Take a good look at the goods
According to one study I read recently, about 82% of products that are sold at outlets were manufactured exclusively to be sold there. This means that clothing and goods can vary a lot in quality so be sure to examine them carefully. In some cases, items might have tags saying “outlet” or “factory line.” It may be more difficult to spot others. Before you buy, check to see if the item feels lighter or seems to be of a lower quality
Check out prices before you shop
Once you’ve chosen an online store where you want to shop, go on the retailer’s website and look at the prices listed there. Outlet stores try to make their discounts seem as good as possible with signs suggesting that prices are maybe 65% off. However, according to Consumer Reports the average savings are nearer to 38%. If you compare the prices listed on the retailer’s website to what you see at the outlet store, you’ll have a much better understanding of how much you’re really saving.
Shop off-peak times
If you shop at off-peak times such as Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, you can avoid congestion and shelves that have been picked over. You should also shop early in the day. If you can’t do this, then avoid early afternoon shopping and wait until after dinnertime.
Checkout their retail stores first
If there are sales going on in your local mall or if you have some special coupons, shop it before you go to the outlet stores. You might find that you can pay about the same at a mall store as you would at the outlet store but get better quality
Look for outlet center circulars and coupons
Go online or call your outlet center to see if there are any coupons or circulars that would make for additional savings. You might also find that senior and military discounts are available.
Don’t be afraid to leave without buying anything
Outlet malls tend to be placed in locations that are not close to metropolitan areas. For example, our outlet mall is about 40 miles from our downtown. This means that going to the outlet mall could be a full-day trip for you. In this case, there is always the temptation to buy something just to justify the time, energy and gas you spent coming and going from the outlet mall. This can lead to buying stuff you don’t really need or spending more money than you would otherwise. Don’t buy something or spend more money just to justify the trip.