How to Get a Discount in a Store

Most likely you've seen it happen––the person next to you asks for a discount on something, anything in store and amazingly they get it. How did they do it? Why did they get it? Why did the store give them a discount? Here's the simple truth. First, you've got to ask. Second, you've got to ask the right person. And third, don't ask for the world... ask for something a little closer to reality... and you just might be surprised and get the world.


  1. 1
    Know the cost of the item you're looking to ask for a discount on. Know what the real cost is. Sellers mark up an item to cover costs of procuring, transporting, and displaying an item. That cost could be anywhere from 50 percent or more of an item's retail price, to as little as one to two percent. Food items and consumables the mark up is generally quite tight. General merchandise items are usually around 10 to 20 percent of the items retail. Clothing can be as high as 50 percent of retail. These are not hard and fast rules, but good generalities. Why know the costs? Because a seller isn't going to take a loss on an item unless they have to. And this gives you a good starting point to negotiate or bargain with.
  2. 2
    Ask the right person. Speak with the manager. Speak with the lead sales person. Better yet, speak with the owner. They have the "power" to discount and sell items at lower than retail. All sellers have general limits they work with. In one big box retailer, managers have the ability to reduce the cost of items up to 30 percent of retail. Other retailers will not mark down any jewelry or watch items for any reason whatsoever. Food stores generally discount their items when they get close to code dates or near the end of a business day.
  3. 3
    Ask for a discount. Even if you don't think you can get one, you never know, and it'll get the seller to think about it. The worse that can happen is that the seller says no. Even then, you've improved your skills in asking, and on occasion, you'll get what you ask for.


  • Be aware of cultural and/or business expectations when asking for a discount in a store. Some places are more open than others to bargaining on the price, while other places will simply say no as a matter of course.
  • Keep a record of the places that are open to giving you a discount, for future purchases.

Things You'll Need

  • List of price margins for different types of items

Article Info

Categories: Shopping