Created on Wednesday, 18 August 2010 11:05
Written by Janice Quek
Always wondered how your girlfriends get such good deals while shopping overseas? Well, it takes some skills and practice, so don't beat yourself up for "losing out". Here are nine tips to prepare yourself for the challenging task! 1. Choose the Right Place
Before you even begin the haggling, determine whether it is the right place to do so. While some shopping malls in Bangkok allow bargaining, others might take offense if you do so.
Also, avoid shops in tourist spots, especially those with much advertising done – they would expect a bigger profit margin. 2. Be Nice
Smile and be polite; there is no need to be defensive or to treat the seller as your archenemy. Creating some small talk could help break barriers. You wouldn't charge a friend more than your enemy, would you? 3. Go Early
In some countries, business owners believe that the first deal of the day will bring good luck and even set the pace for sales.
Alternatively, go just before businesses close shop. Sellers might be less fussy about their profit margins after a day of good sales. 4. Take your Time
Take your time to evaluate the product. The more time you spend examining the product, the better you will realise its real value... and perhaps decide against buying it after all, successfully curbing that impulsive buying behaviour. It would also be wise to observe what locals are paying.
Remember, look indifferent. The more hurried you look, the closer towards the losing end you are. Instead, take the time to determine how much the item is worth to you before asking for the price. 5. Power in Numbers
As what you learn in Economics class, economies of scale is a fact; there is greater bargaining power when more people, and in turn, more things are bought. Also, when more people request for a better price together, it's harder to resist. So, don't keep good deals to yourself and buddy up! 6. Take your Chance
Make your offer – a reasonable one – only after much consideration. Most shoppers would advise you to slash the offered price by half to two thirds, but it also depends on common sense such as how friendly the seller is and how much you think a reasonable price for the seller is.
It is, however, important not to make an offer you are unwilling to pay as you are committed to the price upon the seller's acceptance. In fact, do not make any offer at all. It should seem like they are the ones trying to sell to you rather than you wanting to buy from them.
Instead, always say stuff like, "Nah, it's still more than I expected", or ask questions like is there warranty and if there is a new piece. The more imperfections you can find in the product, the better chance you have in lowering the price. 7. Learn their Language
Learn their language to make better small talk as well as to prevent miscommunication (important for prices!) – especially the bargaining terms. 8. The Ditch Attempt
Pretend to walk away. If they refuse to bulge, take it as a lesson learnt; you know you got the lowest price possible. You could always return after checking out a few shops later. And you don't have to be embarrassed about doing so! After all, you won't see these sellers again. 9. Chill!
Okay, this sounds like a lousy consolation after losing out in the price war. But c'mon, it's just for the fun of winning the haggle. Remember: If you really like the product in question and it is of quality, you should be willing to pay this price.
On the other hand, if you emerge the winner, be objective and evaluate your cost savings!