Do you bargain often in Singapore?


You know the Great Singapore Sale is ON and we often see many good deals and bargains trying to catch consumers’ attention.

I was wondering why a bread costs $1.10? What’s with that 10cents? Is it an economical move or a psychological one? In my analysis, $1 attracts buyers and the 10cents may be used as profits. As you gather and collect many 10cents, you get quite a substantial amount.

Examples mentioned here in Bugis Village, etc; or bargain-able places. This also made me upset as why do “big” sellers has the final say and we cannot bargain? I understand that we can’t possibly bargain at a NTUC counter as it will be very inconvenient and the cashier wouldn’t be able to help you.
Smart way of deterring customers from bargaining is : BARCODE. What if barcodes were invented with a side benefit of disallowing buyers to bargain? LOL!

With regards to discounts, terms and conditions, etc; why do sellers always have the advantage? As far as being protected under legal terms, the riskier businesses are B2B but they are often in a win-win situation.
[Long negotiation processes]

Very often, the amount of money going in and out between businesses are huge and would require a larger effort in drafting contracts, etc.

Why can’t it be a win-win situation for B2C? Usually consumers have lesser information about a product and will have to go by trust where most sellers will try to abuse. We also have to go by talking and bargaining before making that decision to buy a product. What’s wrong with the after-sales attitude? Where is the basis of all businesses – Relationships and Integrity.

Do bear in mind that buyers have more and more information about a product or service in this modern economy. The only thing they don’t have is your sincerity, after-sales service, friendships, etc. Once they have all these, you can expect he/she be loyal to your business.

I learned that Relationships precedes Ministry (Christian wisdom), why can’t we apply this same concept: Relationships precedes Businesses & Profits? Sales transactions and money are dispensable, but the owners of these transactions and the medium to participate in the economy (money) are not dispensable! In fact, consumers are not rational at all. They are highly emotional and sellers must practice on their relational talks(sincere ones) and not sales talk.

Very often, a salesman or seller has a pre-defined pattern of giving discounts, sentences to use on unaware customers. For example, my product is $12. When you ask for a bargain, what is the natural order? Discount it to $10. Yes? In fact, the seller may have another 2-3 dollars of buffer to play around with you. As humans, we try to round-down from 12 to 10. We never really give a thought whether the product is really $10. When I go for bargains, I will discount further $2 and work around there. I will quote $8 instead of $10. In China, please bargain for 50% discount before you start your negotiation. haha!

If a customer did not ask for a cheaper price, fatter profits for the sellers. I believe alot of young people do not dare to bargain and this allowed sellers to be arrogant towards customers who bargain.

I was at Bugis Village when I tried to bargain a $12 piece of iTouch backcover for $10 and told the seller that Tampines sells at $10.
Her reply was,”Go buy at Tampines then”. [Direct translation from her Mandarin]

Seller can always negotiate to maximize their profits rather than being arrogant and deter an interested buyer for $2.

Common tactics include:

1. “Ok sure, why not buy 2 pieces; I sell you at $22?”
$2 discount on one product enables the seller to earn $12 dollar more. I believe that $2 is just to provide a fatter profit or buffer for bargaining sessions. – It is in-fact discountable!

In one of my previous posts, sellers place the price at $22.50, $25.90, $12 can be a sign of their discount buffers.

If price is an indicator in the Economy, then price can be an indicator for consumers. What is that 50 cents, 90 cents or $2 in the price for? It’s for you and the seller to bargain for and also to be a psychological signal that the price is just “a little below” a higher number like $30 compared to $29.90.

2. “Oh, why not get a screen protector to go with? I will discount that $2 from your back-cover?”
3. Alright sure! I will give you my namecard, remember to recommend your friends over!

Sellers must recognize market trends and complex consumer behaviors. Youngsters often like to change their Hand-phone or iTouch accessories. They will bound to come back for more. Establish a good first impression, and you got a good base of loyal customers.

Taxi drivers’ behavior.

Why do some taxi drivers refuse to pick up passengers from a taxi stand with a long queue of customers? Especially in Jurong Point, I saw a few taxis drove pass the taxi stand without even stopping. Few possible reasons.

1. They are changing shifts and they don’t bother to display it on their roof signs.
2. They had the experience that most of the customers from JP taxi stand make short distance trips back home(Due to their heavy groceries)

With regards to point 2, how can it possible? Making a short trip earns them some money too! Perhaps they didn’t want to stay around in the west area but prefers heading towards the town area.

Lastly, I happened to come out with a joke last Friday.

Me: Hey, do you know I was in the National Team?
You: Really!!!(With that wide eye look)
Me: Yea, two good years I tell ya…
You: What do you represent Singapore for?
Me: Rifle shooting.
You: Oh my gosh, you don’t look like one though.
Me: National Service la.

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