How do you negotiate prices in the souks ?

First of all, you cannot negotiate prices everywhere, for example, food is one of the few products that are not negotiated. The price will be the same for everyone (locals and tourists) and will often be displayed. The same applies to drinks and buses for example.

However, prices are often hiked up considerably for tourists in the souks, and this is the reason why prices are rarely displayed – they vary according to the time of day, the client and the mood of the seller to name a few…

Avoid being accompanied by a “reeler” or guide in a souk, as they will receive a commission on your purchases (and the price of your goods will be increased to account for this).

Finally before starting the negotiation process, the golden rule to remember is that a good deal is where both buyer and seller are winners!

You will find six tips for a comfortable shopping experience in the souks: 

Tip 1: A bit of browsing to gauge the price of the product 

Before shopping, do a few rounds in the souks and find out about the prices charged for specific products by visiting several stores selling the same item (most of the time you will find stores selling the same item grouped in the same part of the souk). You will then be able to get a clearer idea of ​​the price of what you want. 

Tip 2: Hospitality and negotiation

Negotiating is a part of the custom in Morocco and you should know that shop owners are always delighted to negotiate with foreigners and to be able to discuss information about their wares. Do not hesitate to ask the seller questions about their products, shop, quality of raw materials, and to accept a mint tea if offered.

Tip 3: The bluff

One of the key tips is to never show your interest in the product you actually have your eye on. This is very difficult for some people and you will have to practice and learn to hide your emotions, or risk the price of the product rocketing! Finally, start negotiations only if you are really interested in the product.

Tip  4: The starting price

The best tactic is to let the seller give you the first price, or even the second price. Once the price has been announced, change the subject, talk about other things and then come back to the products in question by asking again what further reduction on the price can be made, then ask what the shop owner’s last price is.

Tip  5: Put your emotions aside

Keep this rule in mind: The seller will never sell his product at a loss. He will tell you (in vain) that his children will die of hunger if he sells to you at that price, that he will gain absolutely nothing and that you are really too hard on business… do not let yourself be influenced. Everything is a question of bluffing but you are not the only one to do so, there are two players in this game! 

Tip 6: Try to leave without buying

Negotiations have progressed well but you cannot find common ground. Try to leave politely without buying anything. It’s a safe bet that the seller will run after you to settle the purchase at your price. And if that is not the case, you may actually have reached the exact price, in which case you can come back later and get it at the last price offered.

Good luck and good shopping !!

About the author

Cyril is a French lawyer reconverted into an hotelier. He spent his time between Morocco and France for the last 18 years and currently own Riad l’Orangeraie.