5 Things to remember when opting for big festive discounts online

Bombarded by festive offers and sales online? Here’s how to spot too good to be true deals to make smart purchase decisions.

5 Things to remember when opting for big festive discounts online

The festive season is here and it is shopping time. It’s that time of the year when you see all those offers and discounts flashed all around. From apparel to electronics, and even gold and diamond jewellery, retailers are maximising the festive sentiment.

While it is great to partake in the gifting tradition, are you overspending? Are these discounts really worth it? Or are you falling victim to marketing gimmicks?

Here’s how you can distinguish between offers that really give you big savings and ones that are taking you for a ride.

Related: 10 Reasons that drive women to overspend

1. Cashbacks don’t really bring you cash

This is a very popular strategy to attract customers. Most online stores provide cash back on purchases. However, while some may give a genuine cashback, a lot of them just give it in the form of points or credits to be redeemed at the same store on your next purchase. So it is not real cash that you are getting, but the brand is rather set you up for your next purchase.

2. Brands play on FOMO

Brands use flash sales to create an artificial sense of urgency. They play on the customer’s fear of missing out and most often win. Have you gone on a shopping site and seen a timer ticking away? This is used to rush customers into making a buying decision. If you wait enough for the flash sale to get over, you will see in all probability it starts all over again. 

Related: Use these credit cards to shop big this festive season 

3. Caveats on discounts

Brands advertise discounts in bold letters. What they do not advertise are the caveats. You have to click on their policies to learn more, and this is something that most customers rarely do. The offer may say 10% discount, but the fine print will say something else. For example, say it is only applicable for a minimum purchase of Rs. 2,000 and is capped at Rs. 1,000. So 10% on the latest iPhone will not get you 10% off on the actual price, but just a Rs. 1000 discount. 

4. Inflated and then slashed prices

This is quite a sleazy move and reputed brands stay away from it. However, most small brands will inflate the original prices of products and then offer heavy discounts from 50% to 80%. So a deal with an original price of Rs. 2,000 with 80% discount will be available for Rs .400. This may attract a lot of customers, but it could be a substandard product easily available for Rs. 400 or lesser throughout the year. 

Related: Love Shopping? Here are 5 credit cards tailored for women shoppers 

5. No cost EMI trap

EMIs are a great financial tool that can help middle class and lower-income groups upgrade their lifestyle. By boosting their purchasing power, brands up their sales. These brands provide no cost EMIs to entice customers to make big purchases such as TVs, furniture, mobiles, laptops and more. However, these no-cost EMIs often come with hidden charges such as processing fees. Even if there is no interest fee on paper, it could be built into the cost of the product. Similarly, there may be no discount at all. Hence it is always important to read everything carefully before you make the purchase. 

Related: How to calculate your loan EMI easily 

So while you are on your shopping spree, keep an eye out for real deals and stay away from shams. Create a shopping budget and stick to it. Buy things you need and avoid ‘good to have’ products. Last but not least, there's always a way to set up a shopping budget this festive season. Read this.

Happy shopping!

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