How many times have you entered the store, picked and tried a perfect piece of clothing, got shocked by the incredibly high price and left? If you like the item so much, you might decide to dive into your kids’ college fund or skip dinner for the next few months. That plan sounds like a great idea: losing a few dollars while trying to avoid personal bankruptcy!
The product you want so badly can be easily purchased by your boss, wealthy business people, or even a sixteen-year-old YouTube millionaire. The consumer society is unfair! It is an eternal price struggle between merchants, who want to earn more, and consumers who search for the best value for the money they are spending.
Let’s now look at the other side of the coin. Someone’s business and life depend on the few extra dollars you spend while shopping. I am from Serbia. In my country, unsuccessful retailers often comfort themselves by saying, that, ‘there is a buyer for every product.’ Yeah right! Tell that to the people who launched New Coke, Microsoft Bob, and RJ Reynolds smokeless cigarettes. Waiting for a perfect buyer to come is not the right way to run a retail business.
Fortunately, digital technologies have made merchants’ lives easier. Today, they use various forms of digital marketing tech to target consumers with the appropriate income. You know, the filthy rich people, or the less-fortunate who are looking for bargain deals.
But is reaching the right consumers with fancy algorithms the only way retailers can solve the price riddle? Of course not! If you want to change the world, start with yourself. Instead of searching for a perfect customer, try experimenting with various pricing models, make your products more attractive and your customers more loyal.
FROM AN ONLINE STORE TO A DUSTY BAZAAR
The retail industry has come a long way, from people selling surplus goods on dusty fairs and markets to consumers ordering items with a few clicks on their smartphone display. Although the technological advance in this niche is evident, the most basic sales concepts haven’t changed much over the last few millenniums.
Bazaar traders have been throwing oral sales pitches and showing off goods for thousands of years. But in online stores, the product’s characteristics and sales pitches are transferred by text and multimedia. Haggling, a core sales technique, has almost died out following the emergence of fixed-price commercial stores and eCommerce.
Today, it is hard to find a commercial store that allows consumers to get a more favourable price by bargaining. There are a few price comparison platforms, like Green Toe which enable users to name their price and then try to find a retailer who is willing to accept it. The negotiation process ends there, but it is still much more open than at the standard fixed-price online stores.
DIGGING A LITTLE DEEPER
In researching this article, I failed to find a retail website that openly endorses haggling. My search was destined to fail because even when you are buying at the bazaar, the haggling process starts after you disagree with the price. Retailers who let us know they are open to bargaining, lower their product’s price from the very start.
Even with this in mind, I was hoping to find at least one website that uses haggling as an extra promotional feature that attracts ‘bargain hunters.’ No luck!
To see how companies react to haggling attempts I have contacted several customer service representatives and asked them for a discounted price on store items. While bargaining attempts in the location-based store can be viewed as an insult, the representatives I have talked to through live chat were very polite.