If you recently saw an ad promoting up to a 50% discount on furniture at an outlet store, you may want to learn more about what outlets mean in furniture. Before getting excited at the possibility of halving the price of your furniture, what do outlets really mean?
Furniture outlets refer to a place where manufacturers and retailers can sell furniture pieces that didn’t do too well on sale. For customers, it’s a place to buy furniture for the cheapest prices while hoping for any level of quality.
In this article, I’ll analyze the concept of outlets and how they fit into the furniture retail industry. You’ll learn about the quality of furniture you get at an outlet store, and if outlets objectively offer lower prices than competing retail products.
What Is the Difference Between Outlet and Store?
When next you’re shopping for furniture, you may be undecided as to where to make your purchase. Apart from prices, are there any differences to shopping at an outlet compared to a standard retail store?
In this section, I’ll show you the detailed differences between outlets and stores, and why one may be better than the other.
Outlet furniture is usually cheaper than retail furniture. From this, most people infer that the furniture pieces at outlets are of vastly inferior quality when compared to furniture from retail stores, but that is very debatable.
All outlet stores are different, and the quality of furniture you get from outlets differs too. While the general outlet aesthetic feels cheaper than that of a retail store, it doesn’t mean the items they sell are worlds apart.
Some inventory in most outlet stores is sourced from unsold merchandise from the standard retail stores. Most of the goods you see in outlets, however, are made specifically for them, cutting some important corners, mostly in build quality.
Generally, you’ll get more quality furniture in standard retail stores. However, shopping at an outlet on a tight budget doesn’t mean you’ll be getting inferior furniture pieces all the time.
Everything about outlet stores is made to feel cheaper. If you think retail stores are far more accessible than outlet stores, you must be very observant, because that is indeed true.
Retail stores are usually located at very accessible places close enough to residential areas. Outlets, on the other hand, are usually situated in inconvenient locations, forcing customers to go out of their comfort zones to access the store.
The reason for this is simple: rent is a lot cheaper when you live away from the main parts of the city. If the store rents a very expensive place, it will defeat the very outlet goal of cutting costs whenever possible.
If you’re looking to shop for your next furniture at an outlet, you better be readying yourself (and your car) for a pretty long drive.
While you may have read a couple of articles about how an outlet store isn’t helping you save money, it’s still pretty evident that you’ll get better prices by buying off an outlet as compared to a dedicated retail store.
It’s also time to stop pretending that the furniture quality you get from an outlet is on par with what you get from a retail store. In my experience, you get exactly what you pay for.
What Does Outlet Mean in Furniture?
If you’ve seen ads of furniture outlets promoting their insane markdown on prices, you may want to know what an outlet means exactly.
An outlet isn’t unique to furniture; there are outlets across all other retail industries, and they all work in similar ways. Outlets offer discounts that are practically unheard of in the retail industry because they offer slightly inferior furniture.
Outlets first appeared years ago, due to a need for manufacturers to get rid of damaged products; even if it means selling at a ridiculously low price. The idea worked, and over the years, outlets have been a pretty prevalent sight in the retail world.
Outlets don’t typically provide the great furniture quality that you’ll find in most retail stores, but that means prices are also heavily marked down. If you’re heavily on a budget, you may want to consider getting your next furniture set at an outlet.
While the legitimacy of outlets has been questioned over the years, they still provide the best prices in the furniture retail industry. As anyone else already knows, you can’t make an omelet without breaking quite a few eggs. Outlets have broken some eggs, but their omelet is undoubtedly delicious.
Are Furniture Outlet Stores Lower Quality?
We must accept the fact that retail stores simply provide better furniture quality. However, that isn’t to say furniture from outlets is unusable; basic research and statistics show that may not be the case.
To determine the quality of furniture that an outlet store gets, it’s important to learn how they get their merchandise first. This knowledge will give us an insight into the quality of the pieces of furniture that are on sale at outlets.
Most consumers think outlets are stocked with damaged or abnormal furniture, and they may be right. Damaged furniture makes a vast majority of some outlet’s merchandise because the manufacturer is trying to get rid of them as soon as possible.
Discontinued or unsold inventory also eventually makes its way into an outlet store. This may happen if a manufacturer makes excess furniture and couldn’t distribute it all to dedicated retail stores. The rest goes to outlet stores where customers can typically get better deals on the same quality of furniture.
Lastly, some products are made specifically for outlets. This class of outlet merchandise is usually the worst quality as the manufacturer will actively try to cut costs, keeping the manufacturing prices low, and hence, the quality.
If you can get a product that was to be listed in a retail store but didn’t sell out, you’ll be getting excellent quality furniture for a decent price. On the other hand, buying furniture made specifically for outlets isn’t exactly a good idea for obvious reasons.