Not all Sales are Created Equally

Although sales for the consumer usually mean savings, for retail shops and businesses they are simply tactics to boost purchases. For this reason, not all sales are created equal – for some you might not get an actual bargain or worse, end up paying more. To avoid this, here are some signs to look twice at a “sale”:

  • BIG, BOLD, “Sale” Sign– This is pure bait. The signs are essentially there just to get you into the store. The sales inside are usually for items that are already high priced or you have to buy a certain amount  to even become eligible for a discount.
  • 10 for $10 – This tactic can make the purchase an enticing deal, but first ask yourself, will you actually need all 10 of these items? If not, you might just pay even more for the one item you need while wasting the other nine. (although some stores might let you buy a smaller amount but for the same price per item, so double-check)
  • Limit items per customer – This is intended to make the item seem desirable and scarce whether it is or not. So as you would with the situation above, consider if you really need that quantity of the item, or even if you actually need the item at all.
  • Limited-Time Offer– This is to increase your sense of urgency in making a purchase. In most cases the store is just simply creating the illusion of an unbeatable sale. The items may be tempting to buy on the spot, but you’re better off putting it on hold, thinking it through, and making sure it really is worth opting your wallet.
  • One day only – Daily sales, whether in-store or online, encourage buyers to make a decision on the spot, with little time to consider whether he or she needs or wants the product. So take some time to think through before taking any deals. With online deals from sites like Groupon and SocialLiving, also consider whether you’ll have the time to claim and use your discount before it expires – some reports show up to 30% of purchased deals go unclaimed this way.
  • Free Shipping– Stores offer free shipping when they are out of stock in a size or low on inventory on an item, but this is just a tactic to get you to make the purchase that day. You should always consider shopping around first because you might just find a better deal.
  • Discounted add-on – Before the “check out” step for your online purchase, you might sometimes see recommendations to add more items to your total order for a discounted price. Consider whether the add-ons are necessary and whether you can find better deals elsewhere. (use some help from deal-finding apps and websites for your quick research)

Have you ever taken up any of these sales? Which other “sales” have you learned to ignore? Share with us in the comment box below!

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