It seems that outlet shopping has evolved considerably within the past quarter century. What was once a way for manufacturers to dump irregular merchandise has become a way to highlight the brand and offer a flagship destination for brand loyalists.
Having grown up near one of the largest outlet centers in the world, Woodbury Commons in New York State, I’ve always thought of outlet shopping as a normal method for finding unique products at great prices. Whether consumers benefit more from the perfect products sold at marginally discounted prices or slightly imperfect products traditionally sold at significant discounts depends largely on the items they are looking for. In either case, brand name products can often be found at thrift stores for even less. Still, outlets can offer great prices to those who would never consider second-hand options.
Outlets also give shoppers access to many different products that might not be available from alternative sources. Many outlet brands are typically sold in department stores, where they only receive limited shelf space and must compete with similar brands. At the outlets, entire stores are dedicated to each brand, offering a wider selection of products and prices. They may also offer products that have been discontinued and are no longer available from any other source. Since customers are able to buy directly from the manufacturer, prices tend to be lower as well.
A trip to your local outlet shopping center has the potential to save you money. If the low prices cause you to buy more than you would have otherwise, you could end up spending more money. But if you limit your purchases to the best deals and only those things you would have purchased elsewhere at higher prices, you stand to gain the most from the experience.
Is outlet shopping a part of your normal spending routine?