Holiday Shopping Tips

While the focus of this Blog is eCommerce, offline retail is still king. For this post I am presenting Mellody Hobson’s shopping tips. Here are my favorites:

– Head to the Back
The back of the store is where you will always find the sales. They’re out of the way and hard to find, but it’s where the best deals are.

– Get to Know the Salespeople (I really likes this idea)
They can be so helpful. Not only will they give you great information, but they will also let you know when that sale is coming.

– The Best Bargain Days
It’s all about when retailers receive their stock. For clothes, retailers get their new inventory every four to six weeks, and they’ll mark down the older merchandise to move on Thursday, so that they can restock the shelves for weekend shoppers. So Thursday is the best day to buy clothes.

– Be Vocal, Ask for a Discount
Most stores have strict policies on negotiating prices. But if you have a good reason, they may go for it. For example, if you’re at the store a few days before a sale starts, ask for the sales price, or if you see a jacket with a slight imperfection, ask for 20 percent off. You’d be surprised the money you can save just by asking. The worst that can happen is they say no.

– Ask for the Sales Price Even After You’ve Bought the Item
If you see that cashmere sweater you bought at full price last week is now on sale, go back to the store with your receipt within 14 days and most retailers will give you the price difference.

– Ask Stores to Match Competitors’ Prices

It helps to know competitors’ prices. Stores like Target and Wal-Mart will meet a competitor’s price on a similar item and even offer it at 10 percent less. Knowing these store policies can help you save big and give you an incentive for keeping your eyes peeled.

Those of you in the eCommerce world should read this post again and see if you can spot on an anomaly?. Give up? Did you notice all of these incredibly valuable tips don’t apply online? The point of this story is that not only is offline retail bigger but traditional media also gives greater coverage to brick and mortar retail. And they do it for good reason: online retail still lags.

Heads of eCommerce need to look at the tips above and think of ways of applying them to their domains. One idea that stands out is the notion of having a relationship with a salesperson. I think this concept needs to be brought online.

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