Do your homework
Talking down a price can be good fun for shoppers and it can save some money on the purchase as well. Despite different bargaining customs in different cultures around the world, a key to success is knowledge – knowing what you expect to pay and doing some basic maths.
An Ask Ian blogpost on bargaining highlights a passage in a speech by the then UK Financial Services Authority chairman Howard Davies about how some car buyers would negotiate over half a tank of fuel being included in the sale of a car – then accept a financial deal to buy the vehicle that could easily be bettered by going elsewhere. The cost of a tank of gas can be small compared with a higher ticket price or an uncompetitive payment plan, so researching the options can really pay off. The same holds true for electronics, when perhaps the seller offers an accessory as extra but the cost of the main item is higher than elsewhere.
When going to a market to haggle a good deal, research from the United States suggests it can pay to dress down, not bring children and to visit on busy days.
Remembering to smile is important, blogged Yale political science and economics assistant professor Chris Blattman about his experience negotiating fares for unmetered taxis in Ethiopia's capital city Addis Abeba. Blattman also highlighted the importance of research when he described a “national bargaining fraction” that indicates the typical price movement when haggling, which varies from place to place.