In many countries including the United States, it is not customary to haggle in most shopping situations. But The Wall Street Journal's "Independent Street" blog suggests that in this economy it might be better for retailers to engage in selective haggling rather than price slashing. The trick is letting the right customers know that you are willing to negotiate in order to win their business. Kelly Spors writes:
As a consumer, I'm afraid of offending a business owner by suggesting they lower a price. So if I don't like what I see, I generally leave and go somewhere else. But if the sales associate asked me if I'd be willing to buy an item for less, they might just win my business. ... You don't, however, want to haggle with customers happy to pay full price..
Sites like pricegrabber.com and beatmyprice.com serve as haggling surrogates in the online space. With a little training and a keen eye, brick-and-mortar retail establishments can benefit from the same bargain-hunter mentality without resorting to drastic price cuts across the board.
For more on this, read Spors' full post -- Let's Make A Deal: The Benefits of Haggling In The Bad Economy