Shop smarter than your neighbour

Top 10 techniques to get the best prices when you shop online in India

Shop smarter than your neighbour

Now more and more people shop online due to obvious advantages of online shopping being very convenient and all the steps from research till ordering, can be done from the comfort of our homes. This has also  opened up a pandora of price saving opportunities allowing shoppers to save a lot of money by using various techniques including comparing prices, finding coupons, setting price alerts etc. Some tech savvy shoppers browse the store in incognito mode or clear the browser cookies to save money. However there are so many other price saving techniques you can use to shop smarter than your neighbour. We've created a list of top ten ways to save money every time you buy online in India.

1. Do not rush into shopping

One of the biggest mistakes we make is to get excited about something and buy it in haste even if we don't need it, particularly clothes and electronics. This is so prominent that more than half of online fashion purchases in India are bought this way. This impulse buying behaviour can also be seen in packaged foods and other consumer good due to discounts on bulk buying. Our analysis shows that by controlling the impulse to buy and by doing proper research, shoppers can save at least 15% on their annual online shopping cost. Few points to remember to be a smart shopper are that don't fall into the trap of buying more than what's necessary, most of the offers or promotions that we see today, will come back in future. So don't block your money today and hoard up on stock that you may not need or use ever. The lesson we need to learn is that the money we save in bulk shopping, often gets outstripped by the amount we lose in wastage.

2. Buy on specific days

Well, it sounds surprising, but based on the day of the week you buy things online, you could save or spend more money. As per our data insights, shoppers save more when buying flight tickets on Sunday, instead of buying them on a Monday. Also, as per our data, shoppers tend to get better deals on different product categories on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays instead of the weekend where shoppers might have more free time to browse products and make purchases. For example, shoppers can save on average 18% on games when they buy it on Monday instead of Friday. Similarly, sunglasses are almost 17% cheaper when bought on Monday compared to Saturday. So, check for the best days to buy the products you want and save money.

3. Sign up for price alerts and newsletters

With the rapidly expanding consumer base but rising competition, online retailers are vivaciously giving out discount offers and incentives to get you on their mailing list. For example, on Myntra you get 15% off on your first order purchase when you sign up to their newsletter, whereas on many other stores the discount is 10% off on your next purchase. And also, even if a retailer does not offer immediate discount on newsletter signup, it's a good way to know about their latest offers, deals and events. For example, Pepperfry has special offers for Ganesh Chathurthi, Holi, Rakhi, Diwali etc. If you've signed up to their newsletter, you'll be the first one to know about these special occasion deals. Finally, if you're worried about being inundated with hundreds of emails from different retailers, you can create a separate email id for your shopping spree.

4. Follow brands and influencers

In the pre Facebook, Twitter or Insta era, it was difficult for people to influence masses with their brand choices. They could only influence their close family and friends. However, the social media channels have given wings to everyone's voice. Now anyone can talk about any brand and brands have little control over what is being said about them or their products. As a result, most brands will give exclusive deals and coupons for their audience to try their brand. For example, many Youtubers and Instagrammers will get exclusive coupon for promoting fashion brands. Further, many online stores also share their latest deals and coupons with their connections on social media channels. So stay tuned to these networks to save money. In fact social media channels and influencers can be the first steps in finding coupons online.

5. Abandon cart and wait

This is one of the most common price saving hacks in the west which is becoming popular in India too. Often, online retailers will show an instant saving if you show the intention of abandoning the cart. So, it might be worth trying to abandon your cart every time you shop online. In some cases, however, retailer may not show an instant coupon, but may send you an email with a price saving. So you could wait for a day or two to receive a special discount code via email or sms. So try to control the urge of completing the purchase when you don't see any coupon in first two stages. It may not happen in all cases with all retailers, but it might be worth trying it out, as little delay could save you money.

6. Buy electronics when new model is released

Bargain hunters everywhere swears by this technique of buying the older version of electronics after a new version is announced. If you are not looking for the latest features or tiniest modifications, then buying an older version of the electronics could be a better deal. This way you get the most for your money but still get the almost latest device. It is somewhat similar to buying running shoes. Brands like Nike may enhance some of the features of their running shoes, but most of the everyday runners buy the previous shoe model to save money. Also, most of the electronics retailers talk about their plans of releasing new models beforehand. For example, in case of laptops, Apple, Dell and HP generally issue the information about new model release, so you can check this information before buying the laptop.

7. Do search for a coupon

As a smart shopper, searching for coupons maybe a better strategy than getting tempted by promotions in store's newsletters. Most of the Indian online shops issue wide variety of coupons to entice shoppers. Finding these coupons and vouchers might give you better savings. You could get latest coupons from coupon aggregator sites like Shopper.in. However, sometimes the experience can be frustrating as due to expired or non working coupons, you might have to try several coupons before finding the one that will work for specific items in your cart. The other simpler way of finding coupons could be to download browser extensions that automatically apply the best value coupon at the checkout.

8. Think outside Amazon and Flipkart

When we think of online shopping, we immediately think mainly about the biggies - Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal etc. However, there are more than 10,000 online sites pan India. Marketplaces are a great place to buy most of the things in one place, but perhaps they don't offer the best prices to shoppers. Merchants pay commission to sell on marketplaces and that cost is recovered from us, the shoppers. But the great news is, we can order most of our essential and non essential items directly from the independent online stores at a cheaper rate. So next time you are thinking of buying your favourite watch, try buying it from the seller directly and get out of the marketplace syndrome.

9. Use price comparison

Comparing prices between different products and different merchants is a great way to save that extra dime. Google shopping is a great price comparison tool to compare price of a product. Simply search for the product you wish to buy on Google, and Google will find different merchants that sell it with selling price mentioned. So, at a glance you know the best price you could get online for that product.

Further, you can also use internet or different price comparison sites to find better prices. You could also ask for price match from the seller if you find a cheaper price elsewhere. Even if you are shopping from brick and mortar store and you find a better price online, most physical stores will price match for you. In some cases, retailers may price match even after you've bought the product within certain time frame (usually 30 days). So if you bought an electronic item, which became Rs 1,000 less, some stores may refund you that Rs 1,000. So worth contacting the seller in such cases. Lastly, you could also sign up for price drop alerts. So if you are not in a hurry to buy that camera, sign up for the price alerts and get instantly notified when the price for camera drops. This way you can save money when you are not shopping in a rush.

10. Look for the product you need to buy with specs, details, alternatives, etc.

This is one of the best ways to save money for a lot of everyday products we use. Instead of spending extra for that premium brand, you could simply look for the specs and details and find cheaper alternatives. In most cases, you could swap to a cheaper brand for an expensive brand, yet get the same benefits. Finding product alternatives can save you as high as 70% in some cases.

Some of the steps mentioned above are not applicable for all stores and products. However, these will work with most retailers. Happy shopping.