The announcement of a Next sale causes frenzied shoppers to set their alarms for ridiculous times, just to get a sniff of a bargain.
Men, women and children can be seen from 4am huddling around the entrances of Hull’s Next stores, yearning to fill their baskets with reduced items.
But, rumour has it, the Next summer sale could start online as early as July 6, and anyone embarking on their maiden voyage to such an event is going to need some help.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed with the sight of 50 per cent off signs, clearance racks and clothes strewn on the floor.
If only a former employee could give us the best tips on taking on this behemoth shopping extravaganza.
Well, lucky for us, an ex-worker has revealed some incredible hacks on how to survive the Next summer sale of 2018.
1. Plan ahead
Do a recce of the Hull stores in advance to see what items they have BEFORE everything goes into sale so you are familiar with stock. If you plan to shop online then make a list and bookmark any items you will want to buy nice and early.
2. Get online
Rumour has it the sale will kick off on July 6, and Next normally launch their sale online first so heading online early is a wise move. Sometimes sites can be overwhelmed with the sudden surge in traffic and crash.
3. Sign up for VIP access
If you are a regular Next shopper who has a credit account you may get a VIP invite to the sale. This has happened in previous years and is a great way to get to book an allocated slot to shop the bargains 24 hours before anyone else.
4. Pick your store wisely
Opting to go to a smaller store or one based out of town doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get what you’re after. A smaller high street branch or one in a retail park will have less footfall than a flagship store making your shopping experience a tad less stressful.
5. When to go in store
Most major stores will open from 5am – for the very keen early birds willing to camp out at an ungodly hour. This is a wise move if you are after specific items or larger home furnishings and goods (which sell out the fastest and are less likely to be replenished later in the day).
But most stores WILL replenish stock throughout the day as more items are sitting out back in the stock room, waiting to be crammed on a rail.
If you cannot make it first thing, I would advise you to head to the store an hour or so before close – for a supermarket sweep style shop. Why? This is when stores are starting to clean up and sort items.
Those random unpaired shoes will find their missing partner and that random bikini set will find each other again. It is also when the store starts to look more like a Next store and less like a clothes sorting plant/Armageddon.
6. Look out for codes on tickets
Look for the black/red dots on items and weird codes on swing tickets. This is a sure-fire indication the item is going in the sale.
Sometimes the code and number indicate the amount of reduction the item will have off – but this is not always the case.
7. What to buy first
Anything home or furniture related will go in record time so head to that department first if you want something.
Generally there’s less home stuff in stock at the back, so once that sells out it is usually gone for good.
Womenswear and kidswear also sell fast but there tends to be more stock so items will be replenished throughout the sale period. However, finding sizes may be another story.
8. Be prepared
It’s hot, it’s busy and you will inevitably get aggy. Being well prepared is not only wise, it’s necessary.
Bring water, wear trainers or flat comfy shoes and don’t carry a huge handbag.
Eat beforehand if you can – no one wants to serve/shop around a hungry person raging around whilst looking for bargains. Or carry some snacks, a decent smoothie or cereal bar should keep hunger at bay long enough to finish your shop.
And on that note go to the loo, too. There’s nothing worse than a basket full of goods that you need to ditch for a quick dash to the toilet.
9. Ask fellow shoppers – and be polite
If another shopper has something in their basket/hand that catches your eye, go over and ask where they found it.
Instead of shopping like you’re in the retail Olympics help one another out and share helpful tips with your fellow shoppers.
Most sales assistants and temps will be overrun and having 20 customers jump you asking for the whereabouts of several items can be stressful and overwhelming. We will do our best to help you but please keep in mind there is one of us and hundreds of you.
Be nice and be patient. Most employees will be willing to help you and often go above and beyond if you are friendly, and remember your ‘please’ and ‘thank yous’.
10. Re-buy at sale price
Legitimate tactic – but not going to lie to you, the sales assistants will internally harbour deep feelings of hatred for you if you do this. But hopefully, you still get service with a smile – or at the very least gritted teeth.
It’s simple, buy the stuff you want a couple of days before, wait for the sale to kick in, take it back and re-buy it at sale price.*
*Disclaimer – some stores don’t offer returns in the first days of sale for obvious reasons. It’s crazy! But if you’re willing to take the initial hit to guarantee you get what you want for less in the end it’s a pretty good hack.