How To Get The Best Deal While Shopping Online In India

By: Rajat Gaur
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Holiday season has already started and online shopping websites like Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal seem to be in no mood to leave any stone unturned to maximise their sales this festive season. Flipkart for example, came up with massive discounts on its Big Billion Day sale on October 6. It offered some of the products like Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 and Nokia Lumia phones at 90% discount. It even sold many items for just Re. 1. Flipkart however received a lot of criticism both from customers as well as from the manufacturers. Amazon India is also running a Diwali Damaka week on its website, while Snapdeal is trying to woo the customers by offering rock bottom prices as a part of its Diwali Bumper Sale. In fact, most of these shopping websites are even willing to bear a temporary loss as they are concentrating on getting as many people in India to shop online as possible.
This trend is obviously good for you as a consumer, but since the price of a product vary a lot on different websites and also fluctuates with time, it becomes very important to keep track of prices on different websites if you want to strike the best deal possible. Moreover, some websites don’t offer discounts directly but you can use coupons to get the discounts or they offer a cashback after you make a purchase. In this post I’m sharing a few tips that’ll help you to grab the best deal for any product you may want to buy.

1. Don’t Ignore Small Players

Veteran players like Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal, no doubt offer very good discounts, but sometimes small players like Paytm and Jabong offer even better deals. For example, Paytm often runs a cashback scheme under which you don’t get a direct discount but a cashback in the Paytm Cash Wallet associated with your Paytm account. Though you can not transfer this amount to your bank account, but you can use Paytm cash for paying for mobile recharges, bill payments and for future purchases on Paytm. Paytm cash can also be used on some other shopping websites like Homeshop18, Naaptol and BookMyShow. Many times I find the effective price of many products on Paytm to be the lowest on the internet. So its always a good idea to check Paytm (and other small players) for cashback offers.

2. Search For Coupons

Most of the shopping websites in India use the coupon system. You can enter a coupon code to get a product at a discounted price. You can find the coupons on the website itself or you can search for them on some coupon aggregating sites like coupondunia.in, mycouponcodesindia.com, vouchercloud.co.in and couponraja.in. Sometimes just googling for the coupon codes for a particular site also works. Besides, you can also get coupons from mobile recharge and bill payment websites like Paytm and Freecharge. These are actually more popular as mobile apps rather than websites. On these websites (or apps), you can grab a coupon while you recharge your mobile or make a bill payment. Here you get both free as well as paid coupons. Paid coupons obviously offer more benefits. I’m personally a big fan of getting coupons from Paytm or Freecharge.

3. Use Comparison Tools

As I mentioned earlier, prices on different shopping websites vary a lot. But it might be tedious to check the price of a product on every single shopping website out there. To help you out, there are some websites which do just that for you. MySmartPrice and BuyHatke are two very good price comparison sites. BuyHatke even offers a browser extension called Compare Hatke (for Google Chrome and Firefox) for comparing and tracking price of an item on different shopping websites. When you open a product page on any of the supported shopping sites (it supports most of the Indian shopping sites), it shows a chart that tells you how the price of that product fluctuates with time. It also lets you know if the product is available on some other website at a more affordable price. I’m personally a big fan of this extension.

4. Use Price Trackers

The BuyHatke browser extension that I just talked about is itself a very good price tracking tool. It not only shows the variation of the price of a product with time, it also lets you know if its the best time buy a particular product or you should wait for sometime to get the best price. Tech blogger Amit Agarwal has also developed a price tracking tool using Google Spreadsheets. Using his price tracking tool, you can get email alerts whenever the price of something in your watchlist changes. You can check out this post on his Digital Inspiration (labnol) blog.

5. Manually Hunt For The Best Deal

Though the above mentioned price tracking and comparison methods work most of the times, sometimes these tools might not let you know about the best deal that you can get online for a particular product. This may be because the database of the tool that you are using is not up to date or the website that is offering the best deal is not supported by the tracking tool. So in such scenarios, it is a good idea to check the price of a product on different websites manually. Though it might be a bit tedious job to do, but it can definitely save your hard earned money.

6. Use Mobile Apps

Some shopping websites like Flipkart and Snapdeal, in order to promote their mobile app, are offering some extra benefits when you shop using their mobile apps. For example Flipkart is running an app lucky draw and Snapdeal is providing Rs. 50 cashback (in form of SD cash which can be used only on Snapdeal) for every purchase of Rs. 1000 or above that you make using the Snapdeal mobile app. So if you have a smartphone (or even a tablet), its a good idea to shop from the app instead of the website itself.

7. Earn Cashback

Websites like GoPaisa.com and CashKaro.com give you cashback if you make a purchase from a website using their special link. What happens here is that, when you make a purchase using their link, the shopping website provides them a commission (much like affiliate marketing) and these cashback sites transfer a part of that commission to you (the remaining part is obviously their profit). Once you have earned a certain amount of cashback, you can either transfer it to your bank account (or credit card account) or use it for mobile recharges or bill payments (or for some other service that the site offers).

8. Use Plastic Money

Some of the banks in India often run a cashback scheme in partnership with some shopping websites. Under such schemes you receive a certain amount of cashback after you make a purchase using the bank’s credit/debit card. State Bank Of India for example, recently tied up with Flipkart to offer 10% cashback on many product categories. In my experience, State bank Of India (SBI), ICICI Bank, HSBC Bank, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank most commonly run these kind of cashback schemes. So next time you shop online, instead of choosing Cash On Delivery (COD) as the payment option, it might be a better idea to make the payment in advance using your credit/debit card. Make sure to check with the shopping website if there is a bank cashback scheme available for the product you want to buy. Usually, the product page on the shopping website will have the information about such a scheme.

So these were all the online shopping tips that I wanted to share with you. I hope you get the best deals while shopping online this holiday season. Happy Online Shopping!

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