Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Bloomingdales | How to Shop the USA | Website Review

Bloomingdales, or Bloomies, as it's frequently affectionately described, is one of the most famous of the US department stores having been established as an 'East Side Bazaar' in 1872.  And now you can shop the USA via Bloomingdales easily from the UK.

Bloomingdales are now to be found throughout the US, from New York to Dallas and Santa Monica, and there are new stores opening all the time. They carry one of the largest collections of US and international brands, with some that are not that easy to find here, and although you may think why would you want to wait until a package arrives from across the pond, have a browse of the collections and you'll find things you can't find here, brands you've never heard of before, and some very good offers.

US department stores continuously show their offers alongside the main ranges and they are frequently much better than you'll find here.  If you want to buy into the new collections the prices including duty and shipping (which is added on at checkout, so no add extras) will be a little more than you would pay here, but then again if you're hankering after that Michael Michael Kors Jet Set Tote in lime green and it isn't available here you won't be too unhappy to pay a few bucks more for something that no one here owns.

The best items to shop the USA for are those from brands that you've bought into before, pieces that are reasonably easy to dresses that contain stretch and a shape that you know suits you, accessories that don't need to 'fit', jewellery - particularly by US brands such as Alexis Bittar and Kenneth Jay Lane where there tends to be a different/wider collection online than you can find here, lingerie (sizes tend to be constant) and shoes - there is a size conversion guide on each shoe page and sizing tends to be constant across the shoe ranges. 

The US have shoe designers who haven't reached us here such as Vince Camuto, Cole Haan and Via Spiga but the main benefit is the sheer amount of choice and some great offers throughout the year.

My advice if you're going to shop at Bloomingdales - and why wouldn't you? - is think carefully what you're ordering as you really don't want to have to return and the products are extremely tempting.  Buy a brand/style/size/product you've bought before and you should be ok.

Remember that you will have to pay extra for duty, so whilst you'll get a bargain if you buy into one of their offers, you will pay a bit more for something that is totally 'this season'.  Having said that, if you can't find it here and you love to be different then go for it. 

You will have to bear the cost of any returns
, hence my comments above.  One of the best places to use is who will help you set up your return and carrier, whether you choose FedEx or UPS and provide quick printable documentation and tracking numbers.  Or you can use Parcelforce International.  Either way check the prices before you send.

It's going to become easier and easier to shop the USA, get to know the tips and rules now, and get ready to be tempted.