Published on: March 24, 2008The New York Times reports that the toughening economy means that more shoppers are engaging in old-fashioned haggling when they go into stores in search of products…and that many retailers eager to make sales are perfectly willing to go along.
“Savvy consumers, empowered by the Internet and encouraged by a slowing economy, are finding that they can dicker on prices, not just on clearance items or big-ticket products like televisions but also on lower-cost goods like cameras, audio speakers, couches, rugs and even clothing,” the Times writes. “The change is not particularly overt, and most store policies on bargaining are informal. Some major retailers, however, are quietly telling their salespeople that negotiating is acceptable.”
Among the national retailers willing to negotiate: Home Depot and Best Buy.
Shoppers who want to engage in haggling have to be sure to do their homework and know what they are talking about, according to the story. And on the retail side, nobody is really saying how much leeway managers and sales people have when engaging in negotiation…though retailers do say that this level of autonomy at store level seems to be good for creating the impression that these are neighborhood stores, not just outposts for monolithic corporations.
- KC's View:
- If this catches on, people are going to want to start negotiating the price of a gallon of gas….but I’m guessing that in this case, the companies involved will be more than happy to live with the image that they indeed are monolithic corporations.
It is interesting to see that this seems to be at least an indirect extension of an Internet-oriented mentality, in which the customer wants to be believe that he or she is in control. It is something that retailers have to get used to….in many cases, consumers actually do have as much or more information at their fingertips as the person or company trying to sell them something. Knowledge actually is power in such cases…power that has a real bottom line impact.