Making Smart Purchasing Decisions - The Shopping Quest
April 18, 2018
Whether you’re going to make a big purchase, are fortunate to have the luxury of time on your hands, or can subdue the need for instant gratification – below are tips to help you make rational & informed decisions about your future purchases.
Employing a purchasing strategy
Before heading to stores (in-person or online) the first effective feat is to plan. Start with your budget in mind. This will assure you’re sticking to the allotments as well as allow you to visualize the range for your potential purchases.
You can meal plan, curate lists of needs & shift priorities around to accommodate desired purchases. Bear in mind the financial goals you’ve established & make sure desired purchases fit that those goals.
Investigation & Choice Exploration
Eighty-one percent of shoppers conduct online research before they make a purchase. Buying smart means buying the best product or service for your needs — and doing what you can to protect yourself from any problems.
Research will help you understand what you want your product or service to fulfill. There’s no shortage of information online that can compare & analyze features, prices and reviews. The goal is to associating a value for items based on your research. Let’s say you’re looking to invest in a DSLR camera. While you dive into the specs & capabilities, you will surely come across brand, seller or manufacturers reviews.
Seller reputation fuels 73% pf purchase decisions on Google and Amazon. More reviews means more orders. People tend to become skeptical when items are rated perfectly (5 out of 5 stars). People also drop off dramatically after 4 stars.
Online retailers are aware of the power of reputation and reviews and can pay for fake reviews (highly discouraged!). Make sure to look at all channels for a more comprehensive reputation.
Tricks , Tips and Coupons
Once you’ve decided on a specific seller, brand, make and model – it’s now time to pay as little as possible for it. Rummaging through the website & social media is a great place to start. The website & social channels may offer insight to:
- Loyalty programs & Mail Subscriptions– Good if you frequent a specific store and anticipate to continue shopping there. Some programs offer perks & discounts upon signing up in addition to occasional exclusive specials. Be aware of the potential marketing tactics that can be used once you’ve signed up.
- Student Discounts - If you, your kids or family members are a student, always ask if there's a student discount.
- Got a coupon? – Rather than waiting last minute right before purchasing to search Google for coupon codes – do this ahead of time. Many coupon websites will offer the same discounts you receive upon subscribing to loyalty programs. There can be some hidden gems from time to time. Doesn’t hurt to check.
- New coupon, recent purchase - It’s good to keep in mind that after joining mailing lists (voluntary or not) some stores will mail you coupons & give you money back if you show your receipt and newly received coupon.
- Competitor coupons – Take advantage of stores that will take their competitors’ coupons. Stores such as Walmart, Home Depot & Michaels take competitor coupons. Restrictions may apply.
- Brand Direct - Shop directly from brands as opposed to stores that carry those brands. At times distributors and vendors increase margins, making the price points higher.
- Que the “Where’d You Go?” emails - Cart abandonment is the bane of an ecommerce site’s conversions – but a potential win for you. Adding items to your shopping cart and leaving it there will sometimes trigger automations to close the sale. Often times they will reach out and offer you discounts in order to complete your transaction. Some are very aggressive and will send instantly, others can take a few weeks.
- Sales clerks to get inside scoop - Rather unconventional, but perhaps you have a friend or family member that works at a store you’re looking to make a purchase from. Poke around for friends & family discounts or specials that only employees would be privy to.
Price Drops & Coupon Alerts
These tools taking couponing and price matching to another level are these tools and extensions.
- PriceZombie - Prides itself on being a price tracker that also helps you do comparison shopping, so you can track prices and price histories while also making sure that the item you want to buy is actually the best option for you and your budget.
- PoachIt - Chrome extension and app that alerts you when tagged items go on sale, but it also works to find discount codes on specific items — perfect for immediate discounts
- CamelCamelCamel – An Amazon price tracker that monitors millions of products and alerts you when prices drop
- Slick Deals – Set up deal alerts for your favorite stores, categories, or products and they’ll instantly alert you when a new deal is posted online
- Invisible Hand – Sends you a notification when there are lower prices available on the product, flight, hotel, or rental car you’re shopping for
- CheapShark- Snuck into the nominations as a great option for gamers looking to save money on video games.
In Store Preparation
You can apply new found research and discounts to purchases made in stores too. These tips apply for in-store purchases.
- Budget for that item you researched—and that item only
- Leave excess cash & credit cards at home
- Pay in cash
- Denomination Effect—we’re much more likely to spend $100 if it’s broken down into smaller bills than if we’re carrying around a 100 bill.
Buying smart is more effective when time is on your side. Purchasing doesn’t always pan out that way. For tips on how to make smarter spur of the moment and immediate decisions, stay tuned for the next segment: Making Smart Purchasing Decisions: Demystifying Marketing Tactics.
Polaris Greystone Financial Group, LLC is a federally registered investment adviser. The information, statements and opinions expressed in this material are provided for general information only, are based on data we believe to be accurate at the time of writing, and are subject to change without notice. This material does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs, is not intended as a recommendation to purchase or sell any security, and is not intended as individual or specific advice. Investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Polaris Greystone Financial Group, LLC and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. No advice may be rendered by Polaris Greystone Financial Group, LLC unless a client service agreement is in place.
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