Friday, April 7, 2017

Department Store vs. Standalone Boutique


Today, I wanted to discuss the pluses and minuses of buying luxury handbags from the stand alone boutiques vs. the department stores like Saks, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman (bonus points event going on now) and Bloomingdale's. Aside from the differences in stock inventory, below are a few things to consider when planning your next big purchase:

1. Presentation: I bought my very first brand-new Chanel bag from Saks. Not going to lie, I was a bit disappointed when the SA handed me the bag in a generic Saks shopping bag (without a camellia flower/ribbon/Chanel shopping bag). On the other hand, I purchased several things from the standalone boutique and they always came beautifully wrapped. Something to keep in mind if the presentation is important to you.

2. Discounts & savings: For me, this is what I consider the most when spending a large amount of money on a bag. The benefit of buying from a department store is that you can (and should) take advantage of their promotional programs.
-  Take 10% off your first purchase (I took advantage of this). I saved $520 on my purchase. I would not have saved anything if I purchased my bag from a standalone boutique.
- Reward points: You can also participate in their rewards program and receive bonus point offers throughout the year. If I recall correctly, I received $150 worth of gift card on top of the 10% discount.
- Save on sales tax: If you live in certain states, you don't have to pay sales tax on your purchases. Say if I purchase a Chanel bag from a Neiman Marcus, I would save about $330 on sales tax (6.75%). I do have to pay sales tax if I purchase from a stand-alone boutique. If saving money is your #1 priority, then purchasing from a department store is the way to go.

3. Return policy: Another thing you'd want to consider is the return policy. The boutiques have a strict 14 day return policy vs. department stores allows up to 30 or even 60 days to return your purchases. I personally have not returned anything from Chanel so I can't tell you for sure if there is any catch.

4. Other benefits: When I purchased my bag from Saks, my information is in Sak's database not Chanel's. Therefore, I don't get any promotional materials in the mail. After I made a purchase from a standalone boutique, I was pleasantly surprised to see a gorgeous Chanel catalog arrived in my mailbox. Now, I get one every season along with other promotions they have.

There you have it. Hope you enjoy the post =) Have a great weekend!

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