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Open bargain

With group-buying and social-shopping websites gaining ground, discounts are no longer just for thrifty shoppers. They’re for smart consumers who know how to find the best deals.
By P. M. I. |
Open bargain

Everyone loves a good deal. Whether it’s getting a free toothbrush with your toothpaste, or free speakers with your new laptop, a deal is a deal. And with group buying websites offering as much as 90 percent off an eat-all-you-can buffet, bikini waxes, and backpacks, looking for the cheapest deals isn’t something to be embarrassed about anymore. In fact, for the people who do manage to get a good deal, it’s something to be proud of.

According to Trendwatching.com, one of the world’s leading consumer trends and insights firm, “for status-conscious consumers, making the most of discounts and deals is no longer considered cumbersome or even embarrassing, but simply smart.” Now, consumers have more choices, higher expectations, and more control over the things they want to see and buy.

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More for less


Consumers will always want to experience more, eat more, watch more, or wear more, while paying less. Even people who don’t need to save are still looking for deals in every purchase. “Because for consumers driven by collecting as many and as varied experiences as possible, every cent, yen, or penny saved means more to spend on new products, services, and ultimately, experiences,” says Trendwatching. Consumers will always look to experience more.

The medium is the motivation


Before, deals were simply found on flyers, newspaper ads, or if you happened to pass by the establishment and saw the poster. Now, says Trendwatching, “consumers are being alerted to, using, reusing, and sharing offers and deals via new (and therefore infinitely more exciting and attractive) technologies.” You can find a deal on Facebook, read about one on your Twitter feed, or receive daily deal updates on your smartphone. What does this mean, then? Bargains are now a great source of tech innovation. These hip new technologies also bring hip, young, and switched-on consumers that will hopefully get to know your brand.

Best of the best


A caveat: with all the bargain hunting, it’s important to realize that for brands and businesses, cheap deals don’t immediately mean consumer satisfaction. As with traditional marketing efforts, if your product or service doesn’t match up to your customers’ expectations, they won’t come back. According to Trendwatching, “poor quality businesses will no longer simply be able to turn to promotions to attract customers, as consumers are able to instantly check reviews and ratings before they make a purchase.” If you get a great deal but with a bad product, it’s a bad deal at any price.

This new trend, says the research firm, is not about slashing prices or giving free stuff away. “Brands should be thinking about the ways in which it enables them to reach out to new audiences, engage them in novel ways, and help them do the things they want to do at a lower cost.”

 

 

Photo: Getty Images


This story was originally published in the March 2012 issue of Entrepreneur magazine.
 

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