It was Diwali time, and like every year, it was raining discounts. Like a lot of other Indians, I was too excited to get something nice for a decent price. I had my eyes on getting a premium television for a while and had locked down my choices to two of the best TVs Samsung and Sony have to offer. I’m talking about the 65 inch LG C8 and the Sony A8F. Locking down on these two is a story for another time, but I was looking all over the internet to get me a good deal.
The Amazons, the Flipkarts, even the TataCliqs. Nothing was spared in my hunt for the best deal. And they all looked good. For TVs that are usually listed for around three and a half lakhs, a one lakh rupees discount was absolutely terrific. But then out of sheer curiosity, I decided to check some large electronics stores just to see if I could get a better deal and save a couple of thousands extra.
And then it hit me. Most of these stores (read Reliance Digital, Croma, and Sargam) had much better offers on these televisions. No not just a couple of thousand rupees, but close to 60k. Yes, six with four zeroes after it. Not to say it was a happy surprise. What’s more, these guys were offering the same card discounts as the online folks. And the reliability of buying something locally.
Safe to say, I decided to do a bit of a research of my own and discovered that while nothing can beat online for discounts on mobiles and laptops, the large-size (relatively) category of electronics (read TV, refrigerator, or washing machines) are much cheaper in retail stores, provided these are the large chain stores (I did not get a chance to check at single brand stores and verify). It’s not like e-commerce websites are evil conglomerates ready to pounce on your money. It’s just that every platform has its own niche with its own strengths and weaknesses.
Also ran into a similar issue when looking for the DJI Spark recently. Amazon and Flipkart had it listed for around Rs 60,000. It’s around $400 in the States. Just got a friendly tip to check it out in a store in Delhi and lo, it was for Rs 40,000, eroding my trust further in my practice of relying on major e-commerce websites for pricing.
I have learned that a smart buyer is one who checks prices everywhere instead of putting all his faith in one channel (retail or online). It’s your money and it every single rupee saved counts.