10 Tips to Save Money & Stay Safe When Holiday Shopping

Christmas shopping woman holding giftsThe holiday season is also the biggest shopping season of the year. The time period from Black Friday through December 24th can mean the difference between an annual profit or a loss for some retailers. As a consequence, retailers advertise sales, extend store hours , and open online Internet storefronts to fulfill the demand for Christmas gifts. Almost two-thirds of shoppers will “showroom” their purchases by checking and comparing products online before venturing into a brick-and-mortar store, and according to The Christian Science Monitor, online retailer Amazon has aggressively matched or beat prices of retail giants such as Best Buy and Walmart.

The holidays are filled with emotion, not the least of which is a desire to give your loved ones the best gifts possible. Unfortunately, we tend to associate value with price and, as a result, spend much more than we can afford. Retailers understand how to trigger your emotional buttons, encouraging you to spend more, rather than less. So in spite of all the hubbub, it’s paramount to protect yourself and carefully watch how much you spend this season.

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What Men & Women shoppers Can Learn From Each Other

men vs womenJohn Gray’s 1992 book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus confirmed what men and women have always known: The two sexes differ in their perspectives, motives, rationales, and actions. Even though the reason for the differences (nature or nurture) continues to be debated, study after study reflects similar results, and sophisticated companies have adapted their customer outreach programs to account for these differences. Everything from advertising style, message, and media, to product design, store layout, sales training, and customer service policies are designed to appeal specifically to both sexes.

The goal of every retailer is to:

  • Lure shoppers
  • Make them stay in the store longer
  • Influence their buying decisions
  • Turn them into return customers

Failure to address the idiosyncrasies of gender can have real financial consequence for retailers. In a New York Times article published on February 16, 2012, Eric Siegel, a consultant and chairman of the Predictive Analytics World conference, stated, “We’re living through a golden age of behavioral research. It’s amazing how much we can figure out about how people think now.”
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Reasons to Buy Store Brands

woman shopperSales of private label brands have exploded in the past half-decade as consumers have done the best they can to get through the economic recession. According to market researcher Packaged Facts, store brands accounted for almost one-third of new food and beverage items introduced in the United States in 2011.

While monetary savings are usually the primary impetus for choosing private label products over national brands, purchasers have discovered that there is little tangible difference between the two categories of products in taste, use, or quality of ingredients. The lack of differentiation and the clear cost advantage of private brands are imposing fundamental changes on the retail industry today, affecting pricing, advertising, merchandising, and product selection.

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