In fact, maybe that question doesn’t even cross your mind.
Business is big business. This means that a lot of retailers are big retailers, which means they make their money by doing things on a bigger scale – in bulk.
This means they have lots of overheads that they need to cover, which means in most cases they have big profit margins. This also gives most retailers some flexibility on price to be able to manage their revenues and any risk that they will suffer a dip in custom.
Educate Yourself About The Real Price of Things
You can easily test this theory yourself.
- Take any particular item that you want to buy and do some research. It can be any item – food, technology, clothing… whatever you’re familiar with and can easily get lots of prices for from different sources.
- Now compare those prices – if it’s technology, check the local shops, the big chains, the supermarkets (a lot of whom also deal with technology these days) and don’t forget the internet. If it’s food, check the local convenience store, the off-licence, the grocery section in the petrol station, the mini-supermarket and the giant supermarket, and the internet.
You will most likely find a massive variation on the price of that particular item.
This is before we look at any discounts or sales.
Just the standard price of most goods varies wildly between retailers.
The first point of this article is to draw your attention to that so that you don’t get ripped off and get the best price for things. The convenience store is called the convenience store for a reason – because it’s convenient. Just bear in mind you often pay a little more for that convenience. So if you can wait until you do a ‘bigger’ shop in a supermarket then wait – buy the items you really need at the convenience store, and the rest in the supermarket, or farmer’s market, or internet or wherever it is you found the best prices.
A Brief Price Comparison Example
Something I quite like (though I’ve given up chocolate so I don’t buy them anymore – honest!) is Cadbury’s chocolate fingers. Many times I have seen the same standard box of Cadbury’s chocolate fingers for £1. So if I see a box in a shop for £1.65 (yes I have!) then I know I’m paying 65p over the odds for that item. I know I can easily get them for £1/box. The product is exactly the same, it’s not a cheaper version, not a more out of date version – it’s the same item. This is simply because bigger stores have bigger margins to play with.
Looking For The Sale
Now the second and main point of this article is the other thing that companies often do to keep your custom – they have sales.
Sales traditionally happen when the items in question are unfashionable. That doesn’t necessarily mean in a ‘high-street fashion’ sense – but just when the items are less in demand. It could be an old model, the end of a fashion line or something which is just out of season (E.g. jumpers, ski equipment and kiddies sledges are less in demand in the summer; sun-glasses and ice-cream are less popular in the winter). So what do companies do to sell these items?
They have a sale.
The most well known time for sales is of course January – many retailers have sales in January after the buzz of all the Christmas shopping to sell any surplus stock they may be left with – but these days sales don’t just happen in January, at the end of a line or out of season.
They happen whenever a company needs to attract customers and in today’s fast paced world that’s happening all of the time for many different reasons. Companies can get into business very rapidly these days and if they’re not careful, they can go out of business very quickly too.
The result for the consumer is there’s always a sale somewhere. In fact there are plenty of shops whose entire existence is based on offering goods at a discount effectively offering you a sale all year round.
So the point? The point is to look for the sale.
Because perhaps now, more than ever there is a sale around the corner.
They don’t just happen in January any more. What’s more they’re not that difficult to find. Sometimes the shops themselves are poor at advertising their own sites but there are websites out there which can tell you where and when the latest sales are.
So, before you pay a premium price for anything, consider if you might be able to get the item on sale, whether now by looking around or by waiting. How much do you need it? Does it make sense to take a different though still good quality brand, because it’s on sale (it’s not exactly the one you were looking for but it’s less than half the price – sometimes keeping your eyes open in this way you find even better items for less money)?
At the very least, get the best price you can.