Every retailer wants to reach consumers with a message that drives traffic to their store. However, even the best marketers need to take timing into consideration in order to motivate consumers saturated in advertising messages at every turn. Consumer shopping behavior is influenced by many external factors, including the seasons and top holidays. From holiday and seasonal fashion, the changing seasons signal its time to shop, but for what?
Shopping is a seasonal event, even driven by the economic climate. Also retailers are experts at telling us to buy, and when. For example why is furniture always on sale in February/March or white sales in January? Why all of a sudden in January do I need new sheets and towels? You probably don’t, but merchandisers need to clear out room for incoming new stock. The entire retail sale schedule is built to spike revenue or drive down inventory costs. Planning ahead, can earn a smart shopper significant savings in the long run.
There is software to help shoppers quickly compare the best deals across the web. Some of the most effective bargain hunters are actually browser plug-ins that only become active when you are shopping and alert you of deals on similar items elsewhere. Here is a roundup of a few of the best:
Slice – Plenty of retailers say, “If the price drops, bring in your receipt and we’ll refund the difference.” It’s an easy promise to make because so few people continue looking at prices of things they just bought for weeks afterwards. Slice does it for you. The app runs on the web or your phone, and tracks all online purchases. Emails alert shoppers of a price drop on one of these items followed by a simple print out of a new receipt. As a bonus, it will keep track of all online shipments in one place to simplify the delivery logistics process as well.
PriceBlink – Another browser extension that only runs while someone is in the process of shopping is PriceBlink. PriceBlink combines a couponing site with a unique comparative function that lists other sites that offer the same item for less. Among the most useful features in this shopping tool is a price trending button that lets users know where the price of similar items are headed seasonally. This helps consumers know if they are getting a bargain by buying early.
Recommended for YouWebcast: The Art of Growth Hacking: Gaining Early Traction by Doing Things that Don't Scale
Shopping Apps – There are shopping apps that not only make shopping more efficient, but help consumers save money too. Find&Save, Pounce and Retale deliver deals in your area using retail circular advertisements. Displayed on a mobile device, the deals change as a shoppers location changes. And to save time, there are even parking apps like ParkMe, Parkopedia or ParkWhiz that help shoppers navigate parking lots to quickly find the best available spot!
Best Deals by Season
So when is the best time to get deals on favorite retail items? Here are some examples:
- Want to add a new golf club or two to the golf bag? Try shopping for them in March.
- Looking for a gym membership to prep for the summer beach vacation? So is everyone else, so gym memberships and exercise equipment are cheapest in June.
- The fall harvest is the time to buy wine, with the steepest discounts coming in the September/October timeframe.
- September is also the time to buy the big-ticket home appliance items, barbeques and lawnmowers as they are taking up way too much retail showroom space.
- Electronic devices are best purchased around Black Friday, so November for those items.
- Champagne and cars? December of course
There are a great many variables to take into consideration, but each buying season powers the marketing machine, which in turn can be used by consumers to find the best prices on the products needed throughout the year.