I love to shop, and I especially love to shop and save money. Going into stores and looking for the best possible price for the things I want is just plain fun to me. I’ve taught hundreds of people how to save money shopping with coupons, but my shopping experiences go well beyond that. I like to get that deal on everything I buy, from groceries to furniture and everything in between. My friends often ask me to teach them how to shop, so I take them under my wing and show them the ropes. When we meet for coffee or group exercise, I share my latest finds and where to get them. I’m always amazed that what comes to me so naturally is sometimes so difficult to others. I’ve decided to run a short series to teach all of you a little of what I know so you can benefit from my experience too!
The first and most important thing to realize is that there are only so many manufacturers making all the products we buy. Manufacturers that make products for one retailer’s end use are going to have a much higher price point for consumers than those who make many products for many retailers. When buyers go to market to select their new product lines, they can ask the manufacturer to private label certain pieces of their product lines which will prevent them from being sold to other retailers. The benefit to the retailer is they get that product solely for themselves; the benefit for the manufacturer is they get a huge order for specific products in their sales line. So buying a store brand does not mean it is inferior in quality as much as it means you can only get it at that store.
Now, different stores do have different price points so you wouldn’t expect to get the same level of quality at a high end retailer with a private label vs. a mass retailer’s private label. Often buyers will negotiate the actual manufacturing process, material or decorative finishes on products to lower their costs and pass the savings on to the consumer. So what is the benefit of knowing this?
Take the example of furniture. When I was shopping for my children’s furniture, I went to a high end, trendy retailer for all their pieces. When I received it, it came in pieces and I ended up having to assemble it myself – not what I was expecting for what I paid for it! I later went into a popular discount retailer and saw complementing pieces sold in boxes ready to take home and assemble. The labels, prices and packaging were different, but the actual furniture style, quality and assembly was exactly the same, for quite a bit less! The lesson here is to shop in high end stores for ideas, then go to other retailers to see if they are carrying complementing items to your products of interest, or are offering the same thing in a different package. You will want to look closely at the quality of the display pieces before you make any purchasing decisions. Knowing this information might not save you money on everything you buy, but you should be able to save on at least 30% or more of what you buy on a regular basis!