It is discount time at hypermarkets and retail outlets which are cashing in on the general festival season which began with the National Day celebrations, to be followed by year-end clearances.
It is widely believed the discounts and promotions help the retailers to old clear old stocks and refurbish their inventory with the latest brands and designs.
Irrespective of whether a product is a few days or months’ old, for a customer it is all about making the most of an opportunity to own a product he/she wished to own at an affordable rate.
According to experts, discounts work on the limited-period factor and people generally don’t wish to end up buying the same product for a higher price a few days later. This is the “mind game” played by retailers across the world.
An executive of a leading retail chain in Oman told the Observer there are a few misconceptions about discounts among average shoppers, but still no one wants to miss the bus when it comes to saving some money.
“It is widely believed that we, the retailers, clear old and some slow-moving goods through discounts. Secondly, it is felt we first increase the price by 10-20 per cent and then offer a discount,” he said.
The executive, however, said he can’t divulge details about promotion strategy, but added that it is generally a win-win situation for both sellers and buyers.
“I don’t miss out on discounts and try to enquire about the actual price of the same products. One can make out if there is manipulation by retailers at the time of promotion. No seller will play mischief because he will lose the trust of the consumers,” said Layla, a homemaker.
She said the items to look out for during discounts are home furniture and clothes.
“I think the electronic gadgets displayed for promotion are slow-moving ones that have to make way for new launches. That is the impression that I get and it is purely my personal opinion,” she added.
For expatriate homemaker Parvathy, garments and kitchen items are the preferred ones to buy during discounts. Because the dangers of buying something outdated are limited here.
An executive of a lifestyle store felt there are some mind games involved but not cheating of any kind. “Consumers are wise enough to compare prices and understand our strategies,” he said.
All discounts, including the intervals between two promotions, in Oman need to be approved by the authorities, especially the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, say the retailers. According to Deloitte, a leading accounting organisation and professional services firm, the retail trends for 2017 were focused on understanding the art and science of catering to the customer, including preferences, social media-driven economy and changing retail formats, among others.