DSF is the mother of all sales. It aims at giving consumers - not just residents but also peak-season tourists - the maximum in terms of value for purchases made. Image Credit: Seyyed de L'lata/Gulf News

As the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) enters its last leg this week, there would be many discerning shoppers out there looking for a good deal.

But lest you accuse them of spending money, hard-earned or otherwise, on things you may think they don’t need, hold your horses.

As they will vouch, shopping isn’t always about spending. It’s about saving too – provided you can cash in on a deal.

But how do you know an offer is fair and genuine?

If we’re talking DSF, its track record over the past 27 editions should tell us something. This time round too, Dubai Economic Department has reassured us that the discounts are for real. It has put in place stringent mechanisms to identify false claims and act upon them. And, of course, we can always lodge a complaint if we still find something amiss.

In fact, there’s nothing like first-hand experience to draw our own conclusions. If we’ve been on the rounds long enough and have done our due diligence, we don’t need anyone else to tell us if a promotion is genuine or not.

Bargain bliss

Whether it’s a set of coffee mugs that we got for Dh49 as against its original price of Dh196, two pairs of jeans for Dh150 under a BOGO (buy-one-get-one-free) offer or an 8K QLED 65 inch smart TV for Dh10,999, 50 per cent down from Dh21,999, a good sale is well worth the wait.

Having eyed the products with their pricy tags for long, there’s an enviable sense of thrill, even triumph and thankfulness, when we get them for what we believe is a steal during a sale. It’s almost as if the universe has conspired to make it happen.

Bargain bliss doesn’t come about only when we pick up a long-coveted product at a really low price. There’s a dopamine rush every time we walk into a shop, discover new things that are so irresistably priced that we come out with purchases we never intended to make.

Now, how is that a saving, you may ask? After all, even a discounted item, however lowly priced, would cost more than what buying nothing would, right?

Right. But let’s get real. There are no free lunches. And while we can’t do without our budgeted meals, some occasional toppings wouldn’t hurt either.

Win-win situation

This psychology behind consumer behaviour is at the heart of all promotions. Clever discounts are a win-win for retailers and consumers. An important part of a retailer’s marketing strategy, they are planned and budgeted for well in advance, dictating when prices should be marked up or down during the year. They are typically used when the retailer wants to observe special occasions, introduce new products, retain existing customers, increase store traffic, clear old stock or drive revenue growth.

But how can a retailer offer something at a 90 per cent discount, which we come across often enough, and still make money? Well, that’s a discussion for another day. For now, suffice it to say that a Dh16,000 product going for Dh1,600 would in all probability still ensure a profit for the retailer as the actual cost of the product would be under Dh1,600. Moreover, the entire inventory at the store won’t be covered under the 90 per cent discounted slab. And if the markdowns are designed to clear dead stock, the goal will be to maximise available selling space for new products and remain profitable while getting rid of the slow-sellers.

True, there are far too many sales in a year. And you could be forgiven for not being drawn by a discount. The sense of urgency to cash in on a deal could also be lost when you know another sale would come up soon enough. But each sale is differently designed.

The major sales in Dubai include DSF, Dubai Summer Surprises, Back-to-School, Ramadan and the Year-end promotions. There are mall-specific and customer-loyalty programmes through the year as well. While some deals incentivise shopping for customers ahead of a festive season or occasion, others are part of a seasonal launch calendar.

DSF is the mother of all sales

Each of these promotions has a specific purpose. DSS and Back-to-School promotions, for instance, are designed to ensure value for money, the former targeting residents set to travel home for summer and the latter, returning students. The Ramadan sale, generally, is geared more towards giving back to the community through involvement in various initiatives. Customer loyalty programmes give members extra benefits through double points or double discounts.

DSF, however, remains the mother of all sales. It aims at giving consumers - not just residents but also peak-season tourists - the maximum in terms of value for purchases made. Although part sales dominate, it’s a good deal that defines the promotion. So make the most of it while it lasts – and don’t forget, shopping is about saving too.