Sunday, November 10, 2013

10 Shopping Tricks That Retailers Don’t Want You to Know

Through billions of transactions and well-funded research budgets, retailers have honed the science behind shopping.  With stores designed to appeal to your every shopping whim, these tips will help you take back the edge.

1. Shop where there are multiple big box stores competing with one another
Competition is good for consumers and generally means that you’ll see lower prices when it comes time to check out.  Do you remember playing Monopoly as a kid?  You end up paying a hefty price when your friend owns the block.
More retailers = more competition and better prices

2. Avoid impulse purchases at the checkout counter
Next time you’re waiting in the checkout line, think twice before picking up that copy of Glamour that’s screaming for your attention.  Retailers call this an add-on purchase, since you didn’t originally intend to buy it.

Products screaming for your attention
3. Understand the reasoning behind a store’s layout
You’ll generally find clearance items and household staples like Milk at the back of the store.  Retailers aren’t simply promoting good health by forcing you to walk all the way to the back of the store, but your trip will pass by all sorts of intriguing goodies on the way there.  The more you see, the more likely you’ll be tempted to fill your cart.

4. Featured items may be a good deal but the next model up probably isn’t
Do you see an unbelievably priced item in an ad?  Chances are that it won’t have every feature that you’re looking for and you’ll be tempted to upgrade once you’re in the store.  Beware because the low priced item serves as an anchor that you’re getting a good deal.  You’ll most likely find that the next model up is actually marked up and more expensive than what other retailers charge.

5. Lowest price guarantees don’t mean that you’re getting the lowest price unless you ask
Stores love advertising low price guarantees because most consumers assume that they’re probably getting the best deal.  Always check the price at a few competing retailers to see if there is a lower price available.  Amazon.com and Walmart.com are two good places to check.  Make retailers works against one another to your advantage.

6. Shop on a full stomach
When you go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, everything looks just a little bit more tempting and delicious.  You’ll find that you end up buying far more than you otherwise would have.

7. Use a credit card for purchases
Whether you shop with a credit card or cash, you end up paying the same price, even though it costs retailers more when you use a credit card.  You might as well swipe the credit card to take advantage of cash back or mile offers.  As long as you pay your credit card bill in full each month, this is an effective strategy to get something back from your shopping.

8. Check the discount bin for good deals
Although it’s generally organized in a way to frustrate shoppers, oftentimes you’ll score some amazing deals.  At the grocery store, items expiring soon may offer a discount.  If you plan to use the item before the expiration date, take advantage of it.

9. Track store discount cycles
Stores generally offer predictable discount cycles.  For example, Banana Republic offers 40% off on Tuesday each week.  Why would you shop at any other time during the week?

10. Create a shopping list
When you shop, bring a list.  It might take some time, but you’ll buy only what you intended to and nothing more.  It forces you to shop with discipline and counteract most of the tricks that retailers employ.

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