Time for Outlet Malls to Shine

Outlet malls’ participation in the global secondary market would not be possible without the use of advanced reverse logistics. Typically, secondary retailers are associated with out-of-season, used, or secondhand goods, leftover products stacked in piles or lining shelf after shelf of excess inventory. This, however, is an antiquated understanding how outlet malls work today.

In contemporary markets, outlet malls are transitioning from a remnant-based business model towards a more sustainable and systematic process. This means standardizing their inventory, looking ahead to anticipate new seasonal additions, and optimizing their supply chain processes with better technology and increased collaboration.

A strong reverse logistics program is vital here, because outlet malls are looking to capitalize on the unexpected in their purchasing. When standard retailers want to cancel large purchases or return massive quantities of in-season merchandise, outlet malls try to seize the opportunity to get quality product quickly and at a cheap rate.

This focus on lean inventory is a relatively new development in the outlet mall world. As the purchase of secondhand products and other methods of sustainable consumption become increasingly popular with consumers, outlet malls are trying to organize their inventory in a manner that emulates the low-volume, high-quality presentation of traditional retail stores. Because of the lower quantity inventory, the procurement of such product requires a slim, agile, and effective supply chain.

In the past, the difficulty of effective logistical management for secondary markets put a roadblock in the path of outlet malls headed toward growth. Today, the reverse logistics revolution ushered in by new technological advances is helping outlet malls command an increasingly large segment of the retail market — and with it, a better reputation among consumers.

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