Tap into relevant influencers

Use your fave Insta accounts to help you bag a bargain. “To find deals and savings via influencers, simply search the hashtag #AD and your chosen retailer, for example #Missguided which will bring up a host of results featuring influencers plugging a variety of savings and deals,” suggests Barry. “You can then compare the latest results to find out the saving you will be making by shopping with that retailer.”

Be prepared

To nab the best bargains it pays to be prepared. “Make sure you're signed in to your account before you start shopping,” advises McGrath. “If you haven't done so already, it might be worthwhile pre-entering your shipping and payment details and saving them to your account so you can complete purchases quickly.

“However, be careful when doing this and make sure the site is secure to avoid your details being stolen or hacked,” he warns.

Create a wishlist

Most online retailers allow you to save items or create a wishlist, there is usually a heart emoji, 'save' or 'add to wishlist' button that allows you to do this. “To make the most out of the sales, it's advisable to browse your favourite retailers a few days in advance of Boxing Day and save any items you like, then all you will need to do when the sale starts is go to your saved items and add them to your basket,” explains McGrath.

Insiders have shared their secret sale hacks [Photo: Getty]
Insiders have shared their secret sale hacks [Photo: Getty]

READ MORE: Doing your Christmas shopping online? Last order dates for delivery in time for Christmas

Don't fall into the sales trap

It can be very easy to max out your credit card when you're convincing yourself that everything you buy is a bargain. “Don't buy for the sake of buying,” warns McGrath. “Instead, think of what you really need and what you will be able to wear/use multiple times. Don't be seduced by the big red sale sticker, remember even if something is only £5, if there is a chance you won't use it, there is no point in buying it.”

Use cashback to amplify your deal

Cashback sites allow you to get money back on your sale buys, ramping up your deal. “To find discounts from shops which don't usually offer them, be sure to take advantage of cashback sites,” says Abigail Yearley, spokesperson from

“It's simple, all you do is search for the site you're looking to shop on and click through as normal. TopCashback will track your purchase and reward you some of the money you spent back. It's an easy way to make some of your money back on your everyday spending.”

Grab an abandoned cart discount

According to Ally Martin, Buyer at online retailer Yes I Want It some retailers offer customers deals if they can see they have put items in their online shopping basket but not completed the purchase.

Simply log in to the retailer’s website and and shop as normal. Then, instead of going through with the purchase, abandon your basket and close the window.

A few days later you might receive an email from the retailer enticing you back with money off your purchase.

“Check whether the code applies to sale items, as this could offer further reductions,” Martin adds.

READ MORE: Amazon releases last order dates for Christmas 2019 to make sure your presents arrive on time

Collect codes and coupons

When you're shopping online it pays to do a quick search for coupon codes which can provide you with a further discount or free delivery. “Just do a quick Google search for 'discount code (store name) + (December 2019). E.g. Discount code River Island December 2019. This can really make the difference to your overall spend,” advises Barry.

Check the returns policy

When your finger’s hovering over the bargain of the decade it can be easy to overlook the returns policy but it is important to check. “Under UK law, online retailers must offer a 14 day period in which customers can return items if they do not want them for a full refund,” explains McGrath. “Some online sites offer 28 or 30 days, and some retailers' returns policies are even longer.”

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