Retail vs. Trade vs. Outlet Pricing: What it means to you

In a recent IG story, I posted a stunning sideboard at an outlet with four price points:
Retail, trade, outlet and what it costs when the outlet had a sale.
The variance is staggering.

This is the cost you the consumer will pay if you order a piece online or buy it at a retail location. It will be brand new. Most often than not, you can have it delivered and assembled by the store for an additional cost. You’ve paid top dollar and there is a very low likelihood that your new favorite item is damaged. If it is, customer support is an email or phone call away.

Discounts are extended to members of various trades. For Interior Designer’s, this can mean a discount ranging from 10-30% of the retail cost. Some Designer’s may extend this discount to you depending on your service agreement. I extend my trade savings to all full service clients.
Other Designer’s may order at the trade price and bill you at the retail price. The difference between the two costs, the arbitrage, is how some Designer’s are paid. The quality of the piece is the same as it were if you bought it retail.

A number of your big box stores have outlets. Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware and West Elm all have them. The price tag here may be attractive…25-60% off retail at times! I know!

Keep in mind, however, that many outlet stores price their items considerably cheaper than their retail counterparts because their quality is, at times, less than ideal. You’ll never know exactly what you’ll find at an outlet. The inventory is constantly in flux.
Historically, outlets have excess inventory and slightly damaged goods which retailers are unable to sell at regular retail stores. It could have been a floor model or a perfectly fine return. These pieces must be inspected with a keen eye to see if you can live with that scratch or dent. You get what you paid for.
Most outlets don’t offer shipping so you’ll have to have a vehicle large enough to haul away your new love interest AND you’ll have to maneuver it inside. Not so fun if you live in 4th floor walk up.

Sometimes the outlet may have even have a special sale and you can get a perfectly fine piece for 80% of its retail value.

The new owner of the sideboard lucked out. This floor model was gently used a for a temporary display. I’m sure they gladly took that 3K savings!

What are some of your favorite outlets?

Talk About Savings!

Talk About Savings!