You don’t always have to accept the price on the tag when you’re buying online. According to a survey by Consumer Reports, 69% of online shoppers landed cheaper deals on electronic products by haggling. Let’s walk through some tips to help you get the best deals when you’re shopping online.
Do your research
When you’re armed with knowledge, it can be easier to smooth talk your way to a lower price. In most real-world talks and negotiation simulations, the side with the most knowledge tends to steer the negotiation in their favor.
For example, if you know that the product you’re gunning for is a slow mover, you can use that information to get the sales rep to concede to a lower price.
It’s also important to know the price range for the product. Look around on the websites of different stores and in consumer reports to get a picture of the markup that other retailers are putting on the product.
Once you take stock of prices from other shops, you can determine a reasonable price to put on the table when haggling with the online store. If you find the product cheaper elsewhere, the store may be more accommodating of your request for fear of losing out to competitors.
Why haggle if you can buy it cheaper somewhere else? It’s often the case that by negotiating in good faith, you build rapport with your store of choice, which can score you more deals in future.
Remember, if you ask for an excessive price reduction, for example, 60%, the sales rep likely won’t take you seriously. So aim to keep your target price at an achievable level, for instance, 20%. Of course, this greatly varies by country.
Talk to the right person
To make any headway in getting the store to concede to a lower price, you need to talk to the right people.
Decision-makers like managers or senior sales supervisors will often have more clout to accept the reduced price. On the other hand, lower-level sales reps may have to defer to an authority, which is often a waste of valuable time.
Look into the company beforehand so you can figure out who to reach out to.
To avoid wasting time, it’s often important to ask the person on the other end of the chat right away if they’re the best person to help you. If not, ask to be referred to the right person before you mention any further details to avoid negotiating with a gatekeeper.
Look at the bigger picture
During negotiation training simulations, participants often practice how to see beyond the cost to get more value out of the deal. If a lower price is off the table, aim for other concessions to sweeten the deal.
Asking for extras can give you the value you need even if you don’t get the price deal you wanted. For example, you can ask for:
- Free shipping
- Installation at no extra cost
- A discount when you buy the same item in the future
Get your timing right
It’s often the case that salespeople are more willing to hear you out when business is slow or nearing their quota count. For example, after Christmas, most online retailers will have some high-value items left over that they’re more willing to accept lower prices for.
It’s also important to have a timeline for your haggling efforts. When it doesn’t sound like you’re making progress, it’s often best to walk away. You can try for a lower price elsewhere. Sometimes the salesperson will cave and walk after you.
Communicate with precision
You’ll need effective communication skills to negotiate successfully, whether in person or online. In a face-to-face chat, you can read the other person’s facial expressions, body language, and tone, making it easier to pick up important cues.
However, in an online discussion, it’s harder to tune in to the other person’s thoughts to see which direction the discussion is headed.
For that reason, it’s often important to make what you want heard loud and clear. Avoid using vague phrases or expecting the other person to take a hint.
For example, saying, “Your price is too high. I’m aiming to spend no more than [X amount] on this because of the following reasons,” is often better than saying, “Can you do better than [price]?” Practice simulating how negotiations might go with friends and family to get better at haggling.
Haggle your way to better deals
Buying lower-priced items online often take some research to figure out what you’re going to say. Once you frame your argument, talk to the right person as concisely as possible. Remember to ask for extras where you can, to sweeten the deal. Finally, don’t drag out the talks for too long. Consider calling it quits if the discussions are going nowhere, and try elsewhere.