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Online shopping has come of age in India. With an average population of 1.24 billion, it stands to reason that India is a valuable market for almost any kind of business venture. Combine this with the fact that a burgeoning middle-class is now well educated and can afford expensive appliances, and the consensus is that India has become a must-exploit market for any national and international company. However, as with any other country, India is not without its problems. Reaching out to the vast Indian middle-class has always been a problem, but the Internet provided an easy solution. With several large websites now offering great products online and offline through attached retail partners, you can now shop until your heart’s content and get goods delivered anywhere in India in any price range.
So How Do You Start?
Of course, it’s not as easy as it seems. The Internet is vast and finding a reliable website with affordable products can be tough. To help you out, we’ve created a short guide that will help you understand Indian online shopping and turn it to your advantage.
Compare Offline and Shop Online
Even though almost 60 percent of educated Indians check the Internet before making a purchase, it’s hard for them to ignore their local shopping chains. Local chains have been around for a long time and have already established a rock-solid reputation for reliability, security and warranties. But websites like Shoutmeloud urge you to do just that and much more. In fact, they recommend first trying out as many offline stores as possible to get an idea of retail rates. For example, if you want to buy a flat-screen TV, it’s a good idea to check as many local retailers and shopping centers as possible to understand what the ticket price is locally. Using this information, website Labnol recommends going online and comparing rates, features and deals. This may seem like too much work but in the end, consumers can spot the huge price discrepancy between online shopping and retail sales. Since online websites do not have to deal with local VAT, taxes, warehousing, premise rentals, staff salaries, local electricity and delivery bills, they can afford to give customers substantial discounts on their goods. This sort of research also gives the consumer an edge in the form of discount and deal information.
Shop during Weekdays, Festivals and the Offseason
India enjoys several major festivals all through the year and most families save up to shop during these auspicious times. Employers too, usually offer substantial employee bonuses during these times. Most retail stores lure in customers during festivals by offering deals and freebies. However, online retailers offer the same rates or better rates along with freebies. A word of caution though: It pays to do as much research as possible because unscrupulous websites and stores may hike rates just before festivals and then artificially lower them for so-called discounts. For this reason, Lifehacker recommends that you create a list of all the items that you want this year. Try to retail shop and get rates before festival times and on weekdays, and then compare them with deals and discounts offered during festival times. It’s also a good idea to shop just after major festivals for select items. For example, the Indian festival of Diwali comes somewhere around September to November. Electrical appliances are usually a hot selling item during this time, but rates go down further just before and after Diwali. Websites try to clear out old stock and existing stock for new items and they are willing to sell for cheap. You should know though that online websites usually have the best deals and the fastest shipping, delivery and installation times as compared to retail stores.
Use Every Means Possible to Get Deals
Couponing has come of age in India, and websites like mydala offer great targeted coupons like IndiaTimes Shopping Coupons, that you can download or click on directly for purchases. Some large shopping websites also promote their coupons by messages directly to mobiles or email newsletters. News website NDTV recommends using you use coupons only from reputable companies and for select reasons only. For example, websites like IndiaTimes sell big ticket items like washing machines and TVs at discounted rates, but you may have to pay for shipping and handling. Using free shipping and handling coupons can lower your purchase price considerably and result in a very good deal.
In the end, you should know that online shopping is meant to save you time and money. If you can do that with a good website, it is a smart idea to open an account with the website and shop from it for all your household needs. Not only do you save money but you also accumulate loyalty points which can turn out to be quite lucrative. Just be careful when you shop and make sure you stick to the best dealers. You should do fine.