Black Friday: Unmasking retail tricks

30 Nov, 2023 - 08:11 0 Views
Black Friday: Unmasking retail tricks

The Sunday Mail

Cresencia Marjorie Chiremba

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” — Aldo Gucci.

THE frenzied shopping day dubbed “Black Friday” has become synonymous with jaw-dropping discounts, long queues and a scramble for the best deals.

But, behind the scenes, a different kind of drama unfolds — one that involves price manipulation, consumer psychology and the delicate dance between retailers and their customers.

In this article, I will peel back the layers of Black Friday’s glossy façade and delve into the murky world of pricing strategies.

Buckle up savvy shoppers, because what you will discover might just change the way you approach the enticing sales.

What is Black Friday price manipulation?

It refers to the practice of changing prices of products or services before or during the Black Friday sales event, either to increase profits or to create a false sense of urgency among customers.

Some common forms of price manipulation are:

Price Creep: This is when retailers start raising their prices gradually over time, creating a perception that they are offering better value than their competitors. For example, a retailer might increase its price from US$100 to US$120 over a six-month period, making it seem like a bargain when it goes on sale for US$80 on Black Friday.

Price Matching: This is when retailers match or beat the prices of other retailers who are selling the same product or service at a lower price. For example, a retailer might offer US$50 off on a product that another retailer is selling for US$100, making it seem like a great deal when it goes on sale for US$50 on Black Friday.

Price Bundling: This is when retailers offer two or more products or services together at a discounted price, making it seem like they are getting more value than when buying them separately. For example, a retailer might offer two items for the price of one, or three items for the price of two, making it seem like they are saving money when they buy them on Black Friday.

Price Inflation: This is when retailers increase their prices after they have already offered discounts or deals on their products or services. For example, a retailer might raise its price from US$80 to US$90, after offering a US$20 discount on Black Friday, making it seem as if they have increased their value rather than reduced their prices.

Black Friday price manipulation can have a negative impact on customer service in several ways:

Misleading Customers:  Customers may not be aware that prices of some products or services have been raised before or during the sales period, leading them to think that they are getting a better deal than they actually are. Customers may also be confused by different terms and conditions that apply to different products or services within the same category.

Frustrating Customers: Customers may feel cheated or disappointed by finding out that prices of some products or services have been raised after they have already bought them or made plans to buy them. Customers may also feel angry or resentful towards retailers who use deceptive tactics to manipulate their prices and emotions.

Damaging Customer Loyalty: Customers may lose trust and confidence in retailers who use deceptive tactics to manipulate their prices and emotions. Customers may also switch to other retailers that offer more honest and transparent pricing practices. This can reduce customer loyalty and retention rates in the long run.

What can consumers do to avoid being deceived?

Consumers can take some steps to avoid price manipulation deception:

Do our research

Before buying anything, check if there are any reviews, ratings, or feedback from other customers who have bought the same product or service from the same retailer. Look for any red flags, such as complaints about quality issues, delivery delays and hidden fees, et cetera.

Compare prices

Before buying anything, compare prices from different retailers who sell the same product or service. Look for any differences in terms, such as discounts offered by each retailer during different periods of time (for example, early-bird specials versus late-bird specials, free delivery versus flat rate delivery fees, etcetera.

Read fine print

Before buying anything, read carefully what each product or service includes and excludes in terms of warranty, returns, guarantees, etcetera. Look for any fine print that may limit your rights or options, in case you encounter any problems with your purchase.

Be sceptical

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Do not fall for any tricks or gimmicks that promise you huge savings, exclusivity, or urgency without providing any evidence or explanation. Do not let anyone pressure you into making a quick decision without thinking twice.

As the curtain falls on this year’s Black Friday, remember that knowledge is your greatest weapon.

Arm yourself, shop wisely and may the discounts be ever in your favour.


*Cresencia Marjorie Chiremba is a marketing enthusiast with a strong passion for customer experience. For comments, suggestions and training, she can be reached at [email protected] or at +263 712 979 461, 0719 978 335

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