Price Tag Secrets That Can Help You Save Big Bucks

Everything we want comes at a price, but have you ever wondered how this price is determined? There are many elements that go into the price of a product, from the cost of production to the profit mark-up. However, in addition to this, there are also many secret pricing strategies that retailers use.

Here, we’ll discuss the various pricing models used by stores. Learning how to read them can help you save money. In some cases, the price tag can offer clues as to whether there will be further markdowns on an item. Here are the price-tag secrets of some big-name retailers.

Kohl’s

Kohl's sale
Corbis via Getty Images
Corbis via Getty Images

If you are looking for a great deal on clothing and home goods, Kohl’s is the place to go. The famous retail chain with more than 1,000 stores around the country is known for its incredible deals and discounts. Learning how to read the price tags at Kohl’s can help you save some big bucks.

The Kohl’s price tag strategy doesn’t go by number but rather by letters. NM stands for ‘new markdown,’ BGH means ‘buy one get one half off’ and GV means ‘great value.’ For clearance items, the prices are based on the quantity of the item in stock. Clearance discounts can range anywhere from 60-70 percent off and can even go as high as 90 percent.

J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney
Tim Boyle via Getty Images
Tim Boyle via Getty Images

J.C. Penney is a retail chain with more than 850 locations around the country. The store sells a variety of products from clothing to makeup and sporting goods. People shopping at J.C. Penney are usually looking for a bargain as the store is known for its affordable prices.

The store follows a pricing strategy that you can identify based on the last two digits of the price. For instance, if the price ends in .00 there will be no discounts but if the price ends in .99, it’s a clearance item. Additionally, prices ending in .97 are lowered every two weeks and .98 means there is a limited time deal on the product.

Office Depot

An Office Depot store is seen on May 11, 2016 in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Office Depot is a popular office supplies and furniture retailer with stores all over the world. The company follows a strict pricing strategy that is under wraps but there are still a few pricing strategies that are publicly known.

If the last digit of the price ends in a 1 like .01 or .51, this means that is it the first clearance price. Similarly, if the price ends with 2, for instance, .32, then this is the second markdown price. When this number ends in 4, this indicates the final markdown for the product.

Land’s End

Land's End
Tim Boyle via Getty Images
Tim Boyle via Getty Images

Land’s End (owned by Sears) is a retail store that sells clothing and home décor. The chain is a favorite among many as it is known for its good quality. Shoppers at Land’s End are always looking for a good deal on their products.

When item prices end in .00 or 50., this means that the product is sold at full price in all the Land’s End retail stores. However, if the price ends in .99 or .97, this means that the item is on sale or is a clearance item.

Pier 1 Imports

GettyImages-1143789676
Joe Raedle via Getty Images
Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Pier 1 Imports is a retail chain that specializes in furniture and décor and has more than 1,000 stores around the country. Understanding what the numbers on the price tags means can help you get a great deal on your furniture.

If the price of a product ends in .95 or .00, this means that you pay full price and there is no markdown on the item. However, if the price ends in .98 or .48, this means that these items are on sale and this is a clearance buy.

PetSmart

PetSmart
Toronto Star via Getty Images
Toronto Star via Getty Images

PetSmart is your one-stop destination for everything you would need for your pet. The retail chain has 1,500 stores around the country. Learn how to read the company’s price tags so you can get the best deal on your pet’s food and other supplies.

If the price ends in 9 (so if it is .99 or .39), this means that you are paying full price for the product. However, if the price ends in 7 so .47 or 87, this means that the product is marked-down and is on clearance. You are getting a great deal! Arf!

Michaels

GettyImages-536074329
Dorann Weber via Getty Images
Dorann Weber via Getty Images

Michaels is your go-to store for art supplies and craft materials. The company is headquartered in Texas and has stores in 49 states. It is a great place to find some good deals on art materials.

The best way to identify a discount on a certain item is with the color of the sticker. A green sticker means that the product has just been marked on clearance so chances are the price could go lower. A red sticker means that it is the final markdown for the product — this is a great deal!

Target

Target aisle
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

A lot of people say that they always leave Target with more than they planned to buy. The retail chain is a shopper’s haven and has almost everything you could ever need, under one roof. Thankfully, they’re also honest and open about their pricing strategy. In many cases, the price tags at Target provide information on the discounted price of the product.

Prices ending in .99 mean that the item is sold at full price. If the number ends in 8 (so .98 or .88), this means that the item is on clearance and has been marked down. Prices ending in 4 indicates that there is a new markdown from the clearance price.

Home Depot

Home Depot
Scott Olson via Getty Images
Scott Olson via Getty Images

We’ve all made a trip to Home Depot at some point in our lives — they sell almost everything that you would ever need for your home. The store is transparent about their pricing strategy so it shouldn’t be too hard to get the best deal for your buck.

When the price of a product ends in .06, this means that if the item is not completely sold out, it will drop again in six weeks. These prices are usually on a yellow tag. When the price is lowered in six weeks, the new price tag will end in 3, for example, .53. If the product is not sold again in three weeks, it is taken off the shelves.

Gap

Gap storefront
Ben Pruchnie via Getty Images
Ben Pruchnie via Getty Images

Gap is a popular clothing chain in the U.S. and is the parent company of other stores such as Old Navy and Banana Republic. While Banana Republic is known for its premium-priced attire, Old Navy and Gap are great places to find a deal. Both of these companies follow similar pricing strategies.

The main numbers to remember are .49, .47, .97, and .99. These indicate that this is the best deal you will get for that particular item, as it’s either on clearance or it has been discontinued. Either way, if you see an item you like with these numbers, grab it! Some clearance prices can be discounted up to 30-40 percent.

TJ Maxx

GettyImages-82187384
David McNew via Getty Images
David McNew via Getty Images

TJ Maxx is a department store that sells premium products at a discounted price. The store is full of great deals and learning how to decipher the price tags can help you identify if you are getting the best value for your money.

The pricing strategy at TJ Maxx is broken down by colors. A red tag means that the item is on clearance, however, the price can be marked down further if it doesn’t sell out. A yellow price tag means you are getting the best deal for that particular item and it could be out of stock soon. A purple tag means the item is a runway product and is marked down from its original retail price.

BJ’s Wholesale Club

BJ's Wholesale Club
Jeff Fusco via Getty Images
Jeff Fusco via Getty Images

BJ’s Wholesale Club is primarily located on the East Coast and is similar to other warehouse chains like Costco and Sam’s club. The company follows a complex pricing strategy and learning how to decipher the meaning behind the numbers can help you save money on their products.

For example, if a product price ends in the number 9 (.49, .59, etc), you end up paying the full price, while tags that end in .90 and .00 include a special discount for quick sale. In addition to this, there are pricing codes in place. Product code 1 is for regular-priced items that will be restocked in the future and product code 7 means that there is a seasonal deal on the item and you should grab it while you can.

Best Buy

Best Buy basket
Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

Best Buy is your go-to destination for all your electronic needs. The store carries products from many companies and is a great place to get a deal on your next purchase. There are nearly 1,200 stores around the country.

If the price ends in .99, this could either mean the product is still at its full price or is slightly discounted (still not a good deal). If the price ends in .92, this is an incredible deal and the price cannot go lower than this, and .96 means that the product is price matched to a competitor. The letter ‘C’ means that the item is on sale and will be discontinued once it is sold out.

Sam’s Club

Sams Sam's Club membership card.Club
Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images
Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Sam’s Club is a mega wholesale retailer like Costco and is a great place to shop if you are looking to buy in bulk. Walmart is the parent company of Sam’s Club. The retail chain operates more than 500 stores around the country, and you need to have a membership to shop at Sam’s Club.

When prices end in 1 like .01 or .91, this means that the item is on sale. The store also follows a letter system so you need to look at the letter on the price tag to decipher the pricing strategy. N means the item will always be in-stock, S means that the product is a seasonal buy, C means that once the product is sold out it will not be restocked and O means a one-time-buy and the product will only be stocked once on the shelves.

American Eagle Outfitters

American Eagle Outfitters storefront
Tim Boyle via Getty Images
Tim Boyle via Getty Images

American Eagle Outfitters is a clothing store known for its high-quality attire. The popular shop has some great deals during its seasonal sales but knowing how to read the price tags can help you identify some great bargains during the off-season as well.

If the price ends in .95, this means that you are paying the full price for the product. However, if the price ends in .99 or .00, this means the item is on sale and the item is a must-buy. Additionally, some products may have two price tags and this means that it is a clearance item.

Ulta

GettyImages-169749948
Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic via Getty Images
Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Ulta is a retail store that carries makeup and skincare products from a variety of brands. The company is known for its affordable prices and big discounts. There are currently 1,124 stores around the country.

When it comes to their pricing strategy, products that have been marked down from their original price will have a red sticker. These discounts can be up to 75 percent off.Tip: there is a greater choice of clearance items in-store than online.

Costco

costco shoppers
Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

Like Sam’s Club, Costco is also a wholesale retailer that is membership-based. The retail chain sells items in bulk so people are always looking for a good deal. The price tags can help you understand if you are getting value for your money.

If the price ends in .99, then you are paying the full price for the product. However, if the price ends in .97, then there is markdown to help sell more units of the product. If the price ends in .00 or .88, this means that these products are a manager’s special. And products with an asterisk indicate that this is the best price you can get for that item.

Sears

Sears sale
Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

Sears is a department store that sells a range of products from clothing to electronics and food. You can save a lot of money on your purchases if you understand the company’s pricing model. There are 500 Sears stores around the country.

If the price of a product ends in .99, then this means that this is the full price. If the price ends with .97, then this is discounted and it could drop further. And if the price ends in .88, this is the final markdown and the lowest that the item will be sold for.

Next (Clothing Store)

NEXT clothing
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Next is a major fashion retailer (based in the U.K). The store has a pricing model that helps you identify the future price of the product. This can help you decide if you want to make the purchase now or wait until the price drops further.

The price tag features a letter with a number next to it. The letter indicates where in the store the product will be located when it goes on sale and the number (which is most important) is the sale price of the product.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

new Super Bowl Patriots gear
Brianna Soukup/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Brianna Soukup/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Dick’s Sporting Goods is a popular sporting goods chain with stores all over the country. It can be quite easy to save money on your favorite pairs of shoes as the company has a transparent pricing model that super-easy to follow.

If the price of an item ends in .00 or .99, this means it is sold at its full price. This is not a great deal. However, if the price ends in .93 or .97, this means that the product is on sale and is marked down from its original price. Time to buy!