September 03, 2009

Online Purchase Review: The Outnet

I made my first purchase from The Outnet last month. This is a review of my experience.

I decided to bite on some low priced items from their clearance sale.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I found an APC dress and a 3.1 Phillip Lim dress deeply discounted.
The Outnet's periodic Flash Sales and their steady stream of new, past-season-but-seasonally-appropriate arrivals make it well worth a regular visit, in my experience. The detailed fit information, numerous photographs, and fantastic styling of items make it as useful and enjoyable an online research destination as it's fancier sister site, Net-A-Porter.

The only thing that could potentially improve the already detailed information would be customer reviews. That would probably take away from the site's sleekness but because it is already a discount destination, it wouldn't effect the status of the Outnet brand.

I still couldn't see them moving in this direction even though so many websites have opted to allow customers to voice their opinions (Revolve, Anthropologie, etc.). Thanks to online marketplace pioneers that first to permitted consumers to voice their praise and critiques of electronic and entertainment items, sellers of clothing, footwear, and accessories, like Zappos and Amazon (which now owns Zappos), have ushered in a trend that enables customers to weigh in on fit, quality, value, comfort, appearance, etc. I cannot help but expect that more and more websites will follow suit, eventually compelling luxury etailers to cave to demand.

But what Outnet lacks in reviews, it makes up for in customer service. My items arrived swiftly (considering they came from across the pond) and were packaged not in the chic hard black boxes of Net-a-Porter, but in a practical, bright white, amply sized, reusable zip-top shopping bag, emblazoned with their colorful circle logo and slogan, "It's Chic-onomics!" The items inside were wrapped carefully and separately, in white tissue paper. When I opened my package, it hardly felt like discount shopping.

Gilt Groupe and Bluefly before them, had really cornered the market on making discount feel deluxe, with their special packaging and helpful customer service. Alhough I've heard mixed reviews about Gilt, they've always been helpful to me. Bluefly has always been extremely accommodating and still has the best return policy of any of these sites, even though they reduced it from 90 days to 60. Still, The Outnet is worth considering if you can find a good price on something. I haven't used my reusable tote because I have all those Baggus but it will definitely be useful at some point!

3 comments:

Eric the Red said...

I guess the buying moratorium is over? :)

Harry McKinley said...

I think with current expectations of the market it's amazing how 'discount shopping' is rapidly being classed as simply 'shopping' with consumers choosing to straddle all areas of the market in an effort to strike a balance which works for them. I have friends that will spend hundreds of £s on a pair of new season Jimmy Choos and then spend the foreseeable future hunting out the rest of their clothes at a TK Maxx!

Jesspgh said...

Buying moratorium is over sort of. I am trying in general to chill because I am saving for wedding related expenses. But these were great deals! Thanks for reading Eric!

Harry, I am loath to spend full price even on Choos. I got mine for 70% off last fall at Saks. Not that I have many pairs...

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