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Nordstrom Rack Shopping Secrets Revealed

monster1991 profile picture
May 30, 2016 · 25.7k Views

If I can’t find my favorite designer brands or quality items at other off-price chains (TJ Maxx, Marshall's, etc), my next stop is usually Nordstrom Rack. But did you know that some items are made specifically for Nordstrom Rack (or other outlet venues) and tend to be lower in quality? Below, you’ll find some basic tips and tricks to snagging quality items for less at Nordstrom Rack (including how to spot their rare 1¢ deals) and a quick guide to recognizing product quality and deals based on their price tags.


Worry About Quality? You Shouldn’t

First, if you often avoid off-price retailers in fear of purchasing lower quality goods then you probably won’t have this issue with Nordstrom Rack. At Nordstrom Rack you’ll definitely find a good amount of quality designer brands for way less than their retail prices.

Plus, according to Racked, Nordstrom Rack disclosed that 20% off what they sell are their clearance merchandise from their many Nordstrom stores and website while the rest is bought from their vendor partners for the outlet. This means that they’re able to offer amazing low prices on designer items by purchasing the inventory from designer end-of-season clearance/excess inventory. 


Look Out for Nordstrom Rack Exclusive Items

While some of us head to the chain for designer deals, it is worthwhile to know that some items they carry are made exclusively for Nordstrom Rack. The easiest way to spot which items are meant for Nordstrom Rack is by comparing the two different price tags below. The one with the colored stripe (which indicate seasonal products) come directly from Nordstrom stores while the one without the colored stripe is made for specifically for outlet sales and therefore lower in quality.


Have you ever noticed that even your favorite designer item might look a bit off somehow at off-price retailers? Some designer brands have a slight defect off the manufacturing line which results in a lower price tag on the shelf. Many major brands also has a line designed exclusively to be sold at outlet stores. A prime example is the Michael by Michael Kors line:



Compared to items sold directly from designer stores, these items may be inferior in quality so we recommend keeping a close eye on item material composition in comparison to the price offered.


Know Your Price Tags

If you’re shopping at an off-price retailer, make a beeline for the clearance rack first. A price tag without a second markdown sticker or tag at Nordstrom Rack practically means you’re paying full price for the item since (as we mentioned above) a lot of items are designed for outlet sales.

C360_2011-08-31-17-34-05 (1).jpg

The “compared at” portion of the tag really doesn’t mean much so you want to see a tag go through many phases of markdowns if you’re looking for the best deal. Let’s be real, how could your average made-in-china blouse have a “compared at” price of $40 bucks right? For designer items (shoes and such), when in doubt, take your cellphone out and run a quick price comparison simply by Googling the designer name and item model.


Nordstrom Clear the Rack Event



If you’re after those second markdown price tags for massive savings, keep an eye out for Nordstrom Rack's Clear the Rack events! During this major clearance promotion, shoppers can expect up to 75% off clearance on nearly all of their sale inventory PLUS another additional 25% off at the register. I often find the best designer labels during these sales with anything from Free People and TopShop to Kate Spade and Tory Burch for dirt cheap but you really have to do some digging through the racks.

P.S. when the Clear the Racks event is happening, you can shop the event both in-stores at your local Nordstrom Rack or online at NordstromRack.com. We recommend going in-stores where you can examine the price tags to see what items are marked down the absolute lowest. Subscribe to Nordstrom Rack store promotional alerts from DealsPlus so you can keep up to date when these sale events are taking place.

How to Get Nordstrom Rack’s Rare 1¢ Deal

According to one Racked writer experience, the famed 1¢ deals at Nordies Rack, are real. Naomi Tobis, a spokesperson for Nordstrom, commented that they technically do not offer penny deals. However, if by chance, there is a mistake and the barcode rings up a total of one cent, they will honor that deal.


Source: Wedding Bee

Here comes the tricky part. The tag might not even tell you that it is a one cent deal until scanned at the register. In that case, you can always grab a price check at check out. Chances of this happening are rare but if you dig deep enough, you can probably be a lucky penny deal winner. We suggest combing through the clearance rack and especially items with a tag that’s been markdown one too many times. Even if it ends up being the listed price, at least you’ll have saved a good amount off the original price! If you’re having second thoughts at the counter (in hopes of that $0.01 on the register screen), you can always say no at the register. 


Ask a Sales Associate When They Get New Shipments

I can’t say for sure when all Nordstrom Racks typically restock or get new shipments. Most locations will get new shipment on certain day(s) of the week (typically in the morning hours). We suggest asking a store associate if they would be willing to disclose and plan your shopping trips around that time frame to be the first to shop the new items for less.


Join The Nordstrom Rewards Program

If you find yourself at Nordstrom Rack every other week, consider joining their Nordstrom Rewards program (free). As a member, you get rewards for every purchase made. With 1 point for every dollar spent from Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack and their online e-commerce company, HauteLook. Once you rack up 2,000 points, you’ll get a $20 voucher to spend on anything!


Best Things to Buy at Nordstrom Rack

Speaking from personal experience, I always find awesome deals on name brand cosmetics and shoes for WAY less at Nordstrom Rack. If you’re a fan of Stila, Lorac, Smashbox, Too Faced or Urban Decay beauty products, all of these brands go for 25-80% off at Nordstrom Rack beauty section (I love you Sephora but my wallet does not). And that’s without added markdowns. See an example of these high end brand offers as shown by a fellow fashion blogger Nouveau Cheap below:

Source: Nouveau Cheap

I also frequent the rack to find quality designer shoes for less. Nordstrom Rack carries everything from Nike to Stuart Weitzman to Birkenstocks so that makes it a one stop shopping destination for me. I can’t speak for the quality of their high end designer shoes but the one pair of Stuart Weitzman heeled boot that I did try on… felt freaking fantastic. That one pair was marked down to around $250 from previously $800+ price tag, unfortunately, I second guessed it and the next day it was gone (probably a blessing in disguise either way). But, if you’re looking for a new pair of running shoes or sneakers, I often find converse sneakers at $25-$35 price range which is pretty decent for a new pair of chucks! 

Not limited to the above categories, you’ll still find plenty of great designer deals at Nordstrom Rack. It’ll just take a bit of snooping around!

Fellow Nordies Rack fans, if you have any other tips or tricks to share when it comes to finding stellar deals, let us know in the comments below!





monster1991 profile picture
I wanna be the very best like no one ever was. Couponing is my real test, to cut them is my cause. I will travel across the land, searching far and wide. Each store to understand, the discounts that's inside.

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