Shop Smart this Holiday Season

Thursday, December 11th 2008, 7:10 pm
By: News 9

By Joel Craig, NEWS 9 Contributor

With only two weeks away from Christmas, we all want the most for our money when it comes to holiday shopping, but maybe even more so than in recent years. There are some things to look for as you look to knock those gifts off that list.

Even though the economy isn't great, there are some retail dynamics that don't change no matter how you shop - you just have to know about them.

I've already mentioned the Internet. Retailers like it because their cost to advertise is minimal compared to running a traditional ad, they can change product and pricing instantaneously and can suggest other items for you to buy based on what you're looking at.

Newspapers are still a popular advertising method for retailers. The inserts are often created months in advance so they may not represent current retail reality. Look for ads know as ROP, run of press. These are ads printed in the regular sections of the newspaper. These ads can be created within a couple of days - so they are more likely to be adjusted to current trends.

Of course there are TV ads. Not the generic, "you like us because" or "we're what's hot so you have to buy this." No. I mean the ads that have product and price. The ones that say "sale" and - to use a retail term - make you want to "drop the mop and shop."

Retailers bought their holiday merchandise months before the economy went into turmoil. They have the product and they have to sell it. Ask for price matching from another stores' ads. If a product isn't on sale many stores are willing to deal - but you have to ask. The worse they can say is "no" or they may counter your offer with one of their own. The merchandise in stores has to be sold what price it gets sold at can be up to you. Shop smart.