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(1)10 Inside Tips to Saving Money and Making the Most of Your Retail Shopping Experience

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In addition to running my regular consulting business, I also work part-time as an Ad Set Supervisor for a national retail store. During this time I have learned many of the ins and outs of the retail business and how to get the most bang for my buying dollar. If you follow these same ten tips I guarantee that you too will save more money. Following are ten of the best inside tips I’ve learned about the retail world since becoming part of it.

1.How to Get the Best Clearance Price in Stores
In most retail stores, clearance is marked down at the beginning of the month. And for stores that use the tiered clearance system, where items fall in price as the month progresses, you will find that the best time to get the lowest price for a clearance item is toward the end of the month.

2.Yellow Tag, Red Tag Clearance Method - When the Best Price Isn’t Always the Final Clearance Price
Stores that use the yellow tag to red tag clearance method also use a tiered system to incrementally mark down items on clearance. Generally, items are placed on clearance at the beginning of the month and will be gradually marked down as the month progresses. Any remaining yellow-ticketed items are then red ticketed for final clearance at the beginning of the following month. Because this system is percentage based, when the yellow-ticketed price drops to its lowest percentage off (usually 50% off the yellow-ticketed clearance price) makes this the best item to buy. This way you can save as much as 80% off the regular price of an item. However, if you wait until the same item is red-ticketed for final clearance, you will pay a higher price and only receive about 50-60% off the regular price. This is a clearance strategy used by many major retailers.

3.Too Early/Too Late For a Great Sale – Not Anymore
Most retail stores have an unpublished policy that allows customers to receive the sale price for an item either a day before or a day after the begin and end dates of an advertised sale. You just have to ask to receive the sale price.

4.Price Adjustment – Too Late, Not Necessarily
Most retailers have a published policy allowing customers a specific timeframe to receive price adjustments and an unpublished policy that actually extends this timeframe anywhere from 7 to 14 days. Even if you are outside the official timeframe for a price change, make the request, as most stores will honor the adjustment based on the unpublished policy and because they won’t risk losing a customer.

5.Buy One, Get One Free and Buy One, Get One ½ Off Sales (BOGO) – Great for the Retailer, Bad for the Customer
The national retail store I work at part-time as Ad-Set Supervisor usually has a Buy One, Get One Free, and Buy One, Get One ½ Off Sale, also know as BOGOs, twice every sale cycle (12 weeks). It always amazes me how many people flock to the store for these sales because in the retail industry, these are known to be one of the worst sales for customers. How? By breaking the numbers down one can quickly see just what I mean. Let’s say you need a pair of jeans and find that there is a BOGO sale at your favorite store offering you ½ off the second purchase. If you paid $20.00 for the first pair and $10 for the second pair (since it was ½ off) your total purchase amount on two pairs of jeans is $30.00, with an overall savings of $10.00 or 25%. But more than likely, these same jeans usually go on sale for 30 to 40% off during one of the store’s regular sale events. That means if you had purchased these same jeans during a regular 30% off sale you would have paid $14.00 per pair or $28 for two pairs a savings of $12.00, or 30% off saving you an additional $2.00 than the BOGO Sale. At 40% off you would have paid $12.00 per pair or $24.00 for two pairs, or 40% off saving you an additional $6.00 than the BOGO Sale.

Buy One, Get One Free Sales are only good if you plan on purchasing two of the same items anyway. Otherwise, they force customers to purchase more than they had planned causing them to bring home two items they only wanted one of in the first place. A way around this dilemma is to shop with a friend or relative who intends to purchase the same type of item that you are going to purchase. Stores love these sales because it is a way of getting customers to spend more money, reduce store inventory quicker, and increase sales figures.

6.Shopping Day Savings Passes, Just Ask
Several national retail stores offer Shopping Day Savings Passes, coupons offering the customer anywhere from 10-20% off every purchase made throughout that day. These “savings passes” are available at customer service desks. All you need to do is ask. One large retailer that offers these passes is Macys.

7.Those People with the Scanners – They Know More Than You Think
Ever go into a store and see some of the associates with a scanner scanning items? Well, more than likely those are “Ad Setters” responsible for placing sale signs for upcoming sale events. Almost every store has an Ad Set Crew. Some stores have the Ad Set Crew set ads for upcoming sales after store closing. Most, however, have the Crew start setting ads a few hours prior to closing. Shop during these hours and seek these people out. Why? They are the most knowledgeable about what store sales are the best for customers and when these sales are going to occur since they know about upcoming sales weeks in advance. If you are wondering if an item you are interested in purchasing is cheaper during the current sale or cheaper during an upcoming sale, they can usually scan it and tell you. I have helped countless customers save this way and then proceeded to tell them about the day prior, day later rule covered in tip number three. Most regular sales associates don’t have this inside information about upcoming sales, nor do they have the ability to find out what upcoming sales prices are going to be on items - that’s why you need to speak to an Ad Setter.

8.Imperfections = Discounts, Even Packaging
Everyone probably knows about getting an additional discount on imperfect merchandise, but many don’t know that imperfect packaging gets the same discounts. The store I work at, like most stores, has a policy that allows at least an additional 10-20% discount on damaged items. Even if the only damage is to an item’s packaging, we gladly give this discount when someone asks. As a result, I have learned to purposefully seek out items that have damaged packaging and to always ask for this extra discount. To date, I have always received it. Being willing to purchase items with damaged packaging creates a win-win situation for both customers and the store: the store gets rid of slightly blemished items and customers save money.

9.Forgot Your Extra Savings Coupon – No Problem, Just Tell the Cashier
Many stores send out extra savings coupons to holders of their credit cards or loyal customers on their mailing list. Sometimes, however, customers get to the register only to realize that they forgot to bring their “Extra Savings Coupon” with them. If this happens to you, no problem, since most stores have a policy granting the discount to the customer anyway just by telling the cashier that you forgot your savings coupon.

10.The Clearance Merry-Go-Round
Most stores have what is called “back stock.” This usually refers to clearance items that have not sold during the previous season’s clearance sales. These items are placed in a designated area in the stockroom and then brought back out onto the sales floor during a store’s next seasonal clearance event. For example, January and February are two good months to find last season’s bathing suits on clearance in many stores. May and June are good times to find heavy coats and leather jackets at rock-bottom prices. I know our store does this routinely, and have found this to be true for several other major retailers as well.

I hope you are able to save tons of money as I have by using these ten tips. Prior to working in retail I would have considered myself a frugal and smart shopper but have since become even better and saved more. By learning the ins-and-outs of the retail world and by using these tips, I now pay less for brand-new brand-name clothing, shoes, accessories, and home goods than I had previously paid at thrift stores and I hope you do too. Happy Shopping and Saving!
 

About the Author

Jona is an instructional designer, web and graphic designer, and technical and business writer. When she isn’t working on client projects, she can be found updating her personal project, www.simpleandfrugal.com, a website dedicated to those seeking to simplify their lives. Jona has been practicing simple living/voluntary simplicity for over 10 years and is available for speaking engagements. Contact her at simplefrugal@fuse.net.

Written by: Jona E. Kessans (Simple & Frugal)


(2)10 Smart Shopping Tips To Protect Your Family From Getting Sick

 


Prevention of food poisoning starts with your trip to the supermarket. Here's how to start off safely.
 

1. Pick up your packaged and canned foods first. Buy cans and jars that look perfect. Don’t buy canned goods that are dented, cracked or bulging. These are the warning signs that dangerous bacteria may be growing in the can.
 

2. Look for any expiration dates on the labels and never buy outdated food. Likewise, check the "use by" or "sell by" date on dairy products such as cottage cheese, cream cheese, yogurt, and sour cream and pick the ones that will stay fresh longest in your refrigerator.
 

3. Check eggs, too. Choose eggs that are refrigerated in the store. Before putting them in your cart, open the carton and make sure that the eggs are clean and none are cracked or broken.
 

4. Raw meat, poultry, and seafood sometimes drip. The juices that drip may have germs. Keep these juices away from other foods. Put raw meat, poultry, and seafood into plastic bags before they go into the cart. Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods in your grocery shopping cart and in your refrigerator.
 

5. Don't buy frozen seafood if the packages are open, torn or crushed on the edges. Avoid packages that are above the frost line in the store's freezer. If the package cover is transparent, look for signs of frost or ice crystals. This could mean that the fish has either been stored for a long time or thawed and re-frozen.
 

6. Check for cleanliness at the meat or fish counter and the salad bar. For instance, cooked shrimp lying on the same bed of ice as raw fish could become contaminated.
 

7. When shopping for shellfish, buy from markets that get their supplies from state-approved sources; stay clear of vendors who sell shellfish from roadside stands or the back of a truck. And if you're planning to harvest your own shellfish, heed posted warnings about the water's safety.
 

8. Pick up milk, frozen foods, and perishables (meat, poultry, fish) last. Always put these products in separate plastic bags so that drippings don't contaminate other foods in your shopping cart.
 

9. Drive immediately home from the grocery store. This will give cold or frozen food less time to warm up before you get home. If the destination is farther away than 30 minutes, bring a cooler with ice or commercial freezing gels from home and place perishables in it.
 

10. Save hot chicken and other hot foods for last, too. This will give them less time to cool off before you get home.
 

Copyright (c) Terry Nicholls. All Rights Reserved.
Terry Nicholls is the author of the eBook "Food Safety: Protecting Your Family From Food Poisoning". For more tips like these, and to learn more about his book, visit his website at http://tinyurl.com/3fr2t


yourguides@cogeco.ca

Written by: Terry Nicholls


(3)10 Tips For Shopping For Weight Loss.

Copyright 2009 Donovan Baldwin

Everybody is different. What works for your friend might not work for you, or might work better for you. Therefore, these suggestions for shopping for weight loss are presented as helps, and I hope you will find something of use to you. With just a little thought and creativity, you should be able to come up with several more tips yourself.

1. Always use a list when you shop, and stick to it. Almost any other food item you put in the buggy will be something that does NOT fit in to your weight loss plan.

2. Plan ahead. Decide what your meals are going to be, and what ingredients you will need. Include portion sizes in this planning. If you just buy a pack of steaks, you will probably cook all those steaks at once and there is a chance they may be eaten all at once. Planning your meals will help you prepare your shopping list. Plan also for meals such as lunches you carry to work.

3. Take someone with you who you can trust to be on your side. By "on your side", I mean, of course, someone who understands and supports your weight loss goals. While this person should be aware of what you are trying to accomplish, YOU must understand that they ARE trying to help you, and YOU must give them permission to express their honest thoughts about purchases you are making...especially if you are deviating from your list.

4. Have this trusted friend or family member HELP you draw up your shopping list.

5. Always eat before shopping. It is a fact that shopping when hungry increases your tendency to put extra items in your shopping cart.

6. Learn to read the labels. Almost every food you buy has a label outlining nutritional content and levels. Knowledge of nutritional needs is important, but does not need to be daunting. Basic information is easy to obtain.

7. Avoid convenience foods. Most have additional calories, fats, or carbohydrates. Although they may taste great, this is often a direct result of those very attributes.

8. Plan PREPARED meals. Cook from scratch. Not only will you probably enjoy the meals more, but having to prepare a meal helps prevent you from indulging yourself with a quick and easy snack or meal.

9. Avoid buying "empty" foods. These are foods such as chips, cookies, or candy. An apple may have as many calories as a piece of candy, but it contains a much higher level of nutrition, and provides factors such as fiber, for example.

10. Buy foods you really like. Eating in a healthy manner does NOT have to be a boring or unrewarding experience. Types of meals enjoyed in Japan, for example, can be tasty and a different and inviting experience, but they can also be very good for you. Again, be aware of portion sizes. Just because it is "good for you" doesn't mean you ought to go back for seconds or thirds.

There you are, 10 hints for shopping for weight loss. Since portion sizes was mentioned twice, let me leave you with this thought. Most Americans eat portions much larger than recommended sizes. A discussion of portion size is more than can be incorporated into this small article. However, people in France tend to eat very rich foods yet do not have the obesity problems found in America. People in Japan who eat a traditional Japanese diet tend not to have an obesity problem such as is found in America. As diverse as these two cultures and their diet are, a common factor is portion size. They typically eat much smaller portions than Americans.

About the author:

The author's interest in fitness and health began in 1970 when he first read Dr. Kenneth Cooper's "Aerobics". Find more weight loss tips at http://nodiet4me.com . You can find additional articles on fitness, health, and weight loss at http://nodiet4me.blogspot.com .

Written by: Donovan Baldwin

(4)10 Tips to Improve Your Shopping Cart

Whether you call it a shopping cart, a basket or a bag, the process of completing a purchase on your site has to be as simple and pleasant as you can make it. And you MUST offer the assurances your customers need to reduce their security concerns.

1. Let customers know where they are in the process. Number the steps in the checkout process, and clearly label the task for every step. Allow shoppers to review what they did in previous steps and return to the current step if they do go back.

2. Include a link to the product detail page. Shoppers may want to make sure they selected the right item before they
complete their purchase. They shouldn’t have to navigate using their “BACK” button.

3. Add pictures in the shopping cart.
Including a thumbnail image of the product within the shopping cart has been shown to increase the conversion rate by as much as 10 percent.

4. Make the next step obvious.
Include prominent "Next Step" buttons on every checkout page. Be sure that the button you want shoppers to click on is the most obvious item on the page.

5. Make changes easy.
It should be simple for shoppers to change the quantity or delete items from their shopping cart.

6. Keep it friendly.
If information is missing or incorrect, provide an error message that helps the shopper understand the problem and how to correct it. But never blame him for making a mistake.

7. Reassure your customers.
Shoppers’ concerns increase during the checkout process. If they have a problem with the checkout or feel uncomfortable
using their credit card online, display your toll-free phone number so they can still complete their purchase. Link to
warranties, shipping costs, and return policies.

A clear summary of your privacy practices also reassures shoppers. Nobody reads or understands those endless legal policies, so if you need a legal document, link to it from the summary.

8. Don’t ask for information that’s not necessary. Make the checkout process as brief as possible. If you do request
non-essential information make sure that required fields are clearly marked and placed at the top of the page.

9. Include third-party reinforcement.
Truste, Verisign, Better Business Bureau and credit card logos help customers feel more secure, as do “real” testimonials.

10. Use an exit survey.
If a shopper abandons the checkout process, offer an incentive to complete an exit survey. She may tell you why
she didn't complete her purchase— very valuable information!
 

About the Author

Barry Harrison is the author of "REDiTIPS"
eMarketing Newsletter and a partner in Resolve Digital,
Web Strategies for the Real World.

Visit his site at http://www.resolvedigital.com or
mailto:barry@resolvedigital.com


Written by: Barry Harrison


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