The bazaars in India and Turkey are fantastic places to bargain. You spot something you’ve absolutely got to have, you find out the price, and then you and the merchant negotiate what you’ll really pay. Haggling is part of the fun. You walk away feeling like you made out like a bandit and the retailer silently chuckles because he raised the price 500 percent in the first place.
Forget Black Friday. Let’s start converting our stores into Grand Bazaars, instead of playing games to see how we can outdo each other with coupons, discounts, specials, offers, freebies, two-for-the-price-of-one and limited-time-only sales. Markups are two and three times what retailers pay for the products, anyway. Someone’s got to pay the rent.
Bazaar merchants don’t worry about fancy displays. Their goods are colorful all by themselves. Who really cares whether a dress hangs in a setting that looks like the inside of the Taj Mahal? Or whether we sit on real-leather sofas to try on shoes? Maybe if retailers figured out a way to show their wares more simply, they could charge lots less. Simple can be elegant, too.
Bazaar merchants don’t have ad budgets. They pitch their products right in the market. Store buyers might actually sell more clothes if they personally talked to customers on the sales floor. Their e-commerce sites would benefit, too, if they produced short videos of themselves promoting the products they love.