Guide To Outlet Mall Shopping
Outlets malls are great places to find designer brands at a low, low price. My friends and I have actually taken trips to other cities just to go outlet mall shopping. You can find deals that give you up to 70% (and sometimes more) off the original price. When shopping at an outlet mall, always remember to go the outlet mall with a plan because there is usually A LOT of ground to cover. My goal is to help you form the best plan for tackling an outlet mall (especially a large one) with a few tips.
• Before visiting an outlet mall, go online and print a store directory and map of the outlet mall; pinpoint the stores that want to visit and map out a path to follow. This way you will save time.
• If you go to an outlet mall with a particular store(s) in mind and don’t plan on doing any serious shopping (as I like to call it) during your visit, make sure you park in the general vicinity of the store(s) you are targeting to avoid wasting time.
• Keep in mind that the coupons that you can use in regular stores are usually not valid in outlet malls, but there is typically an information center that provides coupons for the customers. Also, call ahead or look online to find out which stores are having sales.
• Don’t forget about the return policy. This is one of the biggest mistakes shopper’s make!! It is always smart to familiarize yourself with a store’s return policy BEFORE you make your purchase. Often times, outlet stores have a very limited return policy; some stores even have an “All Sales Final” return policy. Sometimes the sales associate will tell you what the store’s return policy is, but don’t count on this. It is up to you to know what the store’s return policy is.
• Carry your receipts from your purchases on you; DO NOT leave them in the bag. THIS IS A UNIVERSAL SHOPPING RULE, not just for outlet mall shopping. Should you misplace one of your packages (Heaven forbid!!) it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for someone to return the purchase without a receipt.
• If you plan on REALLY shopping that day (as opposed to just looking around), try taking a small suitcase to carry your purchased items. This will make carrying your purchases a lot easier. If you forget to bring a small suitcase with you for your shopping trip, don’t worry…there is most likely a store there that carries luggage at inexpensive prices.
• Travel light. If you plan on doing some serious shopping only pack the “essentials” in the smallest handbag possible. If you are one of those people that love to carry the cute hobo handbags filled with tons of stuff (I know I am), the outlet mall is no place for that!! I always carry my small Coach cross-body bag, for example; it’s light and compact, yet roomy enough to carry my lip gloss, comb, ID, credit cards, hand sanitizer, hand lotion, and whatever receipts I collect from my purchases.
• Often times outlet malls are on the outskirts of major cities. If you are traveling to an unfamiliar city for outlet shopping, it is wise to take a bus to the outlet mall. This way you can avoid getting lost and wasting valuable shopping time. Before visiting the city, look the bus prices up online and schedule a ride to the outlet mall; I’ve found that the prices are very reasonable. And just so you are aware, I am not talking about a city bus; it is a bus designated specifically for taking people to and from the outlet mall.
My favorite outlet malls are Woodbury Common in New York (about an hour outside of New York City), Sawgrass Mills in Florida (about 45 minutes outside of Miami), and North Georgia Premium Outlets in Georgia (about 45 minutes outside of Atlanta).