The following list contains all of the tips I have learned from shopping at high end furniture outlet stores over the years. Several came as suggestions from members in my free private Facebook group. These are a reflection of my own personal experiences. Keep in mind, these may not be applicable to every outlet you go to.
1. Set realistic expectations regarding pricing before you go. Check out the company’s outlet pricing structure ahead of time. For example, Pottery Barn, West Elm, and Williams Sonoma change their deals weekly. That being said, if 30%, 40%, or 50% off retail price is outside your budget, then it may not feel like a successful visit.
2. Set realistic expectations regarding quality before you go. There are times I visit an outlet and everything is practically brand new. A month later, everything might have damage. Realize that items at outlets are usually there for a reason. If the items were perfect, they would be sold for retail price.
3. If you are looking for something specific, give them a call! They’ve always been super helpful in looking up items to see if they are in stock. Have the item SKU available!
4. Find out what day and time they receive their deliveries and plan to go to the outlet at that time.
5. Get there early! Sometimes a line forms and you want to be at the front to snag the best items.
6. If you are visiting an outlet in a strip mall (clustered with other outlet stores), check the outlet center’s website ahead of time. There is often a “Deals” or “VIP Club” tab at the top of the webpage with additional savings at certain stores.
7. If you are visiting an outlet strip mall (clustered with other outlet stores), stop by the Guest Services office. They often have coupon booklets with additional coupons for certain stores. Round of applause to Alaina M. for the outlet suggestion from over in my free private Facebook group!
8. Time your visit around a holiday, oftentimes there will be extra promotions or discounts on top of the slashed pricing.
9. Ask if there are any extra sales or promotions being run that day. I have frequented outlets several times where no signs of extra savings were displayed but they were, in fact, going on. Had I not overheard the employee talking to a customer, I would have never known about this extra savings.
10. Ask if there are military, senior, or student discounts available. Restoration Hardware does offer a military discount, but that person must be present with their military identification. Shoutout to Sindy V. from over in my free private Facebook group for the tip!
11. Fully inspect your items for damage or defects, including rolling out rugs (holes).
12. If there are paint or stain issues, inquire if the company sells touch-up kits! If they don’t know at the outlet, I would advise also emailing the company to find out. Ive even gotten kits sent to be for free! I’ve put together a list of companies that currently sell repair kits on their website here. Gigantic THANK YOU to Marika for this fantastic recommendation from over in my free private Facebook group!
13. Ask if they have any of the items you want new in boxes. This option was once presented by an outlet worker to me!
14. If you are comfortable with possible rejection- negotiate! Ask if you can get an additional discount or offer a price lower than what is listed. I saw this advice in a group and tried it once myself and it worked!
15. Sign up for a store credit card to receive extra discounts and incentives!
16. Ask if they can get a certain item for you. It’s definitely not a guarantee, but I asked once about a specific item and they made a magical call to a magical warehouse person and promised the item would arrive the next day- and it did!
17. If the method above was a bust, ask about joining their client list. If there is a specific piece you want, they can write your information down and call you once it is in (so cool).
18. If you’ve done both of the above, or your store of interest does not have an outlet store front, try reaching out to the company directly to see if they have any open box items in their warehouse. This was presented to me by a retailer when I reached out to them on social media!
19. If you are shopping at an outlet that decreases prices each week it sits unpurchased (i.e. Crate and Barrel and RH Outlets), take a photo of the tag. Then you can continue to call back each week the price decreases to see if you can get it for a cheaper price. But, be warned, someone can swoop in and buy it during that waiting time, so decide if this is right for you.
20. All sales are final! Except when they’re not. I’ve been able to return one item for a full refund and also swap a defective item successfully. It doesn’t hurt to at least call and ask!
21. Some outlets also offer an email newsletter to inform you of special sales. Make sure to inquire if they have something like this! Restoration Hardware Outlet has an email list you can sign up for here: https://rh.com/customer-service/email-signup.jsp
22. Some of the outlets have Instagram or Facebook pages. Check them regularly for inventory updates.
23. If you need to get your large items home, ask the outlet for recommendations. Although most outlets do not do in-house delivery, many often partner with third party companies.
24. It goes without saying, but being kind (to outlet employees and other shoppers… and basically everyone) can go a long way!
25. Gina makes it a point to carry $5 gift cards when she frequents her favorite outlet spots and they LOVE it! Sending another huge thanks out to Gina for this fantastic recommendation from over in my free private Facebook group!
26. Take pictures and post about it in my free private Facebook group or review them on Yelp, Google, etc! The more successful these outlets are, the more likely they are to stay in business or expand. And who doesn’t want that?!
Have you ever done any of these? How did it go? What other outlet tips have worked for you?
Find an outlet near you! Click here: US Outlet-By-State Directory
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