For many retailers and consumers, January is one of the biggest shopping events on the shopping calendar. As millions of consumers hit the shops in search of a bargain, retailers dramatically reduce their prices, increase their marketing spend and bring on additional staff in the aim of getting rid of their existing stock to make way for the new.
This is a month that provides consumers with the opportunity to get real value for money and cheap prices on a wide range of products and services. Unfortunately, only a few come out of the January madness with bargains which they will actually use.
One of the main reasons for this is that consumers tend to buy products and services on the basis of immediate desire rather than out of a real need. They get caught up in the hype and rush of the post-Christmas sale and fail to identify the purpose behind their purchase.
This type of behavioural spending is one of the main reasons why a lot of consumers end up with products they don’t use, huge credit card debts and the risk of getting a bad credit rating.
But all this can be avoided with a bit of simple planning to identify the core objectives they are looking to achieve within their spending habits, so that come the end of January they can walk away with plenty of bargains they will actually use. The plan should include:
A Clear Goal: There is no point in buying products and services that you don’t need just because the price was right. You must first understand and make a list of exactly what you are looking for. Go through your house and/or office and make a list of products/services you need.
Upgrades: With huge clearances and major markdowns, upgrading some of your technology, freshening up your wardrobe or upgrading your household needs could work out to be a good option. Do some research on the internet, find out what you could sell your old items for and keep them in mind throughout January. If the option to upgrade seems viable, sell your old item and go for it.
Budget: By this stage of the planning process you know exactly what you are looking for. Now it’s time to set a budget for how much you’re willing to spend. By identifying how much you would like to spend on each item you need, it will help narrow your focus as to which stores you need to go to both online and offline in order to grab those last-minute bargains.
As you know, in the month of January everything is stocked to clear. With millions of shoppers out there all looking for the same thing, it’s important to be one step ahead of the game so that you can increase your chance of bagging those last-minute bargains. And remember, even though at the time of shopping it may seem fun and exciting, getting caught up in the hype and madness of bargain shopping can lead to reckless overspending with highly detrimental consequences.
Keep Up To Date: Once you have identified and made a list of which retailers you want to visit, keep up-to-date with all their latest news by signing up to their newsletter, Rewards program, Twitter or Facebook page. You will find that these are the main ways retailers keep their customers posted on all their latest news and deals before they turn to advertising in the media.
Shopping Online: For many online shops, you'll need to log in before you can place an order. Therefore, make sure you've already registered as a member and log in before the sale starts. A good rule of thumb is to log in 15 minutes before the start of the sale.
Make sure to have your credit card ready with the numbers typed in a word-processing program, refresh the home page a few seconds before the sale starts, quickly find the product you’re looking for, copy and paste your card details from your notepad and hit submit. When you’re competing with thousands of other buyers, this could mean the difference between securing the bargain you’re looking for or not.
With all this said, if you are unsure about an item, don’t just buy it because it’s a good deal; the chances are it will never be used and you will have wasted your money. And remember, the biggest savings are sometimes at the end of January and in early February, when excess stock, returns and exchanges are at an all-time high.
Written by Alex Pirouz