Welcome to the new world order: consumers are learning to haggle. In the extended global economic recession, consumers who never used to even think about bargaining are suddenly starting to haggle over every deal. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
What Businesses Are Being Hit?
As you might expect, haggling has arrived first at the firms that have been the hardest hit by the recession. This includes the hotel business as well as clothes and electronics stores. All three of these firms are very interested in moving merchandise as quickly as possible. That’s why they are now open to making deals with their customers.
The market research firm America’s Research Group has just completed a study that shows that 72% of American consumers reported that they had haggled in the past four months. This is up from 56% just a year ago. What’s really telling is that the same consumers report that they have been successful in getting a better deal 80% of the time.
Different Approaches Seem To Be Working
Consumers are discovering that negotiating for a better deal seems to work with just about any business transaction. Formerly off-limits firms including the New York Plaza hotel and Nordstrom are starting to warm to the idea of having their customers bargain with them for the best deal.
Customers are finding that they may not always be able to get a discount on an item that they are interested in buying. However, getting the seller to cover shipping or the sales tax seems to work. If that fails, then having the seller include an additional item in order to complete the deal has also proven to be successful.
Secrets To Successful Haggling
Many firms are creating programs to deal with consumers who want a better deal. However, in order to protect their margins, they are not advertising these programs – they only offer them when the consumer pushes them.
Credit card companies are notorious for doing this. They are willing to negotiate on interest rates and late fees. However, the only way customers can find out where the companies are flexible are by asking.
The arrival of the new style of haggling for better deals is showing up in the hardest hit industries: cars, real estate, etc. However, we should expect this to spread quickly to other industries.
The big question will be whether or not this marks a fundamental change in how consumers go shopping: are they going to expect to have to bargain for everything in the future? No matter what the answer is, in the short term this type of sales negotiating is bound to boost sales. Sales negotiators who learn how to take advantage of this new style of buying will be able to close better deals and close them quicker.
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