My dad hates holiday shopping. The crowds, the stress – absolutely hates it.
But every year, the only way we can convince him to come shopping with us is the chance to negotiate with retailers. He loves to haggle.
I once witnessed him wrangle the price of a flat screen TV from $250 down to $130 at Best Buy through an uncomfortable amount of eye contact and (I’m sure) the desire of the salesperson to get the weird dude staring at him out the door.
When reading Bertini and Koenigsberg’s “ When customers help set prices” article this week, I thought about the negotiating part of their “collaborative pricing” description, and wondered if this could ever translate to online sales – say allowing customers to negotiate with the sales team over a website’s chat feature on retail sites or even a video conference feature.
Much of the other models described in the article exist in the digital space, but online negotiation really doesn’t. At least not in a way that’s different than haggling over prices with a seller on Craigslist or talking prices over email with an artisan on Etsy.
There’s not a way to replicate my dad’s TV negotiation example online. Or maybe there is and I’m just not good at shopping online?
On the one hand, encouraging online price negotiation with customers could potentially allow retailers to move inventory more quickly – even it means taking a slight earnings hit.
On the other hand, part of the appeal of IRL price negotiations is the personal interactions and the “thrill of asserting dominance” as my dad puts it. With so much of negotiation dependent upon personality, facial expressions and body language, transitioning this interaction online either via chat or video conferencing…just…wouldn’t be as fun.