Since there is only a few shopping days left until Christmas many people are frantic, bouncing around from store to store trying to get last minute gifts. With money being tighter these days everyone is trying to save as much as they can while still crossing off all the items on their family's wish list. Obviously technology has greatly helped with that. With their smartphone or tablet in hand, people are able to access a number of tools and apps to help them determine which store has the best deal and the item in stock. It has been a tough season for retailers as competition has become increasingly tight. They are well aware of this and many have had to adjust some of their pricing policies to stay in the game.

In the past, the price listed is how much something costs - period. Price matching is nothing new. Many retailers will lower the price of an item if you're able to prove another store is selling the same item for less. When Best Buy realized people were using their brick and mortar stores to learn about specific items and then leave to buy them cheaper elsewhere, they needed to change their policy to match competitor's prices.

Some retailers, desperate for sales and customer loyalty, have taken it a step further and are willing to haggle on pricing. They have begun training their employees on the art of bargaining. They want to empower their employees with doing everything they can to ensure the customer has a good shopping experience.

They don't advertise it, but many retailers are usually willing to come down at least 10% on an item. With having a background in retail management myself, I know that if a customer pushed I would usually take 10% off an item. I was so busy that I didn't have time to go back and forth with them, especially if I knew the item had a solid margin. There are usually even coupons just sitting behind registers or customer service desks that are available upon request. If there is any kind of imperfection - a scratch, a dent, a tiny rip - getting a discount is easy. Obviously I wouldn't offer any customers the discount, they would need to ask. Even on items that are perfectly fine, many retailers will gladly give you a discount knowing that 9 times out of 10 you have a lot of other things in your cart to buy.

Of course it's important to make sure you are talking to the right person, which may need to be a manager. It's also important to be confident and polite. Employees are more willing to give a customer a discount if they seem to know what they are talking about and are courteous.

Customers are able to not only bargain on the price, but also on other costs like extended warranties, delivery, and installation. Being able to get free shipping is becoming more and more common.

So this holiday season make sure to ask for a discount on that fancy new quesadilla maker. What's the worst that could happen?
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Nick Haneiko

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