This time of year, many retailers are offering “Black Friday” or other promotions and sales on products. Boot vendors included. I am repeating a post from three years ago that applies today. Read on to learn my secrets of buying boots wisely on the internet and sorting out the wild promotions.
Following are my “secrets” to getting the best deals on new boots. These tips are not really secret, but may not be known or practiced by some people.
1. If a pair of boots comes to my attention that I would like to have, I get the manufacturer name, model name, and stock number (if I can find it).
2. I use a search engine, like Google, and enter the information about the boots. For example, “Lucchese GB9274.”
3. I read the results that are presented on various websites, but I generally avoid the first three to five results at the top and any included on sidebars, which are usually paid advertisements and not necessarily the least expensive source.
4. If I find a good price, I make a note of the price, vendor, and I bookmark the page. But I don’t buy YET!
5. I visit the websites of my favorite boot retailers. Links to these boot retailers are on my website. I check to see if my favorite retailers carry the boots and what their price is. They may or may not carry the boots, and if they do, they may not always come up in a search. So it’s always a good idea to check your favorites when you have something with which to compare them. (From Step 4.)
6. I generally avoid buying boots from retailers that do not offer free shipping. However, sometimes retailers that charge for shipping are the only source of a certain brand and style of boots, so I shop around and check shipping fees during my searches.
7. Check the return policy of the vendor. Some really good ones offer free return shipping to exchange a pair of boots that do not fit. Other vendors allow a return for credit toward another pair of boots. Some vendors allow returns, but charge a hefty restocking fee. Watch for that, in particular — restocking fees can be as much as 20% to 30% of the original price! I do not buy from vendors that charge restocking fees if I have any doubt that the boots I am ordering may need to be returned or exchanged.
8. When I have narrowed the potential sources down to two or three, I then check my email for coupon codes from vendors whose email lists I am on, and I use Google again and type in “Discount Coupon XXX” where “XXX” is the name of the on-line retailer. Many times, I have come up with an active, working, on-line discount coupon from a retailer that gives me an additional 10%, 15%, 20%, or even 25% off the listed “sale” price. This step is important, and can save you a LOT of money! And this works especially well in the month before Christmas.
9. I then compare shipping charges among the top two or three on-line retail choices. Sometimes the boots may cost a little less, but the shipping will make the final total higher. Factor in all costs, including whether you have to pay sales tax. (For example, if you live in California and buy from Bootbarn.com or Stomperboots.com, you have to pay sales tax.) Go through the motions of placing an order to determine what the final price will be, including all taxes and shipping fees, as well as applicable discounts.
10. If the on-line retailer that offers the best price is not one with which I have experience, then I will take an extra precautionary step. I will go back to google, and enter “XXX consumer complaints” where “XXX” is the name of the retailer. I want to see if there are serious complaints about the company from multiple people. A single rant from one dissatisfied person is not enough to scare me away. But multiple legitimate complaints may cause me to order elsewhere.
This process can be a little arduous or time-consuming, but it can save anywhere from US$20 – $200 on a pair of new boots, depending on the original price. Since boots will last a long time, the time you put into shopping for a good price is worth it.
Life is short: enjoy your boots!