Then again, “it’s becoming much more popular to negotiate, even in bigger retail chains, such as Best Buy,” says Joe Marrapodi, the CEO and co-founder of Greentoe.com (more on Greentoe in a minute). Best Buy, for example, will match Amazon’s price if you print a screen shot of the deal and bring it to a salesperson’s attention. Home Depot—same thing.
“I furnished my whole kitchen from Home Depot and I negotiated on every single item,” Marrapodi says. He shopped comparison sites, like www.pricegrabber.com, found better prices for what he wanted to buy at Home Depot, and got Home Depot to match the deal.
That’s one way to bargain—doing your homework and haggling face to face. Here’s another possibility: Using Greentoe.com to do the work for you. Greentoe.com is the first and only website that allows you to name your own price for products in five categories: photography, appliances, musical instruments, baby items, and home theater. It’s akin to Priceline’s old business model.
How Greentoe.com works: You submit an offer with help from the site’s gauge meter, which gives you an idea of how doable your offer is (green means the retailer is almost guaranteed to take your price, orange—they might just take your deal, depending on timing, their inventory and other factors, and yellow means basically that it’s not going to happen). The gauge meter is based on algorithms and price intel.
“Our goal is to have consumer place an offer that’s realistic and get a great
deal,” Marrapodi says.
When you submit your offer—and your credit card number—you’re committing to the sale. Greentoe.com shops your offer to its network of retailers (ranging from small to big-box companies) to see if a merchant will accept it. If a retailer says yes, the sale is final and the item ships to you directly from the retailer. But until then, you can change your price and change the number of days you want your offer to be in play. When the offer is met, you’ll get a congratulatory e-mail and the retailer will start communicating directly with you.
On average, Greentoe.com lets you save 18 to 20 percent off retail. Any offer you submit includes tax and shipping. “It’s all-in,” Marrapodi says. You’ll save even more if your state doesn’t charge online sales tax. I like the idea of haggling online. Do you?