Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Retail Sign-ups You Should Know About
Sure, daily e-mails and tons of catalogs can be hella-annoying, but they are often times the best way to save money when shopping as they are around to promote their newest items, which can also alert you about a sale. (Out with the old, right?)
Most of the time these mailers contain discounts or certificates in the form of cards, coupons or codes good for percents or dollars off, free shipping, free samples or full-sized products; sure it's a way to lure you into the store, but at this rate becoming a VIP has never been so easy! Carrie Bradshaw may have spent whole paychecks at Prada to have a BFF relationship with a clerk only to receive first-name recognition and a glass of champagne (which I suspect more to be "sparkling wine" than a true import), but I can get the royal treatment in my underwear while watching the news and eating an ice cream sandwich without ever entering my credit card info or having to make a shameful, "buyers-remorse" return.
But seriously, why pay retail?
Here is a (working) list of loyalty programs and mass email sign-ups that you should know about. (Did I miss any? Shoot us an email, email@example.com, and let us know what store, what you have to do - sign up online? in store? - and the perks of signing up.) And don't miss this post about more ways to save at the mall.
Orange = Dallas/Fort Worth Locations of those stores that are less-widely available.
Green = Online only
~ American Eagle - All Access Pass (Scan your pass each time you shop and get a coupon in the mail every 3 months. The more points you accrue in a quarter - like jeans are 5 points, accessories are 2 - the more your coupon is worth the next cycle.) The Pass also works for purchases at Aerie (the 'intimates" store; see below for DFW lo-cals), 77kids (kids clothes) and Martin and Osa. (The Banana Republic of AE inc; Currently the only M&O in the Dallas Area is at NorthPark, but feel honored because the only other one in the state is in Austin. Sorry, Houston.)
~ Aerie - if your mall features its own, separate Aerie store (most likely connected to American Eagle, but definitely has its own store front) sign up to receive emails. They used to do this punch card freebie thing but now they send out emails every now and then for you to swing by their store and pick up a free item on a Thursday - some times it free panites, sometime its a candle. (3 Metro stores - Stonebriar, The Galleria and The Parks, all located right next to American Eagle.)
~ Ann Taylor - click here to get emails and here to get catalogs and mailers (coupons!) from Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft, Ann Taylor Factory Store (aka - outlet) and the Loft Outlet. First sales, promos, new products, blah blah blah. I get regular email coupons to the factory/outlets ... I get coupons every now and then from The Loft and I get Ann Taylor coupons about 3 or 4 times a year.
~ Aveda - a salon and store that smells AMAZING. Great natural products for your face, body and hair; some stores are even full-service spas. Sign up here - emails for free "generous sized" product samples as well as invites to store events. (I just signed up - I already have a code for free shipping on a $40+ online purchase.) They also have a club that you can join to earn points for more free stuff - there is a one-time $10 "joining fee" and it seems like you get a lot, like points on purchases good for stuff later on and a surprise on your birthday! You can usually find a freebie out on the web if you search.
~ Bath and Body Works - sign up for emails and home mailings. I get coupons about every two weeks in my inbox and about once every other month for free travel or trial size products as well as c's for % and $'s off my total purchases. Plus, when I check out at the store, I usually get another coupon that will start in a few weeks. (You can ALWAYS find great c's online too - just search a little bit.) This is one of those stores where you can also add a coupon to an in-store promo - so lets say that there is a "buy 2 get 1 free" promo and you have a "spend $X get a free ___" coupon - make sure that your two non-free items equal the amount or more that you are required to spend and then you can get 2 free items. Score! Also, if you ever have a coupon for a free item with ANY purchase, think small - nail files, found by the register are only $1. Check the clearance bins, get a gift bag, look around the store for a "sample" (2oz bottle) of the "newest flavor" ... err ... "smell" - those are usually at the register and are also just $1.
~ Barnes & Noble - has a membership program - you do have to pay a yearly fee, but the coupons and discounts are outstanding - like 40% off best-selling hardcovers and 10% off in the cafe. PLUS, as a member you can add your email to get even more coupons (good for both online and in store). It is a $40 yearly fee, so that might be something to think about if you don't really buy that many books.
~ Bebe - sign up in the bottom right corner on the main page. I'd assume emails about sales and new merch. (just signed up - within 10 minutes I received a free shipping coupon in my inbox.)
~ Bed, Bath & Beyond - click here to sign up for both online and snail-mail offers. I get more coupons from them than I do any other retail outlet and I get them like clock-work. I usually get "20% off any single items" (you'll get one as soon as you sign up) but my roommate in college, who lives in Houston, only gets 10%'s in via snail-mail. Maybe they like me more? Every now and then I also get $10 off a $50 purchase or 15% of my total. They carry a pretty good selection of Yankee Candles and also have a "Scent of the Month" thing where they'll knock 10% off the price of 3 different scents AND you can use your store coupon on top of that.
~ The Body Shop - register here for an account to get home and email; other perks: discounts, latest news about new products and sales, quick online check-out process and you can store a list of your favorites. (So important when shopping online. I hate buying something only to remember once it gets to me how much I hate it and then I have to drive to the mall to return it which defeats the point of buying it online to begin with!)
~ Borders - of course, why pay to have a membership at a bookstore when Borders has a free program? I know I've seen coupons for %'s off certain books as well as free and bogo items from the cafe floating around the interweb. Pick up a card from a store, then register it here and get started saving! Apparently you can also use the card at Borders Express (inside airports) and Waldenbooks (remember those? the really small bookstores, or "booknooks" in the local mall?) AS WELL AS online retail stores like Anne Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Kohl's and more when you sign up here. Holy crap, I don't shop at Borders, there aren't any close to me, but I'm thinking I need the card!
~ Build-A-Bear Workshop - click here for e-mail sign ups; I've seen a lot of good coupons flying around the web lately for things like "$5 off a $10+ bear" or "$10 off of $50". It seems like the emails would be the same from the "Stuff Fur Stuff" thing, but I'm not sure. (Which, if you don't have one of those cards, get one. I'm 24 and childless but I can usually accrue enough points over a year's time to get some pretty good coupons towards future purchases.)
~ Chico's - I don't shop there, but maybe you do? Bottom left of the mainpage is an email sign up; They also have a loyality card program called a "passport". Free to join, no fees ever; looks like the benefits include an email preview of new collections, as well as sales and other "offers." (read - discounts!) Once your merchandise purchase (total, not one trip) reaches $500, you will receive 5% off every future purchase, double discount days as well as invites to special parties, event and sales. There is also a "birthday bonus", although you have to have made a seperate purchase in the prior 12 months.
~ Coach Factory Store - IE, Outlet; here is the sign up form - I've seen some some pretty good coupons AND they stack on sale and clearance prices too. The bf bought a purse for his mom for Christmas already - originally $315 last year, it hit the outlet for $255, was on sale down to $170 and we had an AWESOME coupon that got the price down to $95.
~ Coldwater Creek - another store of which I do not shop, but I'm thinking that maybe I should due to all the coupons you can find in magazines like O and Better Homes and Gardens each month. I can't find anything about a store program... but there is an email sign up at the bottom right of the home page. Maybe all of those magazine coupons can really work when paired with a sale. *I got an email 2 days after signing up to receive emails for 25% off my next purchase (valid online, in-store and on catalog orders) that expires in about 2 weeks AND it doesn't have a minimum that I need to spend. Score!
~ The Container Store - oh, how I love thee. Not just because you're a Dallas-based operation, but because you help feed my obsessive/compulsive behavior when it comes to organizing even the most mundane of tasks, like finding a cubby for the key we always seem to misplace. Um. Alright, anyway. This is one of those places that didn't really *do* coupons or *discounts* until Oprah discovered them or before the economy went south. (Two separate occurrences. Oprah finding out about the Container Store did not cause the Recession.) Now you can find a 20% off coupon every now and then - mainly when Oprah features them on her show. BUT do sign up for their emails because you'll get alerted to sales (like Elfa, their closet and storage system), special promos (like the holiday time gift card promo), back to school events (for those headed off and back to college - super fun, full of demonstrations, discounts and snacks) and more!
~ Dick's Sporting Goods - you could sign up for emails that will update you on sales and promos, or you could sign up here for Dick's "Scorecard" program - you'll still get the emails but you'll also earn 1 reward point for every $1 spent - when you get to 300 points a $10 gift certificate will be sent to you. (Score!) (You can sign up online or in store; in store you'll get your card instantly, online they have to mail it to you so you'll have to wait a few days/weeks; also their online shopping system doesn't accept the scorecard. Interesting.)
~ Dillard's - they have an email sign up (top right) that will notify you about sales and special promos, but I'm not sure how much further the program goes beyond that.
~ DSW (Shoes!) - I like shoes, you like shoes, but nobody quite knows how this "points" based system works. You get a "rewards certificate" for every 1500 points you earn, but what does a point mean? Oh well. I seem to get a certificate for every 8 pair I buy but there are other ways to speed it up - like shopping on double or triple points days. (Only a few a year ... and when sales start to slump.)
~ Eddie Bauer - I'm not a nature girl, heck, I don't even like to go outside to get the mail, but I LOVE the name of this perks program: Eddie Bauer Friends. Love it! (Although the PR Nazi in me wants to call it "Friends of Eddie Bauer" or "Eddie Bauer's Friends".) Anyway, get 10 points for every dollar spent and after *4 months you'll receive a $10 Gift Certificate for every 1750 points you accrue (or $175 spent), with a max of $80 in certificates every period. (But if you're spending $1400 a month on outdoor gear, we need to talk.) (*They have nicely defined that their earning cycles are March - June, July - October and November - February. My guess is because it's in keeping with the seasons.)
~ Express - I am almost sick at how many offers they send out via snail and e-mail - I can't keep up!!! FOR SURE enter your mailing address - you'll get the best coupons that way. One bummer - you can't use the coupons on sale merch. :-( Sign up here (on the "create new account" side.) They are also one of those stores that is really great about keeping up with sales, they are pretty regular and last FOREVER - every major holiday and then about every 8 weeks. When they are getting down to the last few days you get to take an extra percent off of whatever the already low marked down price is.
~ Field of Dreams - the self proclaimed "Ultimate Sports and Celebrity Gift Store" has an email sign up, at bottom of the home page. I'm going to go out on a limb and say no to the coupons but yes to the daily emails of "sale on this sweaty piece of equipment used by So & So once". They also get new things in and every now and then have celebrities come in to autograph things. Note, it's about 98% sports stuff, 2% non-athletic celeb's. (Galleria, Stonebriar.)
~ Forever 21 - click here to sign up for their emails - promos, sale alerts, new stuff and "special offers"; you can also get on the list for Heritage, Twelve by Twelve and faith21 at the same time.
~ Godiva - huh? What? That's chocolate!!! Yes, that's right - Godiva (pronounce Guh-dive-uh, not "Go-Diva", thankyouverymuch) - has a Chocolate Club!!! Sign up either online or in-store and score a free piece (1) of chocolate each month, a free gift when you spend $10 or more (only one gift per month - sometimes its a free chocolate dipped strawberry or a two-piece chocolate set.) in store and free shipping on an online order. If you sign up in store, you get a plastic card and key-tag, but all you really need to give is your email (or phone number) so I'm sure it doesn't matter where you register.
~ Kohl's - I don't really shop here that much, but if you sign up you'll automatically get a "$5 off your next in-store purchase" coupon (I'm sorry, I don't know how much you have to spend first) and another for 10% off your next online. I'm sure you'll also get catalogs and decent mailers.
~ The Limited - Sign up to be "an insider" at the bottom left of the home page. 24 hours after signing up, I already have 2 emails - one about a sale and another is a printable coupon for $15 off every $50 I spend, which I can for sure do.
~ Lucy - a female/yoga-centric athletic store. I've seen emails for "free wrist-bands, no purchase necessary" and other offers for freebies and discounts. Sigh up here! (2 DFW stores - Plaza @ Preston Center and the other is in Southlake @ the Town Square.)
~ Lululemon Athletica - sign up here for emails about new products and events, as well as tips about sales. (Galleria, NorthPark)
~ New York and Company - (Does anyone else remember when this was Lerner New York?) Sign up for the Rewards Club card and get coupons via email and snail mail; exclusives about new sales and items and events, blah blah blah. "Terrific Discount" on your birthday and a $25 off coupon for every 5 purchases.
~ Origins - sign up here to get on their list. Definitely submit your home mailing info - coupons, promos, a gift on your birthday ... woohoo!
~ Payless Shoesource - I haven't shopped here in a long time, but if you sign up for their email program, they are to email you about sales, new styles and every now and then, coupons. (email sign up is at the bottom of the page.)
~ Pier 1 - I'm not sure what I just signed up for ... but I clicked both email AND home mailings so maybe some coupons and catalogs? (I like catalogues - It's mail with pictures and shopping.)
~ Sephora - I'm not the biggest makeup person, but I do shop there because they have an amazing selection of perfume and cologne. I like this store because you get 3 samples of your choice with any purchase. Click here to get emails - news on store openings and events. BUT, click here to join the "beauty insiders" - for each purchase you make you'll get a point-per-dollar-spent added to your "beauty bank", which can be redeemed for a "deluxe sample"at 100 points, or, you can save up to 500 and trade them in for a full-sized product. (Both the 100 and 500 point "prizes" change every few months. So you'll keep spending, of course.) You'll get (different) emails about insider-only products, advance purchase opertunites AND a birthday gift. (woohoo!) AND if you spend over $350 in a calender year (Jan - Dec) you'll automatically be enrolled into the VIB - Very Important Beauty Insider program. But, if that's all too much for you, there is also a catalog that you can sign up to get - free tips, the latest on makeup and skincare, etc. (Sign up for an account, then request a catalog.) If you don't live close to a Sephora, JCPenny has started opening (smaller versions) inside their stores, but i'm not sure if the Beauty Insiders club works at those locations. (Or, if your mall has both a, Penny's Location and a Sephora store - like Stonebriar - when they have a give-away or promo, collect from both. Why not?)) But you could always shop online - there are tons of free shipping codes out there AND you still get 3 free samples of your choosing with any order.
~ Toys R Us - Rewards - Honestly, I have no idea what this is about. All I know is that they said are you a member and the next thing I knew I had a new plastic card to keep up with.
~ Urban Outfitters - Catalog sign up, email sign up. Emails will be sent to tell you whats new, when exclusive sales and promos start and you'll also get alerted to special "in-store events." No evidence of coupons at this posting.
~ Victoria's Secret - FOR SURE sign up for their emails and home mailings - I get things all the time for free panties and lip gloss as well as coupons for %'s and $'s off. BUT make sure to sign up for Pink Nation too- it's more of a younger brand geared for college students (you know, get 'em while their young and you've got 'em hooked for life) but anyone can join. (One Warning - sizes are typically in juniors - so one smaller than what you'd normally wear - and only go up to an L in tops and bottoms.) A new offer is usually posted mid-month for offers like free beauty products, t-shirts or underwear when you make any other pink purchase. Or sometimes the price has been rolled back for members and a coupon is also included. You can usually stack these with any other "Pink" in-store offers - like a free panty or mini-dog when you buy any pink product. *TIP - when it says ANY Pink Purchase, go for the cheap - get the $1.50 sucker or $5 hand lotion - totally works and why not? The name of the game is "Mall Freebies."
~ Williams-Sonoma, Inc - the parent company for Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids (2 -Knox & Cole, Stonebriar), PB Teen (3 stores world-wide: Chicago, Atlanta or NYC), West Elm (Mockingbird Station), Williams-Sonoma (duh) and Williams-Sonoma Home (Shops at Legacy). Click here for email and catalog requests, and go here specifically to get a PB Teen Catalog. I get a lot of emails about whats new, in-store promos, when a new sale has started and I some times get discount codes for online orders. (It cuts out the middle man in furniture buying.)
~ Yankee Candle Co - there is an email sign up at the bottom of the page; this is one of those stores where you can regularly find printable coupons that work both online and in the store if you just type it into a search engine - like "$10 off a $25 purchase" or "$1 off any tart or votive". I know I've also received snail mail (coupons!) from them before AND I know I've used their c's on top of store sales before. *Important note - their coupons only work at their physical store locations and online - I know that Bed, Bath & Beyond as well as Target and other stores sell a select line of their products, but you can only use these coupons at an actual-factual Yankee Candle Store.
more to be posted later this week. (This is a slow but steady process. Thanks for understanding!!!)