How to beat retailers at their own game
The cost price is the price the retailer buys the goods at, usually at 10% (or more) from the supplier. Clever retailers who want to move their stock (and win new customers) can qualify this cost cutting move because the store still makes a profit, even at ‘cost’. You will rarely get a retailer to go ‘under cost’, unless they need to move the old stock for new arrivals; in which case, you’re usually looking at a special sale price and you better hurry.
Some retailers hate cost pricing; whilst others rely on it as a way to attract more customers. But typically, its usually something most retailers won't easily be able to deny in this ultra-competitive marketplace.
call a few of your favourite retailers in the state you live in and ask each of them to quote you their ‘best price’ over the phone. Ask for the sale assistants name each time (for evidence of your call and in case they go back on their original quote). Most likely, (depending on the retailer) they will quote you either the ‘cost price’ or the ‘display price’ or something in between for good measure.
Using the cheapest price you have sourced from out of the retailers you called, start with the other more expensively priced retailers first and confirm to each of the salesperson that ‘Retailer X’ will offer you ‘Product X’ as their best price and ask if they can match and beat it.
99% of the time, a retailer will do anything to match a price, but only a few will have the grit to beat it. Other retailers will ask you to come in person to get your best price. To get around this, tell them you aren’t in the mood for making the long drive out to their store to be offered an un-competitive price and tell them it’s happened before and you weren’t too impressed.
If the staff person has been trained well enough by their managers, they’ll give you their absolute best price on the phone, then and there. Take the salesperson's name and there you have it, you’ve got yourself a great deal.
Going under cost
Remember, some retailers will want verification to go really low on their prices, because then it starts to hurt their real bottom line. Sometimes a simple phone call (using the salesperson’s name) won’t be enough to crack it.
In this case, you’ll need a written quote, which means you’ll have to go in person to see the store of your choice. When you get there, ask for a store business card. Then, ask the staff member to write down their best price on the card (which is usually going to be at ‘cost’, if you’ve made it this far). Then take the card to the second best retailer on your list and try your luck.
Failing that, you’ve still got the best cost price they can offer, which is usually a darn good deal.
The above technique works all around Australia. How? For instance, just because ‘Retailer X’ in NSW will sell you product X at $500 dosn’t mean you can’t call retailer Y in VIC and tell them that one of their inter-state siblings is offering a similar price. Most retailers under the same brand name will want to keep the customer happy and match the price. It's that easy.
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This Feature appeared in the November, 2008 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine