There are many terms in the outlet world that might confuse even experienced shoppers. To make our world a bit clearer, we have already explained the difference between outlet mall and outlet center. Today the topic is: The difference between Outlet store and Factory outlet.
Walking through an outlet mall you can see various types of outlet stores. Some of them look just like regular stores, they have their famous brand written all over the place, and only the prices are lower than regular. But there are also shops, whose name you have never heard before (and chances are you will never hear again) and in those you can buy pieces from various brands.
They both sell branded merchandise for better price, so what is the difference?
Factory outlet vs. Outlet store
- Factory outlet is a store in which manufacturer sells his own branded products for better prices,
- outlet store is usually run by a retailer that sells returned and discontinued pieces from various manufacturers.
At the beginning there were factory outlets
The difference goes deeper to the history, when there were no outlet malls and no outlet stores (hard to imagine, right?). What we now call outlet stores were at the beginning only factory outlets – those tiny shops right next to factories, where you could watch the manufacturing process and buy overstock merchandise or irregular pieces for better prices.
As time went by, outlet stores got separated from factories and now you can usually find various stores grouped in outlet malls or centers where they are more accessible to bigger number of customers.
Outlet stores differentiated as third party sellers entered the market
The outlet market was and still is growing and, logically, this attracted third parties to participate in the “outlet industry” – this is when the difference between outlet stores and factory outlets developed. Today there are third party sellers who don’t produce their own products, but specialize only on discounted merchandise from other manufacturers.
Facts to remember: Factory outlet vs. Outlet store
The label “outlet store” is often used for all types of stores that offer discounted pieces. The difference is: when you shop in factory outlet, you get pieces directly from the manufacturer and in general outlet store you buy from a retailer.
Go check the differences in your local outlet mall and let us know in comments, if there were more factory outlets or outlet shops.