Outlet mall shopping has become one of the best ways for families and savvy shoppers to save money on a variety of different types of items. With the recent surge in popularity over the past few years, the number of locations where one can find an outlet mall has increased a great deal too. This has made it increasingly easy for people to make outlet store shopping part of their lives.
There are, however, some things to keep in mind when it comes to outlet shopping, so here are some tips:
- Look for even better deals. While not every shopper is as clever with clipping coupons as participants you may see on “Extreme Couponing” there are ways to find deals. Before your trip to the outlet mall checkout their website. This is where they will list upcoming events, including mall-wide sales. Usually you can also stop by the mall office upon arrival to get coupon books or sign up for a rewards program. Finally you can also browse for coupons online based on your favorite brands. Print off any you find; just make sure the small print doesn’t say the coupon excludes outlet stores.
- Plan for a day of it. If you are not a regular outlet mall shopper, you should plan to make a full day out of this, unless the shopping center is really small. So this also means planning your day around where you park, what to do with the kids, etc. For example some shoppers pick a central parking location and plan their shopping route around it. Others may move the car, but remember this may be more difficult at some of the busier outlet shopping centers. Most of the nicer outlet malls have a decent selection of dining options, so you really can make a full day of your shopping trip.
- Know your product. Usually people head off to the outlet stores with some items in mind. For example you may need new bedding or a cutlery set. It could also be that you have a few favorite brands such as Guess, Puma and Juicy Couture and want to snag some good deals. In order to make sure you are getting good deals, make sure you compare current standard retail prices first. In other words, if you find out after the fact that the same bedding or cutlery set is available on sale at a regular mall for less than an outlet price, it isn’t worth the trip.
- Learn about returns and exchanges. As with any other store, the return and exchange policies can vary quite a bit. For example some outlet stores will take back anything for practically an unlimited amount of time, and you may even be able to return merchandise to regular retail stores too. On the other hand, some outlet stores have a sort of “last stop” approach and want this discounted merchandise gone for good. For that reason they may not take back anything for any reason, even for exchange or store credit. The important thing is to just be aware before making any purchases.
- Make yourself aware of why the merchandise is at an outlet. Outlet stores have become so popular that many brands now even manufacture part of their line to go directly to their outlet locations. This is partly to help shoppers save money but also to make sure there is always enough inventory even at the outlet store. Other brands though still use this as a place to unload irregulars. You should know this ahead of time, though, because you don’t want to get any surprises when you get home with your merchandise and find holes, missing buttons or other flaws you can’t live with.
The most important thing about outlet shopping is just to have fun. It’s a great way to spend a day or just make a quick run to pick up a specific item. Whatever the reason for your outlet mall shopping trip, you are bound to find some great deals, but do your research first. If you live near an outlet mall find out if they have a mailing list so you can be notified of events, sales and even get coupons sent directly to you.