- October 9, 2017
- Category: Money Management
Diwali, the festival of lights, is considered as the prime shopping season in India. The online shopping mania with profusion of choices and the hefty discounts offered by e-commerce giants have gripped the average Indian. The festive sale offers of Flipkart, Amazon have already started. But do you actually save money on them? It is possible that you may end up buying a product at a higher price. Also, chances are that you will buy a product not required, but have still bought it because there was a discount available or it looked interesting. Here are a few tips to shop prudently online and actually save money.
- Price Comparison: The product that you wish to buy may have different prices on different e-commerce websites. So, it is prudent to first compare prices and discount offers online on a few e-commerce sites where you are comfortable shopping. Another alternative is to use apps which provide a ready price comparison for products of various e-commerce companies. It can save you a lot of time from manually checking every site. While comparing between sites, also check the delivery date, refund policy, payment options and contact information. Further, not all products offered online are cheaper than the physical stores in the neighbourhood. For instance, when you are buying an electronic item like a washing machine, TV, etc., enquire about the prices in the stores around your vicinity and compare with online prices. You may be surprised to discover a better bargain in your store close to home.
- Track prices smartly: Have you ever noticed price variations in the same products on an online shopping portal? You might have experienced that the product you are tracking becomes expensive and then prices drop immediately after the purchase. This is because your preferences get captured in a recommender system of the shopping website where you open the same page daily to track the product price. Almost every product or service you buy online is subject to dynamic pricing. Retailers use complex algorithms to study consumer preferences and behaviour, demand & supply, delivery time, market conditions (festive, off season), competitors prices, etc. It is believed that some retailers adopt discriminatory pricing tactics based on your location, browser history and operating system. For instance, if you are checking a product from your latest Iphone, you may end up paying more than an individual using an old desktop. So, while shopping online, you must always open the window in incognito mode or private window. It can prevent your browsing from getting captured and avoid showing high prices as per the recommended system. Also, if you are plan to buy a product above a certain limit, say, Rs.5,000, add the product in the cart and let it remain there. Chances are when you buy the item after it stays in the cart for long, you can get it at a reduced price.
- Check refund policy: It is important to read the refund policy carefully before buying a product. If you discover that the price of a product has fallen immediately after you placed an order, talk to the support staff and bargain for a refund of the difference. While this would depend on company policy, it is possible that you could receive one. Another alternative is you can return the product within the stipulated time and place a new order at a lower price.
- Use coupons: There are many e-commerce sites which provide coupon offers. When shopping online, search for coupon codes to get an extra discount. For instance, when you are shopping from Amazon, you can use the Amazon discount coupon to get a discount on the final bill. You can also visit exclusive coupon sites where you can get discount coupons for e-commerce sites like Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, etc. The key thing is such coupons need to be utilised within a limited time period otherwise they expire or turn invalid. If you have planned your purchases well in advance, discount coupons can be very useful to save your hard-earned money.
- Use e-wallets for payment: Many e-commerce companies offer their own e-wallet services to facilitate easy payment. For instance, Flipkart offers PhonePe wallet services, while Amazon has AmazonPay wallet. Using the wallet services of the e-commerce giants can entitle you to avail extra discounts and cashbacks.
It is not just about buying a product at a discount but also buying the right product, one that you will surely make optimum use of. It is very easy to get distracted by other product ads on the sites and then you are spoilt for choices. You would not want to regret your purchases which later on you realise were not required. Hence, prepare a list in advance for Diwali and stick to the list. If you are buying a product about which you do not have adequate information (like an electronic item), research first. Check public reviews on the product page. Also, consult friends if they have bought a similar product online. At the end of the day, every penny saved is penny earned. Hope the above valuable tips help you in saving money. Happy Diwali and Happy SMART Shopping this festive season!