Learn to Negotiate Retail Prices

May 25, 2019

There is an old saying I like about commerce very much. “We pay the price that we think we deserve to pay.” I used to be very uninformed about how about business work. For one thing, no price is final when it comes to business. That is true whether you are shopping in a supermarket or buying a car. Think about it. No price is final when you buy from a business. I used to walk down a street and see a, “Going out of business!” sale in a retail store window and never think twice about it.

Then, months later I see the sign is still there and the business was still there. It is usually a deceptive practice. The business may have sold its inventory to a liquidator. The liquidator is holding the sale, not the store. Also, people may think they are getting a deal, but they may be paying slightly more for products relative to competitor prices. When people automatically see a, “going out of business sale,” they automatically assume they are getting a deal. Some stores hold such sales if they are struggling and need quick influxes of cash. Then they may raise prices after the sale.

I can’t count how many times I have seen a business increase or decrease their prices according to supply and demand. And that is the point. Business is controlled by supply and demand. Not necessarily supply and demand dictated by the market either. Business is usually dictated by supply and demand dictated by a manipulated situation. If you and others think that there is a sale to be had,  then that creates a demand. You don’t question the prices on sale.

I have been there myself. Yet, businesses can manipulate sales and change prices as they see fit. You don’t have to stand for it. Be aware that you can negotiate prices. If you are informed and know how to negotiate, you can pay retail prices on your own terms.

Retail Price

All items have a retail price or a MSRP, also known as a manufacturer’s suggested price. The price you see for a $400 handbag or for a $150 jacket is only retail suggestion price. It’s a starting price point for retailers to sell their goods. Based on supply and demand, or by tricking consumers into thinking a store is going out of business, businesses set retail prices with the MSRP as a baseline.

The Art of the Negotiation

Every store has cycles of inventory restocking. You can ask, look up such information online, or pay close attention when new supplies come in. Do online research to learn when corporate retailers begin inventory resupply. Memorial Day weekend is a big inventory resupply time for corporate retailers, but such times vary from business to business. Learn the actual worth of the product you buy. Know the prices that local competitors charge for the products you want.

Try to shop during inventory turnover periods. Or, times of low consumer traffic. Before a transaction, ask if there is a better price. Keep a poker face and be polite. Name a price below MSRP. Ask for free extras. Give the business a chance to meet your price. They want a sale. Still, walk away if you have to and try elsewhere.

It’s Your Money

The average person spends at least $50 when they patronize a retail store. Do you ever spend more than that? In this economy, save as much money as you can. Negotiate prices on your terms. Just do your research first.

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