Even if you find a piece that looks just like the original and costs just few dollars, don´t celebrate too early. First, ask yourself the major question of outlet shopping: Why is it so cheap? There always is a reason why outlet stores and malls offer products for better prices than regular retail stores. The three main reasons will be discussed on following paragraphs.
1. It is on sale because it is damaged.
There were times in history, when outlets used to sell mostly damaged merchandise. Thanks god it is not the case now. According to research by Value RetailNews from 1998 (which is a while ago) the damaged or irregular pieces made only 15% of what outlets offer. Bet these numbers didn´t move to worse in past years.
Still, such merchandise is there in the outlet world, but don’t be afraid of trousers without one leg or T-shirts without sleeves. “Damaged” might be as well just incorrectly labeled or returned pieces that can no longer be sold in retail stores.
2. Discount diagnosis: Overstock merchandise
The most common reason why outlet merchandise is on sale might be explained with the “overstock merchandise” diagnosis. There is nothing wrong with its quality or something. For whatever reason it just didn’t find its customer in retail store.
These are usually pieces from past seasons or it might as well be a shipment that arrived late and missed its retail window or … There are plenty of possible reasons. The most important fact: These are the goods you are looking for! It is the heaven of outlet shopping - top quality merchandise for fragments of its former price.
BUT! The price is not always the right decision maker. Read more on this “sales psychology”.
3. It was made for outlet = poor quality?
Don’t think that outlets offer only off-season or damaged items! Very often you can find also brand new merchandise and this could be even better bargain, right? In fact this is the case when you should be cautious the most! As was said at the beginning of this article, there always is a reason why that particular item is on sale – the more it applies to brand new merchandise! There are two possible reason why this might not be the best buy (and a guide how to avoid it)
Now that you know the answer, go check your nearest outlet store or mall and let us know in the comments, if you found some damaged or irregular pieces!