Alright, so I have officially completed my bridesmaid’s gown shopping fiasco. Here is a tip from an experienced shopper, be careful when negotiating with certain retailers. They are not all very keen on those extra-thrifty shoppers. You need to get a good feel for the type of business owner you are dealing with before launching into negotiations. Needless to say, I tried to negotiate the price of the gown I selected for my bridesmaids and was not as successful as I had hoped. It turns out that they already had the lowest cost around and the only reason the other shop was so eager to bid lower was because their markups were much greater. This is where you need to do your research and know what you are working with. But I would not deter you cost savers out there to always try, it can’t hurt to ask!

I think consumers need to be comfortable with the purchase on all different levels. Not only should you be getting the best price but you should be concerned with the brand and business itself. Doing business these days is about building relationships. Of course this does not apply to all types of businesses. I do not expect to build a relationship with my checkout person at the local grocery store or the person I ordered my coffee from at Dunkin Donuts. However I would expect to build a relationship with the place where I get my car serviced or where I do my banking. These types of businesses require a relationship in which the consumer is entrusting the business with something of importance. This goes the same for business to business relationships. Building a solid relationship with a supplier is very important when it comes to conducting future business relations with them. Many businesses offer the same types of products and services for similar prices. What makes the difference in many cases is the relationship that the business can offer and what benefits the two parties can achieve from that relationship. As a business you can benefit from a strong relationship with your supplier(s) through receiving discounts or deals and they can benefit by you ensuring your business is with them in any future dealings, among other reasons.

As a consumer I had dealt with the dress shop that I am working with currently in the past and was satisfied with the level of service and pricing. And just as an added note, they did end up taking the price of the gown down even more than they had originally offered from a 10% discount to 15% so I think it worked out well in the end. The business may also receive business from the bridesmaids I have when it comes time for their weddings if they appreciate the relationship they build while dealing with the shop. Word of mouth can be one of the most powerful tools in business so to all those who deal with customers who might be a little grumpy that day or difficult in general, keep in mind that even they have friends and you can be sure they will pass along their opinions, both good and bad.
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Jennifer Ulrich

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