Fashion

Shopping Secrets of Former Ann Taylor Loft

Anyone who knows me knows that I like a good deal, and I like sharing the savings as well. As a former Loft employee (crazy I can finally say that now!) I know a lot of the tips and tricks to getting a good deal at Ann Taylor Loft. From free shipping to why you should get the store card. Seriously, don’t pay full price unless it’s a must have and even then you can still save money.

So I’ve worked up a list of as many things that I think go unknown for Ann Taylor LOFT shoppers. I’m sharing because I think if you’re smart enough to do the research, you deserve a little kickback. It’s not bending the rules if you follow them.

1. Don’t Pay For Shipping

Unless you’re already planning of purchasing over $125 online at Loft.com, don’t pay for shipping, even online exclusives, just stop into your local store. Loft has recently added the ability to online shop right in store, on an iPad, which means if they don’t have your size, they can order it for you with no shipping cost. And you can see what you’re ordering to make sure you like the color and style. This is for EVERYONE, not just card holders. Employees also have the ability to order shoes for you, online exclusive items, and beachwear for you. And no matter the cost, you don’t have to pay for shipping, even an $8 order! The only catch is some items cannot be returned in store, so check with your store before putting in that order to be sure.

2. Teachers Save

If you work in a school or university and can prove you are a teacher, get 15% off your order. Sometimes the discount cannot be applied to already discounted merchandise, but always, always ask. Sometimes the codes do work together.

3. Don’t Pay Full Price, Ever

Loft is always having sales, many that are 50% off select items. So when a brand new item comes in that you have to have, but you don’t want to pay full price, wait it out. Nine times out of ten, that item will go on sale within a week or two. Just keep an eye on it.

If you can’t wait, buy it  anyway, but check in with the store to see if it has gone on sale. You have seven days from date of purchase to get a price adjustment. So if you bought a dress full price on Monday and it goes on sale on Thursday, go back in with your receipt to get refunded the discounted amount.

4. Open the Loft Credit Card

Employees and stores want you to open the LOFT or Ann Taylor card, be it the in-store card or Mastercard. So it’s in their best interest to give you an incentive to open it. On your first day, they either offer 15% off or 20% off your entire purchase on top of whatever you’re already saving.

Open it in your birthday month or a month after and you might get lucky with an additional $15 off depending on the employee you’re working with. Since you wouldn’t be getting your $15 birthday cash for another year, some stores will honor the birthday coupon code for you anyway.

Card Perks: $15 off any purchase (even with discounts) during your birthday month; 15%-20% off your entire purchase day opening the card; exclusive card holder discounts; in-store card balance can be paid at the register with debit, check, or cash; earn $20 Rewards Cards for every 2,000 points earned can be used at Loft, Ann Taylor, Loft Outlet, or Ann Taylor Factory Outlet; 5 points earned every dollar spent. Watch out for double point days so you’ll spend less to get closer to earning Rewards Cards. Also, MasterCard holders get a $20 Rewards Card for the first time using the card outside the store.

5. Full-Price vs. On Promotion vs. Sale vs. Final Sale

Full Price: Any item that has not been physically marked down. Prices will end with either 50 cents or no change. You have 45 days to return or exchange items.

On Promotion: A full-price item that has been applied a discount, whether a “price point” (ex: Pants are $35) or a percentage (50% off select items). When looking at coupon rules, on promotion items count as “full-price.” You have 45 days to return or exchange items.

Sale: Items which tags have been physically marked down to anything ending with .99 on the price. This means it is available for an additional clearance percentage off that amount. Ex: Sweater is marked $19.99, sale has an additional 50% off, you pay $9.99. Most coupons do NOT apply to these items. You have 45 days to return or exchange items.

Final Sale: Anything marked down with .88 on the price such as $4.88. These items are priced as marked, no additional discount (unless a store has made a decision to allow so to get rid of product, but it’s store-by-store). These items cannot be returned or exchanged. No exceptions.

6. Get the E-Receipt and Know Your Return Policy

There is nothing more annoying than someone coming to register yelling at you for wanting to return an item they purchased six months ago. The item is no longer available, out of season, and even if it still is in-store, it’s final sale. Current Ann Taylor Loft policy states that you have 45 days from date of purchase to return unworn, still tagged, items WITH a receipt. Always get an emailed receipt so they can look it up incase you lose the paper copy. Otherwise, you risk getting what the clothes are currently worth, most of the time if you wait too long, it’s a sale price. Items currently final sale that are returned without a receipt cannot be returned, so keep your receipts!

Yelling at an employee will not win you points nor will I bend any rules for you if you put me down or act like I don’t know the return policy. It’s posted on your receipt, online, and at the register. Read it.

Also, Ann Taylor, Loft, Loft Outlet, and Ann Taylor Factory Outlet are all different stores. They have different merchandise and it’s easy to tell the tags apart. Loft Outlet clothes are not former Loft regular store clothes sold elsewhere. Outlet stores get their own line of clothes and the tags have two small dots under the name. So you’re not pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes when you try to return outlet clothes to the regular store.

 

7. Card Holders Always Have Coupons

Employees have a list of current coupons behind the desk. So if you already have the Loft or Ann Taylor card, don’t be afraid to ask if there are any coupons out. But, don’t be pushy, they have the power to either give you the discount or not. They are not required to do so. It’s very rare, but sometimes there isn’t a coupon out. Most of the time it’s a percentage discount on full-price items.

8. Thursdays Start Your Weekend

Most of the time anyway. Meaning Thursday through Sunday you can almost always expect the same discounts.

9. Be Smart with Cash Cards

Occasionally, Loft gives out Cash Cards with purchases. For every $50, you’ll earn a cash card (worth $25 off a $50 purchase) to use at a later date. If you play your cards right, purchase on a day when they are distributing double cash cards. You’ll earn two Cash Cards for every $50 you spend.

You can come back and use those Cash Cards on a later date to purchase full-price items. The catch is, items can be on promotion, they just can’t be in clearance. Which means, wait for the store to have a store-wide 50% off sale and you can use the Cash Cards with the sale.

Ex: You have 4 Cash Cards (worth total $100 off $200 in merchandise). Purchase $400 full-price items, get 50% off for store-wide sale (total now $200), use Cash Cards, pay $100. That’s 75% off!!! More than the employee discount!

10. St. Jude’s Cards

Come October and Christmas, keep your eyes open for these special donation cards. If you’re spending over $100 at Loft and you don’t get the card, you’re just being silly, especially if you’re a card holder.

Two times a year, Loft offers special cards for purchase ($25) to make a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital (and sometimes to cancer research). While you have to pay to purchase the card, you get 20% off (non-card holder) or 25% off (card holder) for any purchase $100 or more made that day or for a select amount of time afterward. You only pay once for the card. If you’re a credit card holder, you earn your $25 back on the first purchase. After that, it’s just gravy. Just don’t leave the card at home! It’s like you never even paid for the card, but you still get a discount.

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