Who likes to get a call on a Sunday, but it was from a friend, with a news that entire clan was waiting for. Finally somebody liked him…. I mean his marriage got fixed. And as usual it was my turn now to help him in arrangements. And since I know only one kind of work i.e. shopping so I took up the responsibility of shopping with him. (just joking, he had no other choice) And as a loyal net-Indian I thought to try through internet. Also I was receiving a lot of mails from few merchandised portals offering inaugural discount voucher, birthday coupon, mother’s day offers, deal of the week, deals from Caribbean, midnight sale and other similar stuff. After going through a few big sites, my first question to myself was: how can you call it a SALE, if you have discount or offer running for 365 days a year? Nearly all shopping sites opened with a sale banner.
Sale or Sell
Now these words like coupon, deals, sale and discount have a high significant impact when we are going to buy anything online. And events like marriage or festival or household requirement of stuffs like a birthday gift, grocery items, electronics, watches, books, magazines and an endless list of items force us to get something in price effective way. Then there are few who only buy when there is a SALE tag and discount. Many wait by adding there favorite merchandise in shopping carts and moment the mail or sms hits a discount coupon the cart goes empty and waiting time starts as merchandise goes on the way or en route to the customer.
So words like coupons, online sale and deals have become an important part of our life as online shopping trend is on rise. Then why not we go deep into it and have a better understanding of it. In practical a coupon is a discount code which can be exchanged or availed for a financial discount at the time of purchasing a product. These coupons are issued by the manufacturers or retailer to be used by retail stores as a part of sales promotion. For the better approach these are issued widely by mails, through newspapers & magazines, by websites, via phone through sms, shopping malls and directly from the retailers. Basic idea is to enable retailers to offer a lower price only to those consumers who otherwise go elsewhere.
In present days these coupons/deals are the easiest and smartest way to step up your ways to big saving. It makes you a frugal buyer. (really?) What if you get an extra 1 kg sugar with your grocery purchase? Or Rs 200 discount on your next saving of Rs 2000? So if you use these promotions in a tactical manner you might go home with bag of savings every time you visit the store. Few years ago these coupons were available only through print media only through distribution of flyers or by post. Remember the Reader’s Digest exclusive offers during our childhood? But today we just need to go online and find printable and redeemable coupons. Apart from the dedicated websites, even banks have started sending these coupons to their customer. (check stationary that arrives with credit card statement) Generally this is done under tie up with a retailer. In my view looking at the economic downturn there is no harm in becoming frugal but we don’t have to go crazy with this. As we know that coupons have a very interesting way of popping on the internet, we have few dedicated couponing sites and many blogs (like snapdeal, ebay, junglee or groupon). These sites update users on what is the latest on web coupons offers.
So, coupons are good, but do they have a negative side? Yes they do have negative implications and depends on how they are used. And the basic question is do coupons really save money?
Do Coupons really save money for us?
There are no freebies in economics. A vendor giving you a discount in an open market is either playing cost card, i.e. he is able to make/arrange the good or service in low cost and hence the benefit is passed on to the consumer or the vendor is escalating the price and then attaching a discount to give an impression that product or service has gone cheap. The best to find out is to check price at different places.
Always cross check the price at two or more portals or at physical market. If you observe that the price has major variation at two places the discount/sale/coupon is bogus. The portals save lot on cost as they have limited expenses. Generally goods are couriered at the expense of the buyer hence the margin is wide. So it really depends on the seller to pass on the discount. So if through a coupon or discount you are getting something lower than market cost, saving you valuable time and driving, it makes a good point to buy online.
Just a few checks before you plunge into this discount world:
1) Resist temptation to buy what you don’t need and you have not planned.
The vendor moment you place your first order would try to glue you on his portal by sending you catalog, updates, redeemable points and gift vouchers for your next purchase. These discount vouchers have limited expiry date. Let them expire and do not fall into trap if you do not need a new thing. These will continue forever and you will get enough opportunities.
2) Discounts/coupons make us do want we don’t want.
You want to buy a Videocon AC but coupon will make you buy from Haier. You want to celebrate birthday at home, but coupons will make you venture a new restaurant. A discipline in expenses is required while dealing in such situations.
3) Coupons and discount also lead us to bulk buying.
Buy 3 get 5 offers will make your wardrobe suffer with stock as you end up buying 5 shirts when you wanted one. Than just select five you will rush and will include which you liked less or change in fashion and then chances are that you will not wear them in future. So avoid over stocking.
4) Check the fine prints of the coupon and the merchandise.
Merchandise can be cheap if it is near its expiry date or there is change in model or trend. A restaurant coupon may have an offer on week days only or only on snacks and drinks will be on card rate. These terms condition are part of fine print and do care to read and benefit from them.
5) Look for quality vendors or merchandise.
The online place is filled with cheap goods with no warranties and full of hazards. These goods can be harmful to health and society. Hence do not be lured to collect shiny plastics, fake antiques, toys made by harmful material, health equipment with no approvals and similar things. Coupons will make you do “let’s try once”. But be rational.
Online is a new trend in shopping and is really gripping. So you have to be equally ready to face and counter the tactics of sales. And no doubt by being extra cautious you will benefit from this trend also. Do share your thoughts and experience on this subject – I know you are much more experienced than me in this case. 🙂