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How To Shop Smart: 5 Characteristics Of A Smart Shopper

17 January 2017, 4:32 pm EST
Smart shopper
You may love shopping, you may be a bargain hunter....but are you a smart shopper?
Photo credit | Getty Images

No matter the season, shoppers can count on retailers to try to entice them with deals and bargains galore. Whether it's a flash sale touting their newest items at the height of a shopping season, a special deal for email subscribers, or a clearance sale at the end of year, retailers flood shoppers with sales.

With a shopping culture that thrives on discounts, freebies, and deals that are difficult to resist, American consumers feel the pressure to constantly score the best bargains. It's easy for buyers to get lost in the frenzy of bargain hunting and make uneconomical and unnecessary purchases. But there's a science behind how to shop smart.

Here are the five characteristics that separate the casual bargain hunter from the smart shopper.

1. The smart shopper is alert.

Smart shoppers don't wait for word-of-mouth marketing to reach them to find out about the best deals. They download the best shopping apps to monitor sales promos online, well before they line up outside brick-and-mortar shops.

Setting up alerts using a smartphone app or via email subscriptions to their favorite shopping websites helps smart shoppers keep track of retailers' latest offerings.

2. The smart shopper knows the difference between a good deal and a rip-off.

Does a promo sound too good to be true? Smart shoppers can easily tell if a deal will end up blowing their budget, lock them into a long payment scheme, or just rip them off.

While some bargain hunters will jump at every opportunity to save a few extra dollars, smart shoppers will step back and assess the actual long-term savings. They factor in interest rates and surcharges that can make the "discounted price" less of a bargain.

3. The smart shopper makes a shopping calendar.

Smart shoppers aren't hooked on finding the latest and greatest deals week after week. They plan their monthly shopping needs and identify high priority items on their list while putting off optional shopping for later.

For instance, a smart shopper will make sure the pantry is packed with enough groceries for the month before heading out to shop for a trendy pair of sneakers that they found on sale.

4. The smart shopper is economical.

Smart shoppers buy only what they need, as opposed to bargain hoarders who buy more than what they need "because it was a bargain" but have no plan on how to make use of the excess.

When a smart shopper purchases a new item, that means another item currently taking up space in their closet or storage room will be given away, sold at the family's next yard sale or be donated to charity. The smart shopper follows the one in, one out rule: when one item comes into their home, another one goes out the door.

5. The smart shopper chooses space-saving and eco-friendly packaging.

Smart shoppers always consider their footprint on the environment. Consumers today are making a conscious choice to limit the amount of waste they leave behind from activities such as shopping and storing goods. Many shoppers now bring their own reusable bags to the supermarket, or forego bags altogether for small purchases. If they need to box up an item smart shoppers are, in fact, doing away with bulky packaging and opting for boxes that are sized just right for the items they've purchased.

Smart packaging is an integral part of smart shopping. The correctly sized packaging not only minimizes damage often seen when an item is shipped loosely inside a big box, but it also eliminates excessive use of plastic foam as cushioning inside the box.

Retailers are now turning to smart packaging options too. Instead of storing truckloads of one-size-fits-all boxes in a warehouse, companies save on space and packaging materials with the customized packaging system developed by Packsize On-Demand Packaging.

With its state-of-the-art box making machine, Packsize helps companies print out boxes on demand, customized to their own product specifications. No waste. No excess. Packsize is economical - just like the smart shopper.

Smart shopping isn't about jumping on the next bargain. It's all about planning around one's needs, being aware of the environmental impact of their consumer purchases, and being savvy to trends to stay ahead of the game. 

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