Part 2: Getting the Best Deals at the Outlet Mall
Chances are, if you are a shopping maven, you already know about outlet malls. You are probably even a regular! Finding deals is not too challenging, since merchandise is promoted at a discount. However, do you know how to get the ultimate best prices? Read through to find out how to get even more for your money during your next outlet shopping excursion.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but shopping during major holiday sales will score you big savings. However, what you may be missing is that shopping a few days before the holiday will give you the most selection with the same discounted prices. Most retailers have weekly markdowns that begin on Thursdays. This means that you can take advantage of the deals without the weekend crowds. Many stores even offer pre-sale or early bird options if you shop early. Confirm with the sales staff when sales begin and mark your calendars.
An additional helpful note is that you can get the best shopping done during the morning hours. Stores are generally less trafficked and staff is more available to help you with finding a great deal!
It seems like every store has a rewards program now, and for a good reason! They give good customers a great deal! Always ask about your favorite store's reward program and how it works. Most will give you savings and coupons based on the amount of your purchases. Some even give you a discount on your first purchase. While some stores incorporate their rewards program into a credit card, most just require your name and email.
One of the best rewards programs out there is through the Simon VIP Program. It is free to sign up and you have access to exclusive coupons at every Simon outlet mall in the country! You will also receive a free coupon book to your local outlet mall upon sign-up. The VIP Program regularly hosts members-only events that provide special sale prices at select stores. The best part is that you do not have to worry about a membership card! You can access these coupons at any point on your phone, tablet, or computer.
Learn to Bargain
A little known secret in retail is that prices are not always as you see them. Many items can actually be negotiated to a lower price. Does the sweater you like have a tear? Do the shoes have a small imperfection? Let the sales staff know! Usually, you can receive a damage discount for the item. Please note that many items will be final sale with a damage discount, so make sure you really like it before purchasing! Another tip is for buying display models, especially with shoes. Sometimes, stores will offer an additional discount on floor models. Be sure to ask, especially if the shoe is stretched or imperfect in any way. If they cannot lower the price, ask if you can get new laces, shoe care, or any additional products to compensate.
Despite what you may think, outlet stores still operate with full customer service. One of the little known services outlet stores offer is ordering and free shipping. Part of the fun in shopping outlets is the thrill of the hunt. However, that joy can be easily dissipated when the store does not have your size. Luckily, many stores can find and ship the item you need straight to your home with free shipping! Some stores, like J. Crew and Last Call, will charge for shipping, but you can always negotiate!
Another service to take advantage of is shoe stretching. Say you found the perfect pair of pumps, but they are just a little snug in the toe. A member of the sales team can easily put the shoe on the stretcher for you to avoid the breaking in period. It's a complimentary service that allows you the best fit, and stores like Nine West and Easy Spirit regularly offer it. Similarly, watches and sunglasses can also be adjusted for perfect fits. Ask your local Fossil store or Sunglass Hut to help! Lastly, do not forget about cleaning and tailoring services! Jewelry stores, such as Kay Jewelers or Zales, will provide a free jewelry cleaning with purchase. If you need a hem, work with Banana Republic or Johnston & Murphy for your complimentary tailoring with purchase. Note that all stores are different, but most staff like to accommodate your requests to ensure that you are a loyal customer.
With all of these tips, you are ready for your next trip to the outlets! Just remember that every store is different and has their own policies and procedures. The key is to be a friendly and to ask. Remember, the sales staff can be your best friends! Soon enough, you will only be shopping at outlets with all the deals you find!