Somewhere along the line, though, we stopped haggling for better prices. Okay, so the internet is excellent for making price comparisons – but still, these comparisons just involve the published prices. As much as 57.5% of deals can be improved by bargaining with the seller, yet 66% of us rarely or never haggle – meaning there’s a whole range of potential discounts out there that we’re just not accessing. How can we get back in touch with our ancient instinct to haggle, and how does it fit in with today’s complex shopping culture?
There are some core haggling techniques that every shopper should have in their repertoire. Firstly, to use the carrot rather than the stick: those traders with the power to give you a discount also have the power to say No. If you’ve never worked in retail, you might not quite understand the difference a friendly approach and some human acknowledgement make to a transaction. A retailer is far more likely to help you out if they like you, and may even enjoy being tricky if you start making demands.
Second, make sure you’re speaking to the right person. If you’re at a big chain store, or talking to the Saturday kid at a smaller independent, you’ll probably need to seek someone with a bit more authority on whom to use your charm. If you’re online, it can seem pretty faceless – but many websites have pop-up links to Live Chat Operators these days. Such a gesture is a good sign that the business values customer service, so it’s worth engaging the human at the other end of the cable and asking for a discount code.
Thirdly, get your timing right. When shopping for bigger items, you may be more likely to pressure a cheap sale at the end of the month, when the salesperson is eager to hit their target. Grocery stores are an easy touch at the end of the day – trying hitting the deli counter shortly before they close. They’d rather sell you meat or cheese at a discount than write it off altogether. If you’re online, try adding an item to your basket and then leaving it alone for a few days – sometimes the website will ‘notice’, and start emailing you special offers to ensure you complete that transaction.
Finally, offer something in return. It might be your undying loyalty to the brand, or it might be to pay in cash rather than card or check. Or it might be getting your custom in the first place: do your research, and if you know your favored dealer is being undercut elsewhere, ask for a discount to reflect the discrepancy. Let them know that otherwise you will need to shop with another company.
These ideas and more are explained in a clear, insightful new infographic from OnStride Financial. It’s a great one to kickstart your haggling habits, and share with bargain-loving friends and clients. Because as long as you’re paying full price, you’re paying too much.
Infographic by: www.onstride.co.uk