How to Get the Best Deal at ASOS


I tend to go through distinct shopping phases: I'll fall in love with one store and obsessively shop there for about 6 months until I've curated a set of 5-6 'favorite' pieces. Then I won't shop there again for another year :)

Last year, I was all about Modcloth and The Limited. I filled out my work closet almost exclusively through these stores (with a smattering of tops from H&M and Forever 21). This year, I'm hooked on ASOS. Now that I am so over buying work appropriate clothes (no more blazers, pant suits, pencil skirts or blouses!), I'm happily indulging in the carefree, slightly edgy, trendy clothing selection at ASOS. My favorite brands are probably River Island, the in-house ASOS brand, and Freak of Nature, even though the latter is gothier than my usual style ^_^

A side affect of my shopping obsession means I become keenly aware of price fluctuations and tend to frantically research the best way to get a good deal. Thus in my quest to obtain more ASOS clothes, I have been stalking the shop like a madwoman tracking price changes, promo code patterns, and at long last...I think I have formulated the best way to get the BEST deal possible at ASOS.

Credits: ASOS

The Lowdown:

  • You can only use ONE promo code at a time, duh. But I mention this to reiterate that you can't stack promo codes. Ever :(
  • You can only use each promo code ONCE per account, no matter the size of your purchase.
    • You could technically get around this buy placing separate orders under multiple ASOS accounts, but that's a moral gray area you can wrestle with yourself ;)
  • If there is more than 1 promo code available for use (a very rare occurrence), try to order things one at a time (if that makes sense). If you order one thing at a time, that means if you return something, you will not lose the discount on the other item.
    • For example, if you want to buy 2 things and there are two promo codes available, each for 10%, buy 1 item, pay for it with one code. Then buy the second item using the other code. That way, if you decide to return one of the items, you will not lose the discount on the other item (more on this later).
  • ASOS regularly advertises 10-20% promo codes ~once a month, usually centered around a holiday. If you are patient, you should never have to place an order without one. 30% discount codes are rarer than unicorns (I haven't used one yet), but I've read these were offered during Black Friday in 2012.
  • ASOS tends to drop (and raise) prices of random items without any particular reason. The easiest way to track this is to just "Save Item for Later" and watch the prices of your saved items fluctuate. Sometimes, they don't even mark the new price as a discount (aka during sales, they usually strikeout the original price and put the discounted price in green). Sometimes, they'll just drop the price.
    • For example, this top, which I have been eyeing for about a month, simply dropped from ~$50 to a mere $23.76 without any warning. It's not on sale, there was no alert. It's just a lower price.
    • The downside to this random price adjustment is that ASOS also regularly raises prices of random items as well. For example, this scarf was only ~$47 two days ago (I swear!) and it literally leaped up to $67.88 without warning. As you can see, both of these items list their current price as if it was that all along, which is why the best way to see if you're truly getting a deal is to watch items individually in your Saved Cart.

Now for the most important tidbit:

Ended up paying full price for RI Bell Sleeve Lace Dress.
  • If you use a promo code to buy more than 1 thing and return something later, which is tempting because of ASOS' excellent return service, you will lose the discount and end of paying FULL PRICE for ALL the other items in your haul!
    • For example, say you buy 2 shirts, $50 each for a total of $100. You apply a 20% off promo code (aka $20 off) bringing the total cost to $80. Later, you decide to return one of the shirts because you don't like it. What ASOS will do is refund you is $30 (aka $50 original - $20 from the discount). Ultimately, this means despite having used a promo code, you will have paid the full $50 for the shirt you kept. In other words, when you return something, ASOS does not calculate the returns by applying 20% per item; promo codes apply per order. This applies even if you return 1 item out of 10 - if you return anything, you will still lose the entire amount of the discount and end up having paid full price for all your other items. I have confirmed this quirk with my previous orders.
    • Caveat: I am not sure what happens in situations where the discount exceeds the cost of the returned item. For example:
      • Order: $50 shirt + $40 dress + $10 top = $100 total + a 25% discount (aka $25 off) for a ultimate total of $75
      • So, what happens if you return the $10 top? I haven't tested this scenario out yet.... but if they refund $10 for the top, that means you got $90 worth of clothes for just $65, which would be so...unlike ASOS (and bad business). Yet I can't imagine they'd ask the buyer to an additional $15 after returning the top... That would be a PR disaster of epic proportions. Anyone know what happens in this kind of scenario?
    • The lesson: If you use a promo code, don't plan on returning anything in your haul.

Credits: ASOS

Having figured out these little quirks in the ASOS world...behold....

My Official ASOS Ordering Method
  1. Place a couple orders as you please just to get sizing down and try on items you've had your eye on. Return EVERYTHING you order; shipping & returns are free, so go wild. These orders are just "test" orders that help you create a list of items that you KNOW fit and you want to keep. Store all your 'picks' in your Stored Cart. If one particular item drops massively in price (over 25%), you should just go ahead and buy that 1 item even if you don't have a promo code as it is highly unlikely you'll be able to save more than 25% anyway.
  2. Soon you will have a little hoard of items you KNOW are just perfect. Though it will be hard, be patient and one day a 20%+ promo code will grace us with its presence!
  3. With promo code in hand, find ASOS on Ebates (3.5% cash back, affiliate link). If you don't have an Ebates account, you should make one because you can get cash back on not only ASOS, but also The Limited, Victoria's Secret, Sephora etc. Sadly, no Modcloth :(
  4. Ebates Coupons and Cash Back
  5. After you click through Ebates, add all your Saved Items into your Cart.
  6. Check out as you normally would, but make sure to put in the Promo Code on the checkout page.
  7. Receive your perfectly fitting clothes and bask in the glory of knowing you saved a pretty penny :)

I find it very satisfying to shop at ASOS this way because it really is the only way to truly take advantage of any discount codes. I have no doubt ASOS makes a very tidy profit from all the customers who make gigantic hauls every time they release a promo code and end up returning at least one thing...thus "tricking" everyone into making a huge haul of full priced purchases!

Other misc notes:

  • ASOS is great about returns and shipping, all of which are free! The only slight downside is that returns can be a wee bit nerve wrecking because they take so long to get back to the UK from the US and there is no tracking. Sometimes it takes 15+ business days for them to get the return and send you an email confirming they got it! On top of that, it usually takes 3+ days for the money to go back to your account. Of the 5+ orders I've placed/returned, I haven't had a problem with returns yet, but just wanted to throw that out there - don't expect to get the money from your return for about month if you live in the US.

And now, I have probably successfully convinced everyone that 1.) I am completely off my nut 2.) enjoy shopping online way too much 3.) am more likely than not a serial killer with OCD tendencies :)

Happy (ASOS) Shopping!


  1. ARGH! I didn't know about that return quirk and I just sent back a dress >.<. It's not that I don't want the skirts I'm keeping but DAMMIT. BLERGH.

  2. Haha this was quite enjoyable to read. Although that $10 refund thing do leave me curious also, something tells me you won't get the $10 refund at all...

    Maybe besides the nerve racking returns, you can try selling them? But I have a feeling that might leave you more on the anxious side.

  3. I always go to the ASOS site and look at the awesome clothes but I never buy clothes from there because I'm not a big online shopper. But I might try buying something from ASOS because they have awesome clothes and with your advice I will know what to expect and how to get a good deal with the promo codes! :) Thanks for sharing Elle! :)


  4. THANK YOU for this post! I've been browsing through ASOS for the past week but I wasn't sure about returns other than it being free, but you are right about the discount thing.

    Very informative. Were you going to order that scarf? It's cheerful and colorful :D Love it! But hate the price increase!

  5. This is so helpful! Thanks for this! It's such a bummer that when you buy something on sale and return it, you end up paying full price for all other items.

    I'm similar to you in that I go through phases - if I like a store, I will make multiple trips there for months. Haha.

  6. i didn't realize their prices would fluctuate.

    but i buy off ASOS uk site and never had a problems with the returns (Paying Full price for all other items) like you mentioned. If i buy 2 items both 20% off, and i returned one item, i wouldn't need to pay full size for the other item. They just refund me the (discounted) price for the returned item, which is fair.

    And when I return, it usually get to their warehouse within 10-14 days and i get my refund within 3-4 days, sometimes they offer instant refund when I emailed them about a faulty item.

  7. also i found that the more you spent on asos (UK), they'll send more discount codes to your inbox too! dunno about the US site though!

  8. Awesome post! I've noted the tips and put them against the UK ASOS! :D

  9. Great post Elle! I love shopping on ASOS but I hate how their prices are always fluctuating too. And I learned about the "pay full price if you return something you used a coupon code on" thing the hard way when I returned part of an order in the past. I am never going to do that again and start really paying attention to the measurements and making sure I am going to love the item before I commit to the order.

  10. Great post! I have an Australian ASOS account and I have realized that the price changes (not due to sale), are actually due to the currency fluctuations. ASOS' base currency is the GBP, and since yours is the USD, the USD has been very strong lately, and the GBP has been falling, so it is likely that they adjust their prices accordingly!

  11. Uggghhh I just bought a full price item yesterday and it went on sale today like 25% off! Ugggghhhh

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