Outlet shopping brings about a different feeling for different people. For some people, it is the best way to get name brand items for a price they are more comfortable with paying. For others, it is the thrill of finding bargains that they can brag about. Some people prefer to pay full price for newer and fresher inventory at retail stores.
There are some things that you need to understand about outlet shopping in general before you can even hope to find the best deals on the items that you are shopping for.
Not All Stores are Created the Same
Not all big name retailers have outlet stores, for one reason or another. Some have outlets that are specifically geared to a certain line or brand within their family of items.
- Some retailers sell items in their outlet stores that are different from their retail stores. Banana Republic, and J. Crew are two examples of stores that have outlet-specific items that are not sold in their other stores. An industry survey revealed that as little as 12% of items in an outlet are ever sold in the retail stores.
- Most stores use a code on their items’ label to denote whether it came from a retail store, from online, or through an outlet. These codes prevent people from buying something at an outlet store and then trying to return it to a retail store for more than they paid for it.
- Not all outlets offer discounted prices on all items. Some brands have overlapping inventory, so you may find an exact item in both the retail store and the outlet, typically at the same or a very similar price.
- Smart shoppers will quickly learn which outlets are the best in terms of quality, price, and service.
Clothing and Active Wear
If you are a fashionista who has to be on trend no matter what, outlet shopping may not be the way for you to go. However, if you just want nice clothes that fit well and look great, there are plenty of bargains to be found. Make the most of the outlets by looking for these types of things:
- Wardrobe basics that never go out of style and that are often at substantial savings at outlets as new inventory is moved into the retail stores. A pair of basic running tights at a retail sporting goods store may be beyond your budget, while the exact same pair in the outlet for that name brand may be half the price.
- Stock up on your favorite brands or styles when you find them at outlet stores. Remember that some sizes are harder to find in the outlet stores simply because they are big sellers.
- Out-of-season items are often marked down even further in the outlet as they try to make room for new items.
There are several outlets that specialize in name brand and professional quality makeup, makeup accessories, and hair care products at prices that are far below that found in the retail stores.
- Sample colors at retail stores and then buy at the outlet. Some outlets do have sample options on site, while others do not. One makeup brand known for having a wide selection of samples at their outlet stores is MAC Cosmetics.
- Watch for expiration dates on all makeup items. While most are perfectly safe, there are some that may be close to their use by date.
- Never buy damaged or possibly opened makeup no matter where you are shopping.
- Outlets are the best place to get makeup accessories like brushes and beauty blenders.
One of the greatest things about most accessories is that they can be used to update an outfit and tend to be classic, meaning you can wear them with a new year’s trend as well as tried and true outfits from your closet.
- Outlet stores are great for getting seasonal accessories like sunglasses even during the off-season months. You can also find an outlet to buy these items at while on vacation.
- Belts are often a second thought but can change the whole look of an outfit.
- Scarves are another item that you may find at huge discounts at outlets. Scarves can be used in a number of ways, including as belts and head wraps.
Like anything, there are some pros and cons to outlet shopping, so always do your research and know what to expect before you even go. Outlets may be limited by size on what they carry versus the regular store, and the savings may not be enough to make up for that—or you might find that one item that makes the whole trip worth it.