Retail Tips to turn you into a smart shopper

by Mike on February 23, 2013

Retail Tips

Betraying the code – Retailers


I know I may not have commented about it in my About Me page but I spent a somewhat interesting three years working in retail in my past working history. On top of that (yes I am a sucker for punishment) I spent another seven years working in wholesale inside a similar but different industry. I don’t know this qualifies me to claim to be an expert but it certainly has enabled me to be a smart shopper and a somewhat savvy negotiator (as you may have seen here in my post about credit card negotiation).

I was taught many of the simple retail tricks stores use to obtain your custom and money. Was also paid to be sent off to merchandising school which detailed why stores are setup the way they are, how customer relations function and how a buyers psychology works. And why a store looks and works when you walk in the front door. After seeing one of my family members make every mistake you can think of when shopping earlier this week I felt I might need to share this with my readers.

Shopping and retail plays a big part in all of our lives. You need a purchase goods and services nearly every day to survive. From your deal with the electric company to the groceries that forms your dinner that evening. Its not all about luxury items shopping, Its inherit in everything we do. Do you think they ask you for “Fries with that” because their being nice? That one line taught to their staff members netted huge increases in profit for that fast food chain!

The 10 hot Retail tips to take shopping next time

Ive made some assumptions below about what your shopping for but I feel that some or all of these retail tips can be applied to any of your shopping adventures. Smart Shopper

  1. Communication and thinking forms the basis of every shopping transaction. Supply enough information to a sales person for them to know your a serious buyer but don’t tell them the whole story or you arm them to “close you” (or in retail its called convert you into a sale).
  2. Its all about needs versus wants. If you need something and the sales person knows this they have some bargaining power over you. If you want something but don’t need you can take your time. Don’t ever shop in a hurry and be patient. Do be ready to make a buying decision when you have enough detail to know your getting a good deal. Don’t ever shop for food when hungry (I am sure you have heard this one before)
  3. Knowledge wins. Don’t walk in there without knowing what you are trying to accomplish. Do the tiniest bit of homework on the internet or ask a friend an opinion so you have some detail on what you are after.¬† If you ask first staff member you see for help they are most likely going to convert you into a sale the first time. Thus you may not get the best deal.
  4. Shop around. Take your time when your doing the shopping. Don’t buy in the first store and don’t feel pressured into buying. (As I said above your not shopping in a hurry are you?) I like to work of a policy of three. I Need to check three places or know of three prices before I buy.
  5. Use your smartphone and the internet to check on information being right. That you have the keen price? That no one else is running a special on that product.
  6. The Question. Most staff members will ask “can help you find something?” or “what can we help you with today?”. Their trying to ascertain are you a buyer or just looking based on that question. If your a buyer answer honestly but if your in the early stages of shopping let them keep going and take your time.
  7. Can you do any better?” – Is the question really so hard that you cant ask it? Its the same as looking for items on special during groceries. Ask and you shall receive (especially if you followed my steps above and the sales person knows your a qualified buyer)
  8. Something for nothing. When ready to make your decision and you have spent all this time will it really hurt to ask for a sweetener? Many stores keep freebies or incentives to win your business and sometimes you just have to ask for them to sweeten the deal slightly to convert you.
  9. Ask if the store offers money guarantee. Will there be any specials on this item in the near future and if you buy it on a non special price will they price match a refund down the road. Many stores offer 30 day price guarantee on your sale price. In other words will they put their money where their mouth is!
  10. The numbers. Retail stores spend a tonne of money to get you in their doors. Once your inside they feel they have a 25% chance of turning you into a sale. (This number varies depending on the industry. Be aware of this and don’t be afraid to walk away. (see point no 4). Also look around. If the store is quiet this enables more power to you during the negotiation.

Smart Shopper¬†Just remember power lies in the money. YOUR money and don’t be willing to part with it easy!

Make yourself into one of those shoppers I used to dread!

You may want to have a read of one of our earlier posts about taking an Honest look at your spending habits. You might be able to arm yourself with the right knowledge before you shop next time.




***Photos thanks to Robinsonsmay & ross2085***

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