We, Indians, are very bargain friendly and always want to go for the least possible price, even if it means saving a few hundred rupees by going out and shopping instead of shopping online. After clothes, one of the most often bought or as I say it ‘Upgraded’ product is our very own Mobile phone. We tend to keep up with the latest and the greatest in mobile space either to look cool or brag about our capabilities or simply because your current phone isn’t able to keep up to your expectations. What ever the reason may be! If you are a person who often changes his phone or is always buying some electronic stuff or other, then you have come to the right place.
I am just going to share how to effectively use the various online tools and shopping sites available to get the best possible price for anything that you are planning to buy. For illustration purpose I am going to take the example of mobile phones but it can be used widely to many of products (specifically Electronics)
Do you exactly know what you want to buy? or You need to know what exactly to buy?
The difference is as simple as whether you want to buy a Samsung Galaxy S3 I9300 (32GB) White or a smart phone. In this part we normally go with people’s suggestions, various reviews and other notional stuff that seems deemed fit. Usually you will go with the popular choices within your budget.
The problem with above result is that they wont show all the options available and plus most of the links will have same suggestions. Another brilliant way to start searching to know exactly what to buy is Flipkart.com, not because it’s the biggest and all that blah blah!! but simply because they have the most awesome product filters available than any of its competitors. Check this example for mobile phones
By using Flipkart’s search filters you can easily find the exact smart phone which will fulfill all your needs. If you already knew what exactly to buy then the next part would be very interesting for you.
How to get the cheapest price for electronics you want to buy?
The first obvious place everyone looks at is Flipkart and then gradually starts gliding through other E-commerce sites like Tradus.in, snapdeal.com, yebhi.com, etc. also various price comparison sites as well. However, I have found this new start-up called bearshop.in, wherein you will not only come to know about the lowest online price of a particular product from 20+ online shops but also will be able see their price moments for the past 31days. It’s an intelligent search engine, which soon will start predicting when the online stores will lower the price of a product; as per its founder Mr. Puneet Sharma. An example of this price moment which recently happened with me was with Samsung S3-16GB which was quoted as Rs. 28,900/- a day before Valentines Day, by mid-afternoon of the Valentines Day its price was increased to Rs.29,200/- and finally by that night it was Rs. 29,500/-. Every store does this based on the number of people viewing that product and buying it. So use this website and you will get a birds-eye view of the product for online shopping. Most of the online shops follow Flipkart’s lead in increasing or decreasing their prices, you will understand this once you visit bearshop.in.
For offline prices we have always been going around in our locality and asking the mobile shops for their prices also we travel to famous places like Heera Panna & Alfa Market in Mumbai, National Market in Bangalore and Khan Market in Delhi. However, people from Delhi and Mumbai are in for some luck. A start-up called pricebaba.com lets you search the prices of electronics (now only smart phones) online for offline retail stores. you just have to type in your product name and it will list the lowest price along with the list of stores selling that item at that price. Definitely saves a lot of hassle and travel time. Most of the times the offline prices are cheaper than the online store’s prices. However, the financing options (more below) are not present or are costlier taking them on-par with online prices however, you get the product instantly and if you have that much cash then nothing like it.
Why am I giving special treatment to ebay? Well simply because most of the time ebay’s prices will turnout to be the lowest than any other store but like always people fail to read the fine prints. As you might be aware, ebay.in is just a platform for sellers to sell products online, the seller, unlike in other online shops, is not ebay itself. Also there are used products listed on the site for sale and many a times the product comes with a dealer’s warranty and not the manufacturer’s warranty, difference being if anything goes wrong you will have to send the product back to the seller and not the authorized service center in your city.
Most of the sellers also specify that the buyer will be liable for paying the octroi (which can be as high as 6%, if applicable) so you guys will have to add that extra percentage in the last price to take the deliver of the product. However, there is also a catch point in all this. Ebay enables you to directly contact the seller for asking specific questions about the product being sold, if the location of the seller is same as your city than make a point to ask the seller whether if you directly buy the product from him then can it be any cheaper than the listed price. Many sellers will happily agree as it enables them to do-away with the transaction charges they have to pay to ebay thus helping you to get a better price (I bought a Galaxy S2-I9100-16GB-Black for Rs.25,600/- in May 2012, when everywhere else it was listed for Rs. 27,900/- via directly contacting the seller).
If you decided to finally buy that product, after a lot of research, online then you should be familiar with something known was discount coupons or codes. They are codes which help you gain some extra discount on the product, ones you use the code the price is reduced by some percentage or a flat fixed amount. Flipkart doesn’t give away much coupons on other sites, all the details about its ongoing discounts and schemes are well displayed on their website. However, it doesn’t hurt to search on the following sites for discount codes/coupons so make it a little lighter on your pocket:
- Coupon Dunia
- Discount Coupons
- Coupon Bazaar
- Couponz Guru
- Coupons India
- Fashion Discount Coupons
- Free Coupon
- Free Kaa Maal
This is the most important aspect of every purchase we make, so what are the finance options that are available to us? Almost every site provides EMI options for at least 3 months for free, and then on there is some processing charge for 6/9/12 months EMIs. The processing fees charged by these online stores is seldom reversible. Some of them have standard rates for EMIs whereas some charge percentage of the transaction value which at times becomes costlier option. One of the biggest downside of EMIs is that it is available only for Credit Card holders and that too of HDFC, ICICI, CITI and at max some others like SBI, Kotak, Standard Chartered, but the former three will always be there. For brick and mortar stores, most of them give EMIs with only HDFC credit card however, its not written in stone. At times it has been noticed that normal stores have better EMI options than many of the online stores.
Now what about people without credit cards and still want EMI options? Yes! There is a solution for them too. Bajaj Finserv provides you with an EMI card which carries pre-approved loan amount for consumer durables in their authorized stores. Most of the retail electronic chains like Croma, Vijay Sales, etc all are covered under by Bajaj Finserv. Check more about it here.
What to do with your old/used phones or eletronics?
All the above steps or guidelines can be used while buy anything online and more specifically anything in electronics. However one very important point that remains, about mobile phones, is that what to do with your old phones? If you buy your new phone from your local retailer than he gives you an option to buy-back your old phone, online sites cannot do this., the buy-back value of the phone is quite low as compared to what you could usually get by selling it on self-advertising websites like quikr.com or olx.com; but with selling online using advertisements you will have to wait for a buyer to contact you and make the sale. If you have time you can do that and if you don’t then we usually settle for the local retailer’s price. Many a times we don’t even know what would be the fair value for the used phone and take the retailer’s words as golden.
All this brings me to my third and the last online start-up called Project Bazinga! (which is a code name and they haven’t officially launched the service yet), they deal in used mobile’s buy-back as well trade-ins, wherein you can compare the best prices for your used phones and trade-in directly by paying only the surplus or just sell the used phone. The start-up takes care of collecting the old phone and delivering the new one at the convenience of your home or office. To get updates about the launch of this start-up check out their launch page here.
Finally to close, the above information has been gathered while I was personally shopping for my phone, laptop, HDDs and other related stuff. I am not related to any of the above mentioned start-ups except Project Bazinga! Hope you find my way useful, insightful and help you get the best product that suits you and at the lowest possible price. Do let me know your shopping experiences with your wonderful comments and share this with anyone who wants to shop online happily ever after.
The article was originally written by me here.