Without a doubt, my Retail vs. Outlet- Worth It? post is my most popular, followed closely by Alternatives to Outlet Stores! Judging from the number of views of the posts, the number of people posting about outlet sales in my Facebook groups, and the popularity of outlet and off-price shopping, a lot of us are interested in outlet and off-price shopping. I find that preparing for shopping at an outlet is a different process than when I am shopping at a regular retail store. I am sure that a lot of people will see no difference, but I find that altering the way that I approach shopping for outlets has led to more enjoyable shopping, and more importantly, more successful shopping. So, what are my tips?
1.Know Your Priority Stores
If you are visiting an outlet centre, more likely than not there will be numerous stores. Because most of my outlet shopping is done when I visit M in Washington, my normal outlets are the Seattle Premium Outlets- there are literally hundreds of stores. Look at the store list prior to going, and decide what stores/brands are your top priority- visit those first instead of wandering throughout the entire outlet mall. If you have time, you can always wander through the other stores after, but this stops disappointment over missing a particular store.
2. Know Your Budget
Outlet price tags are designed to make you think that you are receiving an absolutely amazing detail, by listing a suggested market retail price and then an outlet price. The market retail price is irrelevant, and the item was almost certainly never sold anywhere close to that price. Because of this apparent amazing deal, a lot of people get carried away and spend far more than they should. Know how much you are willing to spend in each store, and how much you are willing to spend in total. If you think you won’t be able to say no, work in cash.
3. Know What You Are Looking For
While sometimes it can be fun to just wander and see what there is at the outlets, I find that it helps to have a direction of what you are actually looking for. If you are looking for clothing, focus on clothing stores and skip the home, beauty, and food stores (at least until the end). Have an idea of what general category you are shopping in, and focus on those stores.
4. Walk Around the Entire Store Before Deciding on a Purchase
When I stepped into Kate Spade, there were 60% + 20% off signs most everything in the store- my first thought? Buy EVERYTHING POSSIBLE. However, my Visa and budget would have been quite upset with that turn of events and I resisted the urge. I reminded myself that I just purchased a Kate Spade purse, and that I was here for necklaces and small accessories, not purses. With your budget in hand, do a quick lap in the store to see what all of your options are, and then start making decisions. No one has money for everything- this will help with getting your heart set on more items than you can afford!
Bonus Tip? Remember that most items there weren’t ever made for the retail store, but they are still worthwhile!
How do you approach outlet shopping?