Showing posts with label tricky tricky. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tricky tricky. Show all posts

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Free Shipping IS NOT back for everyone

I know what you're thinking --why make a post if there isn't free shipping? For the past several days community members have come to EA to excitedly report that free shipping is in effect over $150. Or $100. Or that they see flat rate shipping of $8. These new rates even appear on the shipping information page for those community members.

Here's the problem though: what these lucky community members are seeing on Anthropologie's website is not showing up for everyone. Why not? Because Anthropologie is running a series of multivariate tests right now. A multivariate test means that a webpage is presented in different variations for each visitor. User 1 might see page version A, user 2 might see page version B and user 3 might see page version C. These tests are done for a variety of reasons with one end goal: see which version of the page is the most successful.

Let me give an example of a classic multivariate test. Some of you see product pages like the one below. Note the "size" box with no "quantity" box below it. Let's call this Version A:

And here's Version B. Note this version has both a "size" and a "quantity" box.

It seems like a small difference. But choices that may seem innocuous, like the color of a button, the order of information on the page, and what choices a user does/doesn't have all may make differences in whether a customer completes a transaction or not. Companies pay marketing firms ridiculous amounts of money to build multivariate tests like this.

Companies run multivariate tests all the time, and Anthropologie is by no means the only company doing this. Major websites like run multivariate tests constantly.

Internet technology has come a long way in the past few years and the multivariate tests have become more complex. Used to be that websites tracked users with "cookies." These cookies were relatively flat files that had some basic tracking information: your IP, your operating system (windows/mac/linux/etc) and maybe your screen resolution. But now marketers use something called an "evercookie" instead. An evercookie follows you from computer to computer. Ever notice how shopping websites seem to remember what's in your cart whether you're on your home computer, a laptop, your work computer, etc.? That's because of an evercookie, which has way more information stored about you. In addition to your IP, operating system and your screen resolution, an evercookie knows additional tracking information that helps remember you even as you move across multiple computers. And when you clear your cookies or your browser session those evercookies might not get deleted. They are much harder to get rid of than regular old cookies.

Evercookies aren't necessarily nefarious. During multivariate tests they can be used to show Users 1, 2 and 3 different versions of a web page, an element on a webpage, or a different version of the website altogether. When a user visits a website they start a "session," which just means everything a user does between arriving on a website and leaving that site. Code is used to tell the website "when User 1 visits my website show them Version A...when User 2 visits my website show them Version B...etc." The basic elements of the site (called "static content") are the same for everyone. But all the dynamic elements may look different for a few of us, many of us, or all of us. You may see an extra color of an item, or text that other people don't see, or maybe even a whole page that some of us can't see.

For Anthropologie these tests are to see which version gets people to buy stuff most often. In web parlance this is called a conversion -- a user comes to the site, adds something to their cart and completes checkout by placing an order. A higher conversion rate is good. So how does Anthropologie increase conversion? Well, free shipping sure seems to help. It doesn't seem like Anthropologie is ready to commit to everyday free shipping yet though. By conducting these tests they can see what users like best. Is it free shipping over $150? Is it flat rate shipping? Etc.

I don't need a marketing degree to tell me that free shipping all the time is the best answer but it may not be an answer Anthropologie is willing to bear. Over the next few months we can expect to hear about community members seeing many different changes and tests on the website. Our wishlists may look different, our shopping carts may change, some of us may get promotions while others do not. I have no issue with community members reporting what they see. We just need to be mindful that what you see on your page may not be what I see on my page. It's tricky I know.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Year in Review: Oh, the games Anthropologie plays

While there is no doubt that I love Anthropologie, sometimes they confuse me. I find 99% of my transactions with them are smooth as glass but that remaining 1% leaves me wondering if they actually want me to buy their items or not. Today we'll take a look at some puzzling moves Anthropologie made in 2010. Anthropologie is hardly alone in these practices below, but it troubles me that they've joined the crowd rather than setting themselves apart.

Product page redirects. Used to be that if an Anthropologie item was sold out, you'd land on the product page with a message saying "We're sorry, this product is no longer available" where the "Add to Cart" button would normally be. It was always a sad message to see but you could still read the product description, the material content, and read user reviews of the product. When Anthropologie unveiled their site redesign earlier this year that all changed. Instead of seeing the actual product page you see this terrible redirect landing page above instead. Most frustrating, if the item pops back into stock after initially selling out, the product page doesn't come back. The community has to rely on the kindness of each other to announce wishlist popbacks. Annoying? YES.

Why did Anthropologie do this? I can think of a few reasons. Maybe their product page database was getting too big, so they decided to purge them more often. Although they still have to store the product information, so that doesn't save much space in the database at all...hmm, maybe customers complained of being frustrated with the messaging on the product page when a product is sold out so they introduced this page instead? Although customers seem to be more frustrated by this page...OK, I can't think of any good reasons why this page exists. It sucks, I hate it, and I wish Anthropologie would bring back the normal page instead.

Another unintended result of these redirects? My wishlist, once manageable and realistic, has boomed to ridiculous proportions so I can help the community see popbacks. Instead of adding items I plan to buy to my wishlist I add any item I'm even remotely interested in. I can only imagine the ways Anthropologie's wishlist database has ballooned in the past year. A wishlist which, at best, is frustrating to use.

The Chantico Tank was released in white and pink initially,
and joined by a few more colors after 3 months.

Second wave of colors, released looong after the initial colors. I think it's great that Anthropologie has managed their supply chain well enough to restock popular items quickly. But another side of that management seems to be that products are now released in 2 or 3 colors initially, and then more way down the line. A product seems about ready to move to sale only surprise! Instead another few colors come out and you're back to counting down from day 1.

Another frustrating aspect of this is trying to decide which color to buy a product in. I've relaxed my multiples rule quite a bit this year and now own several products in multiple colors. But for the most part I try to pick an item in one color. So it's very annoying when I buy an item, wear it, and then it comes out in a color I like better. The result has been that I'm buying less now because I fear that an item will has more color releases to come and I want to see all the options before deciding. Or sometimes I'll wait and when the new colors come out I think the original was the best, but that original has sold out. Options are great. I just wish they'd all come out at once.

Items appear online wayyyy after debuting in-store. Remember the In The Trees Skirt? It was in stores in July but not online until October. For someone like me who is spoiled with multiple local stores this isn't such a big deal. For our online-only shopping friends though this has to be a pain. What if your size isn't available in-store? Today's shoppers often try an item in-store and then investigate online before making a purchase. To not have an item online at all strikes me as odd.

My guess is Anthropologie is doing this to track customer analytics in stores. I can understand why as e-commerce continues to grow in overall sales proportions. We see the opposite too more frequently on Anthropologie's website as some items are now online-only. This is probably not a huge deal to the overall shopping population but as a blogger it's annoying to have a review ready to go and no product to link to. Tricky, tricky, Anthro.

All of these items were see-through. Come on, Anthro.

Quality decline. Ugh, this one pains me to even mention. But it's true. Anthropologie's quality is still higher than most of the brands of its size, but there was a noticeable decline this year. I saw dresses with boning popping through the seams. Loose threads, more than ever before. And material that was thin, thin, thin. It's such a bummer because I could always count on Anthropologie to release high-quality items. I'm not sure if they're trying to compete on price by experimenting with different materials or if their production costs have gone up so much that they need to cut corners to keep prices where they are. Either way, it's disconcerting. 

This decline extends to the warehouse. I am saddened to hear about people receiving items that have clearly been previously worn or the wrong item. When you're a medium-to-large retailer it's hard to keep track of every single order and mistakes will happen. It seems clearer though that no one is checking Anthro's online and CS orders before they leave the warehouse. I don't see ticks on my order forms anymore. No "inspected by" stamps. QC is an operational expense that is hard to justify to analysts but necessary to customers. Here's one way to try: no QC, less buying by me.

I buy a lot less at J.Crew than I used to, and that decrease can be directly correlated to their switch to looser gauge Merino, declining quality control, and poor design choices. Even many of the "upscale" brands I turn to like Theory, Barney's in-house label and labels like Diane von Fursternberg, Catherine Malandrino or Vince are just sliding downhill in quality faster than I can unravel one of their poorly constructed sweaters. As a result I'm just not buying these brands as much. Anthropologie, don't become next on this list!

Inorganic crap. Speaking of declining quality in materials, I like my wool sweaters to be made of wool! Nylon? Rayon? Spandex??? All materials I saw more and more at Anthropologie. Bailey 44's soft jersey used to be cotton-based. Now? Rayon. Blech. Have you found a 100% Merino wool sweater this year? Me either. Yuck. Is your silk top 100% made from the good stuff? Probably not. Ugh. You can't see me right now but my arms are flailing about in frustration. Why? Why, cruel world, is clothing no longer made from organic materials? Too expensive? Too hard to come by in the USA? I just don't get it. Without getting too political, my personal belief is that as we've allowed our clothing production to move out of the USA and into developing countries our clothing has suffered for it. Or is it because more retailers are public and have to answer to shareholders? Whatever the reason I'm highly annoyed. Real sweaters come from sheep, llamas, alpacas and rabbits. Fake sweaters come from plastic and inorganic stuff. Who wants a sweater made of fake stuff?

It's on sale! No wait, it's not...? Out of all the frustrations in this post, this one seems to have the community most up in arms. One of two things happens: an item is marked down on Tuesday, then goes back to full price once it sells out online OR an item is marked down by 40-60% on Tuesday but that percentage changes to 30-40% later in the week. They're both indefensible to me. Accidental markdowns? Maybe, but the hallmark of a great company is one that honors their mistakes to the benefit of the customer. Anthropologie has excellent customer service but they're stretching my goodwill here. They can explain it away all they want but it just makes them look bad in my eyes.

Anthropologie sets the prices of a full-price item and we as customers agree on the value by purchasing the item. It is a slippery slope to then say that an item is on-sale for one price today and another tomorrow. It's cheating to me. It's gross! It's taking advantage of customers. I have seen this happen at other retailers too. In fact, a few well-known stores will watch their stock levels and raise prices on items that are selling well! How is that not illegal? The cynic will say it's their product and they can set prices however they want. My response is that once you've set the full price or the sale price, let well enough alone. To play around with pricing is at best unethical. 

I'll have a counter-post to this one later today with things Anthropologie did really well this year. In the meantime, what are your thoughts? Any topics I missed?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Deciphering the mysterious Anthropologie sale cycle

There are four or five common questions I get from the community. Without a doubt the most common one is "Do you think x item will go on sale this week?" followed closely by "When do you think y item will get a second cut?". So I thought it was time to write a post about Anthro's sale cycle. Note that since I don't work for Anthropologie this is all based on personal experience and not based on any hard evidence, just my observations.

The first thing to note is that Anthropologie's markdown cycle is not linear. Every item is on its own cycle. Meaning you can't program it into your TI-83. Don't bother making a calendar appointment for 90 days from now. Anthropologie does not introduce an item and mark it down automatically 30, 60 or 90 days later. In the past this seemed to be the way it went but those days are gone.

Even the day items are marked down is no longer consistent. Typically markdowns happen on Tuesdays. But not always. Usually markdowns happen every two weeks, or every week during Free Shipping promotions (like the one currently running). But not always.

So how does Anthropologie decide which items to put on sale? I have a few theories. And really these apply to any retailer with a good inventory/ERP system. They're all watching for these same indicators.

My theory is that stock is evaluated on the following criteria (in order):
1. How well is the item selling? This is the most important question. Anthropologie rotates its store stock constantly, so it can't afford to let an item that's not selling languish on the racks. Their store space is just too valuable. If an item isn't selling it's going to get yanked off the floor quickly. If online sales aren't picking up the slack it's headed for a markdown. We can't really tell from the outside how well an item is doing, but we can take educated guesses.

2. How long has the item been out? Every retailer has 4-6 seasons of clothing. You don't want items from Summer out for sale when your Fall clothing hits, so those Summer goodies are destined for the sale rack. There are exceptions to this of course -- some items (like cardigans or work basics) can span seasons easily. Those are less likely to get quick markdowns. Items like party dresses are very seasonal and unless they have a classic design are destined to stay full price until after their season, and then quickly head to sale.

3. Is the item on sale at a competing store? This obviously isn't an issue for in-house labels, but I've noticed that with denim especially if a bunch of other retailers have marked down an item it goes on sale at Anthro too. Speaking of which...

4. Is the item from an in-house label or an outside designer? This really comes down to margins for Anthropologie. In theory their margins are lower on an outside design because they've paid a designer to sell the item, meaning Anthro wants to sell the item at full price to make the most profit. So those items are unlikely to get marked down.

5. How big was the item order? If an item is ordered in limited quantities it's not likely to go on sale. Like number 1 this isn't something we can really tell from the outside, but Anthro knows. This is also less of a factor than it used to be now that Anthropologie sources through several production houses.

Next, each of the 5 criteria above are weighted. So if an item isn't selling well (1), it's more likely to get marked down than if it's on sale at a competing store (3) or even if it's by an outside designer (4). An older item (2) might not get marked down for a long time if it's selling well (1).

Once an item does get marked down, the 2nd cut game begins. Again, there is no definitive timetable for markdowns. Some items might get a 2nd cut after 2 weeks. Some may never get one. It comes down to margins. If the profit will be better by waiting for an item to sell out no matter how long it takes, it's less likely to get cut. But if an item is more expensive to the business taking up space on the racks than it is marked down again, it gets a 2nd cut. Or a 3rd, or whatever.

How do you decide whether to take the plunge on an item at full price, sale, or wait for a 2nd cut? If you are determined to wait for sale, your chances of scoring an item marked down quickly (aka not selling well) at 2nd cut price are better. If an item sold well it's likely to get snapped up once it finally does go on sale. You're basically gambling; playing the odds. What are the odds of you finding one of an item in your size once it hits the price you're waiting for? For a poorly selling item, chances are good. For an item selling well, your chances are poor.

Additionally, items out of season have a better chance of getting further cuts even if the item was originally popular. So a summer dress that just went on sale now (nearly winter) is likely to get a 2nd cut. Many people have moved on from wanting that item.

From a more subjective point of view, the standard I use to buy an item is this: if it's something I need, it's versatile and a classic design, I invest at full price. If it's something I HAVE TO HAVE (you know what I mean), I splurge at full price. If it's something I love but don't need, I wait for sale. If it's something I could see myself wearing but don't need, I either wait for sale or don't buy it. Often time heals my cravings. I buy probably about 15% of what I originally crave. Sensability (and my budget) usually win out. I also try to avoid the "well it's on sale so it's such a deal I need it!" reasoning. If I buy those items they almost end up getting donated a few seasons later. Not worth it.

Do you have any tips or tricks for judging when an item may hit sale? How do you decide which items to buy at full price or when to wait for sale?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Time Gone By Lookalike, at a wallet-friendly price

The Time Gone By Dress ($128) has plenty of fans in the community. When the peach version went on sale suddenly a few weeks ago, the product page was already redirecting and several hopeful owners were left disappointed. Now it's available in a new color, but back up to full price. Thanks to Patti, who sent along the following doppleganger.

In case anyone else loved the Time Gone By Dress ($128) but wasn't sure about the color options or missed out on the peach/cream version, I found a similar style from Urban Outfitters (no surprise there) and figured I would share a quick review with the wonderful community here. It's the Pins and Needles Crepe Ruffle-Sleeve Dress ($78, or $62 with coupon code) and it comes in peach with a dark grey trim or black with a white trim. Major differences are:
- Three ruffles on each sleeve instead of two, no bottom trim
- Contrast waistband instead of attached skinny belt
- Pleating along the sides of the bust instead of around the neckline
- Shorter! Maybe too short for taller women
- Polyester instead of rayon (still dry clean only)
- Runs smaller (Urban's XS is smaller than Anthro's 0), good for petite women who may have been sized out

For reference, I'm including comparison photos with Anthro's grey colorway. I'm 5'2", 100 lbs, wearing the XS (Urban, left) and the 0 (Anthro, right). 

The black version of the Urban Outfitters dress.

Overall, it's a more youthful take on the Time Gone By dress with more exaggerated sleeves and a higher waist. This means it might not be for everyone, but it is a fairly well-made lookalike that's about half the price of the original. The fabric feels like the Alena skirt, which means there is some static cling. Like Anthro's version, the dress is fully lined, has pockets, and the peach version is ever so slightly sheer.

Product link:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rumors: More sale tomorrow?

The EA tips line is heating up! I've gotten a few tips today that there might be new sale items coming tomorrow morning. So far I've been unable to confirm this so I thought I'd open it up to the community -- any employees care to chime in? If it's on we'll play the guessing game. And if not I appreciate the tips anyway! Has anyone heard anything at their local store?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The temptation of multiples

Cruising Anthropologie's new arrivals section is a daily game of mine. It's fun to pore over the pretty new things and carefully plan (and then, ahem, ignore) my budget for the month and decide which item or two might come home with me.

This year I've noticed an interesting trend. More and more, Anthro is releasing an item in one color and then following a few months later with a new color. Had they done this in the past? Almost certainly but it's become more obvious to me now. It jumps out at me mostly because it disturbs my sale predictions -- all of a sudden an item like the Caballo Falls Dress ($168) that was about due for a move to sale becomes new all over again with the addition of a navy hue.

I can't really say that it's a seasonal thing. Anthro isn't debuting spring colors in February and adding summer tones in May. Do I want the Breezy Ride Cardigan ($98) in navy or red? Or both?? It's not exclusive to basics. Items simple and intricate are getting multiple color releases and I feel like a kid in a candy store: overwhelmed!

Well, maybe that's overstating it but you get the drift. On the one hand it's great when an item I wasn't crazy about due to the color gets a second life in a new tone. On the other hand it's annoying when I've already bought an item in one shade and now find myself tempted when it's released in a second equally alluring color. It's the discretionary spender's lament.

I'm curious how the community feels. Some teased new color releases underwhelmed, like the Speckled Ink Dress ($158). Others were just as tempting as promised, like the Chantico Tank ($88). For a long time I refused to buy items in multiples. Recently I've broken that rule so much that I can't even call it a rule anymore. How about you? Do you like items released in new colorways? Do you own multiples of Anthro items?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Guest post: The International Shopper's {Anthro} Dilemma

(Note from roxy: Calling all international Anthro fans! This post is for you. Please welcome Lauren from the dernier cri.)

We all love Anthro’s gorgeous and unique clothes but they can be a little difficult to acquire for those of us not in the US. Maybe you stumbled upon the store while holidaying in NYC, or maybe you asked that American exchange student where she got her cute outfits, or maybe you’re like me and fell in love while living in the States.

However it was that you discovered Anthro, you now want their clothes and you want them now! Since I moved home to Australia last year, I’ve managed to keep up my Anthro-addiction and after some trial and (serious) error, I've come up with the following tips and tricks for international shoppers.

1. Read the reviews

This one will seem obvious given you're reading an Anthro blog but let me elaborate. If you don't have the chance to try on items in person or to return purchases easily, the on-site reviews and Anthro community become your best friends. Sizing guides are a start but they aren't always accurate, as Roxy’s reviews can attest! That brings me to my next tip...

2. Find a blogger body-double.

Find a member of the blogging community who is the same size as you and study her reviews for fit. I'm lucky that Kim over at Anthroholic has almost the exact same dimensions as me but the Anthro blogging community is so large now that you can almost certainly find your own personal body-double.

3. Sneaky sales purchases.

Let's face it - Anthro's prices can be a little steep at times, especially when your currency is down against the greenback (I'm looking at you, Aussie Dollar). The sale section doesn't appear on Anthro's international site but you can actually log into the US site to choose sale items and then log out to purchase them. The time difference also means internationals have first pick of the online sales! However...

4. Sales + international shipping = disappointment.

I found out the hard way that international shipping and sales don't mix (I lost my long-coveted Miladay Skirt by taking the risk). This is because Anthropologie’s international shipping company purchases items on your behalf before sending them on so you're not actually reserving the item yourself when you go through the checkout. If you don’t want to take the risk...

5. Invest in a mail forwarding service.

I use Bongous, which has a nifty personal shopper section to help you purchase from stores that require a US bank account. I've also heard you can try using your own credit card when you call Anthro's customer service - just ask them to send the items to your US ‘address’.

6. Check out your country's restricted imports.

Here in Australia, Customs gets grumpy if you try to import jewellery or anything made of leather. That doesn't mean you can't try but they will hold your package for a few days to check it out. And don't even bother importing anything that has feathers on it - chances are you'll never see it. Find out what rules apply to you on your country's customs site. While you’re there...

7. Think about import tax.

Find out whether your country has import duties or your awesome purchases could end up costing you even more than expected. In Australia, you have to pay tax if you import more than $1000 in one package but if the total value is under that amount, you’re in the clear. Check your country's customs site so you don't get a nasty surprise on delivery.

And there you have it – my top tips for international Anthro success. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Guest post: The gift (card) that keeps on giving

Hi Anthro ladies! Thanks to Roxy for letting me share this tip on EA! This is my first online adventure...:)

We all know that Anthro is bit pricey; well I should least for me. For a long time I have been only window shopping at Anthropologie. I came to know about the store when one of my instructors was wearing a denim skirt that she told me was from Anthro after I mentioned that I am in love with the skirt. Since then I kept browsing the site, drooling over items and waiting endlessly expecting them to go on sale at ridiculously low prices so that I can buy them. After hours/months/years of browsing I came to know that these prices are not going to come down but I have to find other ways to get discounts (one of them is the 15% birthday discount) but that’s only once a year and I need more! I am sure you all are with me on this.

This opportunity came after 2 years....I was looking for something on and I found this ad about someone selling anthropologie gift card for $20 less than value on the card. I was curious to see why that was the case, when I read the ad I found that the lady did not need the gift card and is selling it for cash to buy something else. I am sure we all have been in that situation before where we got a gift card for a store that we don’t shop at. There was this other thing that caught my eye in the ad "I am going to sell this card on". This opened doors for me to shop at Anthropologie.

Now coming to the point….Plastic Jungle is a gift card exchange site where you can buy gift cards at discount prices and sell your unwanted gift cards for cash. I scanned through the list of cards they sell and guess what excited me the most, yes you guessed it right! Anthropologie is one of gift cards they sell for discount. My happiness knew no bounds!! They offer 13% discount on Anthropologie gift cards; for example a $100 anthropologie gift card is sold for $87 with free shipping! Anthropologie gift cards are in high demand so they are not available always and if one becomes available they are gone pretty quick. You can set up to receive Emails when the card gets available.

I came to know about this site in February and I got 8 anthropologie gift cards and 5 for other stores so far. Their service is great. Gift cards usually ship within 24 hours of purchase via regular mail. It usually takes less than a week to receive your card.

Recently I found another website ABC Gift Cards that offers 16% discount on Anthropologie gift cards. I have been checking their site for other two months now and they always have Anthropologie gift cards in stock. I have not purchased any gift cards from this site so I will not be able to comment on their service.

If you combine your 15% birthday discount with this then it will be total of over 30% discount which is an awesome deal. These sites have lot of gift cards from other stores available that you can take advantage. I think this is a win-win situation for people who are buying and selling gift cards.

For those non-anthros who are reading this, please sell your unwanted gift cards so that we anthro lovers can use it!

I hope you found this money saving tip useful. Now you can buy more for less! Happy shopping.


Hi ladies, roxy here. I imagine this post is going to inspire some lively discussion. I have used Plastic Jungle before but am unfamiliar with ABC. You can read PJ's guarantee here for a bit more information. I'd love to hear about your experience -- positive or negative -- if you have used these services. Please keep decorum in the comments!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kiboshed -- again!! Contest ends.

You sly foxes! I figured you'd all be scouring the internet looking for the Scavenger Hunt answers but many of you have taken to calling stores, Customer Service and even Anthro's corporate headquarters for the answers. Very clever. According to Anthropologie they've had numerous calls from readers.

Unfortunately it's also bad news -- Anthropologie has asked me to kill the contest because it's putting stress on their operations. So I will. The contest will close at 11:59 PM tonight. I will still draw a winner for Monday. Sad to have to end this one early but it is what it is. It's not fair to disrupt Anthropologie's business -- that is the opposite of what I want -- but that is what is happening.

Please DO NOT CALL CUSTOMER SERVICE looking for answers. Please DO NOT CALL STORES looking for answers. Leave Anthropologie alone as they are not involved in this contest at all. Anyone who ignores this will be disqualified from the contest.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

More tips and tricks for Anthropologie's site

As we all know (and HATE), Anthropologie has recently started redirecting sold out product pages back to their homepage. I have no clue why they're doing this and quite frankly it's beyond annoying. Lots of times these items get inventory restocks due to returns, etc., yet the page continues to redirect.

But this post isn't about my annoyance. We've got some crafty community members that have kindly shared their tips & tricks. If you haven't read through the initial post, it's right here. This tip comes from Glenda and involves finding reviews for items that are redirecting. My hope is that Anthropologie will not disable this function once I've shared it...because that would be lame.

In order to make this trick work, you'll need to know the style number of the item you want to look up. It's on the product page shown via arrow in the photo above. We'll use the Openwork Vines Skirt ($128) as an example.

Using this URL as a template:!!!/reviews.htm

Replace the exclamation points with the style number. So for the Openwork Vines Skirt ($128) the URL would look like this:

Paste the URL into your browser's address bar and voila! Reviews appear.

Let's try another one -- the Ice-Capped Blouse (now $60) -- an older item, style #913786. Once again, replace the exclamation points in the template URL with the style number so it looks like this:

And once again, we've got reviews. Love how easy this trick is -- though I never would have thought of it! Thanks so much Glenda! If you have any other tips or tricks, please share in the comments. Cheers to a wonderful community!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ways to find hidden inventory on Anthropologie's site

As we all know (and HATE), Anthropologie has recently started redirecting sold out product pages back to their homepage. I have no clue why they're doing this and quite frankly it's beyond annoying. Lots of times these items get inventory restocks due to returns, etc., yet the page continues to redirect.

But this post isn't about my annoyance. We've got some crafty community members and they've found one way around the redirects. I've got another. Let's share our tips & tricks shall we? Update 1:45 PM - Kim and I must be on the same wavelength (great minds think alike and all that). She's posted her own tips today as well.

The first trick comes through an Anonymous comment yesterday as well as a couple of reader emails (thank you!). Flipping through the old catalogs online it was discovered that products that still have stock will show available sizes in the catalog popups (as shown for the Lolland Sweater Dress on page 3 of the October 2009 catalogue above).

Here are links to a few recent catalogues (which themselves become hidden on the site after three months, oy):
December 2009
November 2009

October 2009
September 2009
Additional catalog links are in the right sidebar of Natalie's Anthropologie Addict blog.

The second trick to seeing hidden inventory is to add items to your wishlist while they're available. These days I add an item even if I'm just remotely interested in it. That way once it's "sold out" on the site I can still track the item's inventory in my wishlist. This isn't failsafe unfortunately. The wishlist has been broken since the redirects were put into place, so some items on my list still show up as having stock even though they're long gone.

A last failsafe is to keep items in your cart or saved for later. This is particularly effective with sale items. Items saved for later won't stop you from placing an order quickly but they will clearly show when an item is out of stock vs. in-stock. This is super helpful for sale items that sell out only to have inventory come back due to returns. Unfortunately the more items you have saved for later the longer the rich cart takes to load so it's a tradeoff. I wouldn't recommend doing this for more than a couple of items.

Hopefully this helps you out if you're relentlessly stalking an item (we've all been there, right?). Of course a better solution would be for Anthropologie to drop these J.Crewesque website shenanigans but that seems unlikely. Do you have any other tricks to share with the community?