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This weekend only! 10% discount voucher! Buy 4 and get 1 free!

Let’s face it; we’ve all fallen for one of these marketing ‘strategies’ at some point. Everyone loves a good bargain, but sometimes it can be very hard to cut through all that ‘sale!’ tape and see what is actually being offered. Is this really a good price? Are you getting the best deal? Or are you being conned by a tried and true marketing tactic? Don’t be alarmed. These simple pointers will help you to confidently navigate the murky waters of marketing.

Retail Price: $139.99 – Our Price: $49.99!

Fashion Shop

“Wow! That’s so amazing! I can save almost $100!” But wait. Is that the correct retail price shown? Retailers often use this tactic because it plays into our need to have our choice validated. Essentially that sign is saying: “No need to do look anywhere else or do online research. I assure you that you are getting a good deal”. But a little shopping around may reveal that the “discounted” price is actually just the average retail price. So it always pays to do a bit of research before making a big purchase.

This Weekend Only!

Nothing drives a purchase like a false sense of urgency. As consumers, we hate the thought of missing out on a good deal. If the sale price is ‘this weekend only’, ‘while stock lasts’ or ‘for a limited time only’ then you have to buy it immediately so you don’t miss out. Right? This is where it pays to keep a cool head. Once again, a bit of research may show that the ‘offer’ is the same as, or only marginally better than the regular retail price, or that that this particular ‘offer’ is made on a regular basis.

10% Discount Coupon…Conditions Apply

You open up your mailbox and inside is a gleaming coupon to your local store, offering a 10% discount. It’s pure temptation – coupons just can’t be wasted! And sometimes, coupons are excellent deals – they let you try new products and offer legitimate discounts. But when you receive a coupon, make sure you check the terms and conditions before running for the nearest store. Coupons often only apply if you spend a certain amount first or if you purchase in conjunction with another product. Once again, it pays to do some comparative research. The coupon may drop the price to only $50, but if the same item is only $40 in a rival store, then the coupon isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

The ‘Get Something Free’ Upsell

This tactic is popular with online stores where media can be shipped or downloaded. You have the option of A) purchase and download with no additional fee, B) purchase and have the item sent with a $10 shipping fee, or C) purchase and have the item sent with a $10 shipping fee PLUS you can download it for free! Your brain says “Yay! Something free” and you pick option C.

Now, if you’d always planned to have the item shipped, then you’ve got a good deal. But were you originally just planning to purchase and download? Have they just upsold your purchase without you even realizing it? Shop assistants use this trick as well: “Your total purchase comes to $42 but if you spend over $75 you’ll receive our free pamper pack…” suddenly you find yourself scouring the store for anything that costs $33 or over so you qualify for the “free” pack.

Balloon Sales

Have you noticed that car dealerships are constantly having sales? A huge tent is erected in the lot, gleaming cars are on display, excited customers are everywhere and a staff member is handing out helium balloons. This can seem like a very tempting offer – who doesn’t want to buy a car on sale? But before you decide to impulse buy, make sure that the cars on offer are genuinely on sale. Some dealerships will roll out the sale circus but forget to drop their prices. If this is the case, better to take your time, shop around and make sure you get a genuine deal on your big investment.

Buy 4 and get 1 free!

If this offer applies to a product that you regularly use, then it can be a bargain to get 1 for free. But don’t be lured in by offers on products that you don’t really use. Otherwise you’ll find your pantry full of unopened bottles and cans that you’re unlikely to ever open.

Marketing tactics all part of the shopping experience, and for the savvy shopper, they can be an excellent guide to the best deals on offer. Just make sure that you do your research, compare prices, keep a cool head, and read the fine print, so when you make your big purchase you’re 100% happy.

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Posted by Igor Ovsyannykov

I'm a digital nomad and entrepreneur bouncing around South East Asia. When I'm not working here, I'm out taking photos. Follow me on Instagram: @igorovsyannykov

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