Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday? We're All In It Together

Seriously. If we work together, we can drive prices down. North Carolina State University has completed a study showing that comparing prices at multiple online retailers will contribute to driving down the prices of that product.

Think about it. Online retailers monitor their traffic more obsessively than ever. Everyone's terrified that they'll have terrible holiday sales figures, and they're trying to remain as competitive as possible. When they see you're going to other sites with lower prices, they'll have to lower prices themselves if they want to stay in business.

There's some other stuff in the study, about loyal customers, switching customers, the ratio of each, but I got bored and stopped paying attention. I mean, I'm not running a store, so why do I care? The short version of the extra stuff is that some retailers won't care, and will shaft you anyway on the prices because they have enough loyal customers to get away with it.

Don't get shafted! Do your research! Shop around!

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Exaggerato said...

Point well taken.

Which, speaking as a new EntreCard blogger, explains one of the quirks of the online-shopping aspect of my blog (q.v.)--having multiple e-tailer affiliates in related fields to encourage comparison shopping.

Which, in my own case, has (admittedly) yet to generate any substantial pretty polly (would that it were otherwise).

Anonymous said...

I'm another EntreCarder, and I have a different take on Black Friday and refocusing our energies in a different manner.

Stanley! said...

@Exaggerato: Well, comparison shoppers don't make stores increase their advertising budgets, and might actually reduce ad spending so retailers can afford to offer goods at lower prices. Comparison shoppers are going to seek out stores that have the best bargains, not the ones that have the most ads. It means less earned on ads, but also less spent on purchases.

@Orient-Lodge: I don't think that the two courses of action need to be mutually exclusive. It's certainly possible to comparison shop while trying to make socially-conscious purchases, to make sure that no one is price-gouging just because they're offering "green" alternatives.

Thanks to both of you for commenting!

The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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