Huge mistakes people make when shopping at an outlet store

We love outlet shopping yet its not without it's own pitfalls. If you consider yourself a savvy outlet shopper you should know of several frequently made mistakes that people often make and how to avoid them. Read on and find out how to make it away with a great haul without paying the price!

1. Watch out for minor damage and imperfections with items sold in an outlet store

Outlet stores often have items that are not wanted in the regular stores that might have a slight imperfection or minor damage. These regular stores cannot sell them so guess where they end up? That's right - at your local outlet center. You may not even notice the imperfection until you get home so always inspect an item closely in store. In all fairness the store should label the item as such yet this is not always the case. The reason the merchandise can't sell in the regular stores is that people are paying top dollar so they want perfection. You on the other hand as a savvy outlet shopper want a good deal, sometimes these imperfections occur. They may not matter much to you as you are getting such a great deal, just be aware that a small defect may be the price you have to pay for hugely discounted products.

2. Realise that you are very likely to be buying last seasons lines

Outlet stores are a way for big brands to sell off discontinued merchandise and still make profit. Because the lines are not current, you the shopper get them at a discount. Retailers would rather sell old stock at rock bottom prices than not at all. This shouldn't put you off but just bare in mind that you are not likely to get the most up-to-date stock at an outlet store.

3. Plan ahead before visiting the store

Outlet Stores are often out of town and require a bit of planning to get to. This is more often that not intentional. If it requires you to drive out of town you will likely plan a day around your visit, this cuts on browsing and encourages buying at the outlet mall, sneaky huh?

If you are going to make the trip then make sure you know all the facts. Where is the store located? What stores do they have there? What are the stores like and do they have good savings?

Luckily have done the hardwork for you. If you are not sure about your nearest store then look in our database of outlet malls in the USA, check out individual outlet stores in our store database.

4. Don't get caught up in the sales atmosphere

Try not to get caught up in the sales atmosphere. Hurried bargain hunters and sales signs are contagious! Have you ever looked in your closet and realised you have clothes with tags still on them that have never been worn? Don't worry we all do it. Remember just because something is cheap does not mean that you need it! Imagine the cost was not an issue - do you really need the item?

5. Know when to stay away!

It may sound obvious but weekends are always going to be more busy that weekdays so if at all possible visit on a weekday (unless of course you like visiting busy shopping outlets). Avoid public holidays as much as humanly possible! Outlet stores become rammed on these days, this can often be due to sales held on these days to encourage visitors. Lots of people means lots of queuing and lots difficulty parking! Not all outlet stores are affected by this but popular larger outlet stores like miromar and silversands outlets in Florida can get busy.

6. Outlet store only lines

Factory outlet stores used to only sell old and discontinued lines but nowadays we the buyer should be aware that stores have started selling exclusive lines of stock that can only found in outlet stores. This brings up the question of quality and whether the consumer realises that there are not buying merchandise found on main street.

A spokesperson from Coach, Andrea Resnick, stated that company [Coach] does also manufacture a separate outlet line, but she insisted that "it's the same excellent Coach quality.

The Brooks Brothers 346 line is a great example of an outlet store only line, you will only find this in Brooks Brothers Outlet stores. Also look out for Calvin Klein "White Label" suits, again only found at outlet stores. Other brands we know that do this include: Banana Republic, J Crew, Gap, Coach, Donna Karan and many more.

Now you can look at this one of two ways. The optimistic way would be to see these lines as an exclusive (only found in outlet stores) extension of the brand. The pessimist would argue that these 'cheaper' lines are not of the same quality as regular stock and if they are so good then why are they only sold in outlets? Ultimately its up to you but if you like the style then we would say go for it.  Just check the quality is up to the standards you would expect so you aren't disapointed later. People making the mistake of buying the cheaper outlet store only lines who don't realise face serious disapointment if they find out later.

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