Lot of us feel shy or awkward to bargain in up market stores and retail outlets, but did you know it’s possible to do so and get a good deal. Here’s how you can get discounts and bargains in up market retail outlets in India.
As Indians we are born bargainers and its human nature to want to save as much as we could and it’s nothing wrong in that, businesses do that so why shouldn’t we as consumers do that. We always bargain with a roadside vendor or a local shop to get the best price. However as soon as we step into some departmental store or up market retail outlet, we feel shy and we often just simply wait for discounts and offers to shop there or take their ‘best price’ to be actual best price. We think to ourselves how can I bargain in malls and retail outlets? But this need not be the case, and as I found out recently with personal experience, you can get discounts and bargain in India even in upscale store and retail outlets.
Speaking from recent experience, I needed to buy a latest gadget just launched 3 months back. I was in no hurry to buy it as soon as it came out as I knew the price is bound to fall 5-10% in a couple of months as it happens all the time with technology. Well prices did fall but not as much as I hoped for, or so I thought. I went to the typical branded electronic showrooms, electronic retail chains and even local electronic shops. I was surprised to see that the competition is so tough that these retail chains and local shops all offer almost identical prices. I thought I might have to shell out more than I hoped or wait further. I did not want to do any of it, so I sat thinking my options. First and foremost, online was the choice, and I did find that the same gadget was selling at 5% lesser in various online stores than it was in the retail stores or local shops. However some of them had it out of stock (maybe a due to its low prices, it sold soon) or a week to wait. Again I did not want to do any of it and headed straight to the store that had it.
After visiting three stores I came across a store that had the highest price and decided this is my best bet to get a discount. Well, the reason is simple, this guy had higher margin and I had a talking point and had prices to compare with, whereas had I asked for it in the stores where the price is lower they would have given me the example of this very store and say their offer price is lower than that. So as it was, I went there on a Sunday after noon with cash which was 5% lesser than the price offered by other stores. I saw the product I was looking for and struck up a conversation with the sales guy. I uttered to him “why do you have it priced so high, when similar competing retail stores are having it for much lesser price?” On hearing this sales guy stopped for a minute and said, well sir can you wait a minute I will get back.
While he was gone I was ready with step 2. As he came back he said “sir, you will get the best price, the same you saw in the other store”. I was kind of counting on that. SO I said but there is still a difference of 3-5% in the price, if I buy online. I told him if I get a good deal, I will buy it in CASH, right now, or else I will order it online. He went back again to his floor manager and this time I was not hoping much, but hey surprise surprise….. he came back and said, “sir, we can offer you a gift voucher of a leading garment brand for Rs 1000 off on 2000 shopping along with the purchase.” I said no thanks, but I only need this gadget today and not clothes. However if you give a good deal, I can buy a few accessories for it as well. What can you offer? I smiled and he brought in his superior, to whom I told the same things.
The senior told me that they can’t compete with online prices but will add a USB flash drive with the purchase and can give me a further discount of 2% as employee discount that they can provide in special cases to the customers. I stuck to my guns still, and said I don’t need the flash drive, I may however buy some accessory if your offer is good. The discount then went to 5% and I had a wide smile, and we had a deal. Same price I wanted, same gadget I asked for and in a Branded Retail Outlet. And yes, I needed the accessory in any case so with the money saved I bought that. But a few things worked in my favor and here’s what you should keep in mind when you bargain at up market retail outlets in India:
Cash will work over credit: You may get a lot of offers on credit cards, but let’s face it in today’s economy, cash is still a favorite with retailers over credit as that is immediate money instead of when your credit is cleared in case of card payments. They may even offer employee discounts from their end. Do understand buying in cash at retail stores is NOT black money as you will be taking a bill for it.
Weekends and month-ends are the best times: Any retailer or sales guy will tell you that they have higher targets to meet on weekends than they have during the weekdays and the pressure is higher during month ends to close targets and get sales higher. This is your best chance to crack a deal for yourself. They will offer their ‘best price’ and this best is better than their best price offered on a weekday or start of a month.
Compare prices and be well aware of competitor’s prices: Research at nearby-by stores and locations and also online for the best price of the product you are looking for. Get a general idea of what the product is being sold at. This helps you know the prevailing prices so that you do not bargain irrationally low, and even the sales person would know that you genuinely have the knowledge and have done your research.
Show interest in buying more: If you seem interested in buying more than one thing, the bargaining will be easier. It need not be a big thing, just a small add on, an accessory anything or show interest in coming back in the future for more purchase. Retailers will gauge your seriousness and offer a discount.
Don’t be in a hurry: Take your time so they know that you are really interested in buying the stuff and hence will negotiate. Usually they count on you giving up in sometime, but if you stay put for sometime, they will offer a good deal.
Be courteous and friendly: While you should be adamant and assertive about getting a discount, do not be arrogant and impolite. Strike a rapport with the sales person. Remember he is only doing his job. Politeness can always get them to open up and see what best they can do for you.
Don’t be lured by some unrelated discount or future sales voucher: Retailers will often offer some voucher for future, but this is actually of no value to you if you do not plan to buy anything in particular. These vouchers have a limited short validity and will force you to buy even things you never wanted to buy, and be beneficial to the retailer more than it will be to you.
Alternate for a discount: If you do not get much discount, then you surely will get something in return could be extended warranty, free installation, some accessory. See how much its worth otherwise and does it really compensate the discount and add value, if yes then settle for it. Remember, online shopping may not have these added extras all the time so keep that in mind.
Bargain with confidence and not shame. The economy is slow and retailers and companies need sales. They will offer discounts and offers. However do not expect 50% off unless it’s a sale and don’t be irrational in your price expectations. Know when to accept the offer and not overstretch and when to stay put. If you do not get the discount, fine there are other competitor’s as well; you will always get a good deal. Happy Bargaining!