Online outlets and open box sales are one of my favorite ways to shop for furniture at a discount. If you’ve never shopped this way, your eyes are about to open to a whole new world of off price finds.
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I’ve mentioned a number of times that I used to work for Wayfair, which is where I first learned about open box sales and online outlets years ago. I found out about the open box section of the site quickly because as an employee I got 50% off whatever the sale price was. While I worked there, I bought a small apartment and a house in the span of two years, so I spent a lot of time dissecting the open box section of the site. I was in heaven.
At the time, there weren’t quite as many online outlets or retailers with open box sections as there are today, but now it seems like a lot of major furniture retailers have one or the other.
If you’re wondering about what open box means, what retailers offer it, or where to shop the best online outlets, keep reading, because I’ve covered it all.
What are online outlets?
Furniture retailers generally do not operate separate online outlet stores, and instead opt for an outlet section of their website, or an online warehouse/tent sale that happens a few times a year.
What is open box?
Open box items are mostly returns that a company can no longer sell as brand new, since the box has been opened and the item may have been taken out and assembled/disassembled. So instead, retailers sell these items on their website at a discount.
Open box items are new, they’re not items that someone may have opened, used for a bit, and then decided to return. If you buy an open-box item, you should expect a new product.
That said, sometimes open box items do have minor damages like scratches or dings or fabric snags, or damage to the packaging. This is why they’re discounted.
What stores have online outlets and open box sections?
Nearly every home decor retailer has a “Sale” or “clearance” section of their website, which is the best place to shop for things like past season items and over stock pieces.
However, only select furniture stores have dedicated online outlets/open box sections. The ones that do generally consider their online outlet and their open box section to be the same thing. The online outlet is where they sell all of their open box items. For example, if you click on the West Elm “outlet” tab, you’ll see all of the open box deals.
Because of this, I’ve created one list of online outlets where you’ll find open box items for each retailer.
- Burke Decor
- Lamps Plus
- Lighting New York
- Pier 1
- Pottery Barn
- West Elm
- Williams Sonoma/ Williams Sonoma Home
The stores that don’t sell open box items online tend to either send them to salvage stores (like Target does), or reserve the items for their physical outlet stores (like RH, Arhaus and Crate & Barrel.)
What stores have online warehouse sales?
Separately from their online outlet and open box sales, some furniture retailers also offer online warehouse, tent or sidewalk sales a few times a year. These stores include:
The best way to find out about when these sales are taking place is to subscribe to their emails.
Are open box items good?
As I mentioned above, open box items are new, but they can sometimes have imperfections.
The thing with open box items is that you’re taking a risk. The item has been opened, and not all retailers inspect their open box items with a fine tooth comb. So, there’s a chance that a part could be missing or something could be broken … or it could be in perfect condition.
I’ve encountered both instances myself.
When I first bought the pendant light for our $700 bathroom remodel, I bought the open box item from Amazon. It wad $50 cheaper, but when it came, I realized there was a crucial piece missing, so I had to send it back and ended up ordering the full price version.
However, I’ve also purchased a number of open box Wayfair, Amazon, Visual Comfort and West Elm items that have been perfectly fine.
It all depends. I would say that you should make sure that you can return an open box item before you buy it, just in case. Though, even if something is “final sale” and it shows up at your house in shambles, I doubt any respectable retailer would not give you a refund.
How do you find open box deals?
There are two main ways to find open box deals. The first is to simply shop as you normally would, then when you find an item you like, check to see if there is an open box option. Some retailers like Wayfair and Amazon will just include the open box version of the item as an option on the item page. (See above).
If you only want to look at open box items, or you’re shopping a retailer that doesn’t list open box versions with the regular item listing, you can check the website for an open box section. It’s usually under the “sale” tab, and can be listed as either “online outlet” or “open box.” I’ve included a video for how to navigate to the West Elm online outlet/open box section, below.
You can also find open box items on third-party sites like eBay.
To do this, I usually just search what I’m looking for, plus the term “open box.” i.e. Visual Comfort Open Box. I find that eBay is particularly good for open box lighting, which often comes from independent lighting stores.