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It’s important to understand the entire sale

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 11:35 a.m. CDT

Consumers like sales. Stores can see an increase in profit because of a sale, but not all sales are worth it for the consumer.

Offering sales can attract consumers who would otherwise ignore products. For example, if toothpaste was offered for $1, a customer might buy it. They may already have toothpaste, but the product is “only a buck” and it is a deal.

Another offer that many retail stores use is additional product. If a can of peas is 10 oz. and the price is $1 that means that the consumer will pay 10 cents per ounce. Adding 20 percent means the consumer receives a 12 oz. product and the unit price is now 8.3 cents per ounce.

The rule of thumb is the average person can eat about half-a-pound per meal item. Make sure to look at the product weight before purchase. A half-a-pound is 8 oz. An extra 2 oz. will not feed another person.

The word “free” is often thrown in sales to gain attention, and it works. Most consumers will avoid math once the word “free” is thrown in an ad. Some companies offer free shipping to gain sales.The item could be full price, but because of free shipping, many will still buy.

In the past 10 years, online shopping has grown. Amazon is a successful online store, and for good reason. Their products cover a wide range of items. Unlike eBay, Amazon always offers an extact price. eBay does offer a “buy it now” option, but it is not always worth it. Amazon price’s can beat major retailers, but the time spent waiting for the product to arrive evens the playing field.

If a phone battery dies, most consumers want it replaced right away.

Some consumers ask about price matching, but the problem is the quality. Online stores maybe cheaper, but it may not be the same product. Remember that most online stores do not need as many workers as a retail store.

Computers can be cheaper online if done right. The issue is that most consumers do not know computer jargon. Some major retailers offer sales on outdated computers, but many consumers who don’t understand they are purchasing outdated equipment buy them anyway.

When purchasing an in-store computer, select the Start button, and left-click “Computer.” A menu will pop up. Then select “Properties.” Select “Window Experience Index.” The numbers are based on a scale with a maximum of 7.9.

The lowest should be disc transfer rate. Most are rated at 5.9 and not much can be done to change it, but the other numbers are important. Processor and RAM are very important. If they rank below a 6.4, the sale may not be worth buying.

The graphics rating is only important if you use a lot of media or play games. Graphics can easily be adjusted by purchasing a new graphics card. A decent card can cost about $75.  

Staff writer Matthew Shepard may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at mshepard@newtondailynews.com via email.

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