5 things procurement professionals can teach Black Friday shoppers

An analysis from consumer advice organisation Which? has revealed that Black Friday isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The savvy shoppers tracked prices of 83 products on offer in 2018’s Black Friday and for six months afterwards. They found that in 95% of items they investigated were available for the same price, if not cheaper half a year later.

What’s more, Which? also identified that a whopping 61% of the items they tracked had been the same price or cheaper six months before Black Friday. Despite these alarming statistics, shoppers are set to spend significant sums this year with analysts noting that in 2018, consumers spent £7 billion in the UK –  an average of £235.83 per household.

Procurement professionals buy items, goods and services all year round. They often negotiate multi-million-pound contracts and must use a variety of tactics to ensure they get the best possible deal.

We reckon there’s plenty bargain hunters can learn from the way procurement professionals operate, so we’ve produced our top five tips to ensure you get a good deal.


#1 – Do your research

Before agreeing to do business with any supplier, procurement professionals do their research. They vigorously examine a prospective partner to check for potential red flags such as financials; stance on ethical issues such as modern slavery; capability to fulfil required services and much more. This is usually done by using a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ).

Do your own PQQ – check the organisation you intend on buying goods from. Ask yourself, is the company you’re buying goods the best and cheapest place you can get the item from? A simple Google search checking competitor is a quick way to verify this, ensuring that you get the best possible deal. Is the price the sort of figure you’d expect to pay for this item? Or have you been sucked in by the sale stickers?


#2 – Use data-driven insight

Procurement professionals don’t make decisions without having data to validate their decision-making process – and you should adopt the same mindset.

Use price tracking websites such as PriceSpy to track the price of goods over the course of a year. Simply search the item in their toolbar and then look at the graph to see how the price of the product has fluctuated. They hold around six months of data on record, giving you plenty of information to see if the price has been lowered in the past. If it’s been cheaper than the Black Friday RRP, it’s likely to drop in cost again.


#3 – Set yourself a strict budget

Procurement and finance professionals generate cost-savings in businesses by agreeing a budget and sticking to it.

You should adopt a similar approach. Set yourself a strict budget during the Black Friday shopping period and insist on sticking to it. To make sure you stick to it bear the following in mind:

  • Set yourself a realistic budget that’ll net you everything you want
  • Transfer money from your debit card to a separate pot and only use that account to make Black Friday purchases, to avoid the temptation to spend more
  • Only spend what you can afford, don’t jeopardise your essential purchases for items you don’t really need


#4 – Don’t fall victim to psychological ploys

One of the most effective cost-saving measures procurement professionals employ are eAuctions. The unique psychological factors at play end up generating approximately 18% in savings – at least that’s the average figure according to our clients.

It’s managed by creating a competitive environment where suppliers effectively keep lowering their bid to ‘win’ a contract with a client. Typically, this is referred to auction fever – an emotional state where bidders deviate from their predetermined strategy to ensnare the item, or in this case, contract they’re bidding on. Other notable auction affects include social facilitation, whereby participants compete with one another, abandoning their original auction strategy to win whatever they’re bidding on.

Black Friday hijacks your brain in a very similar way to eAuctions, as this article by DW suggests. In it, Neuroscientist Christian Elger warns of numerous pitfalls, including red tags, music and pressure. To avoid falling victim to Black Friday fever try these tips:

  • Words like ‘sale’ and ‘deal’ activate the pleasure centre of your brain. Try to rationalise what you’re purchasing – and research using points discussed earlier in the piece. Is it actually a good deal?
  • If you’ve filled your basket with loads of Black Friday deals pause for a moment and do something else for 30 minutes. Give your brain time to rationalise what you’re purchasing. Is it worth it?
  • Use cash instead of credit. Physically handing over cash has been proven to ‘hurt’ than spending on a credit card.


#5 – If all else fails just walk away

If procurement professionals feel like they’re not getting the best value from a supplier, and they’ve tried to renegotiate a good deal, and the vendor hasn’t budged – usually – they’ll walk away.

Buying for business isn’t as emotional as purchasing for yourself. Buyers will, often, put their ego to one side and act objectively in the best interest of their business. You should adopt a similar approach to your Black Friday shopping.

If the deal feels too good to be true, it probably is! So just walk away. There’s plenty of other sales later in the year, and who knows, it might even be cheaper then!


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