The wise old Witchdoctor knows all the tricks and techniques to get you the best deals when it’s time to buy. PAT PILCHER with the retail wisdom 101.
Canny buyers know that shopping around or haggling for the price of a big-ticket consumer electronics item can save them a surprising amount of money. But what about timing? Can a well-timed purchase also save you money? If so, what are the best times to buy?
Pro Tips Before Shopping
It turns out that a well-timed purchase can indeed save you money. Still, before planning a purchase, you should consider the following tips. They may make your shopping experience just that little more bearable.
* Go online and do your homework:
– Find the best deal for the gadget you’re after.
– Read product reviews and buyers guides on sites such as Witchdoctor. These can help you navigate arcane specifications so you get the good oil on the gadget you want.
– Price comparison sites such as PriceSpy will also help you find the best deal with minimal shoe leather wear and tear.
* Prepare to queue:
Chances are that you’re not going to be the only shopper who knows when there are bargains to be had. If getting that gadget means trudging down to the store, get ready to stand in line with (and possibly wrestle with) other bargain hunters.
* Be quick, be canny:
For popular sale items, some simple tricks can help you to beat other shoppers to the deal.
Assuming the retailer is willing, get the widget you’re after put aside ahead of a sale so you can purchase it at its sale price. Doing so can save you from being stuck in queues and dealing with other shoppers.
Try your luck phoning ahead and see if the retailer will hold the gadget for you (offering to put a deposit on it using a credit card over the phone may help too)
* Be shrewd:
Some online shoppers have also been known to add the item they’re after to their carts ahead of time.
Others also swear by setting the alarm for midnight when deals often go live. Many Online sales don’t last terribly long and sharp prices are usually limited to a small number of items.
* Subscribe to retailer newsletters:
Doing this can lead to email tip-offs of sales.
Many local retailers operate great e-newsletters. Being NZ based also means that they’re bound by the unsolicited electronic messaging act. This means if you should ever choose to unsubscribe from their newsletter, they are legally required to unsubscribe you.
* Should you Purchase locally or overseas?
This is a perennial question asked by many. There are pros and cons to both options.
Purchasing in NZ means paying more, but you’re covered by New Zealand consumer protection laws such as the Consumer Guarantees act.
Many big-ticket items may be more affordable when bought overseas and shipped. While your purchase is not covered by NZ’s consumer laws, many big-ticket items come with international warranties. Just beware that few guarantees extend beyond 12 months. Always check on the state of warranties before purchasing.
* When, When, When?
Timing a purchase to save money can work wonders on your wallet. Still, it also raises the age-old chestnut of, “Shouldn’t I just wait until X specification becomes available?”. This is a source of endless debate on many an online forum, and the truth is that there is no single right or wrong answer to this question.
If you are hanging out for a specific feature or specification and are confident that it’ll be in the latest model when it launches, then waiting for it makes good sense. Holding off on a purchase simply because the next model will be “better” could see you trapped in an endless cycle of waiting and not getting your paws on that shiny gadget.
So, what times are best when it comes to buying?
There are several dates on the calendar that almost guarantee you’ll get a good deal when buying big-ticket items. These include:
* Black Friday
This is a recent phenomenon on the New Zealand retail scene. It was imported from the US and is the name used for the Friday following Thanksgiving in the USA.
It happens on the fourth Thursday of November. It has long been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the US (since 1952!).
A growing number of Kiwi retailers are pushing Black Friday sales to offer discounts on a wide range of goods to entice shoppers into their stores.
* Cyber Monday:
Like Black Friday, Cyber Monday is a US marketing term used for the Monday after Thanksgiving in the United States. It was created by retailers to drive sales online back in November 2005. For online shoppers, Cyber Monday is the business.
Given the growing popularity of Cyber Monday, we at Witchdoctor recommend that you figure out the exact hour that any Cyber Monday deals go live. That way you’re less likely to miss out.
* Amazon Prime Day:
For a growing number of people shopping online, Amazon is their go-to retailer. Because of this, it’s a complete no-brainer that Amazon Prime Day is the way to go. Amazon prime day is when Amazon delivers sharp deals over a 36-hour timeframe.
Amazon Prime Day typically takes place in mid-July and is only open to Amazon Prime subscribers.
* Launch Cycles:
Figuring out the product launch cycle for the gadget you’re looking at can also help save your hard-earned cash.
For instance, television manufacturers typically announce new TV models at trade shows such CES in early January.
In New Zealand, this usually translates into mid-year launches. These new cutting-edge TV models can be costly, but the good news is that the previous year’s models are often cleared a month or two beforehand at a discounted rate by retailers seeking to free up shelf space for the newer models when they launch.
While this might not work for those that must have the latest model, last year’s models are often heavily discounted as retailers offload older inventory.
* Seasonal Sales:
Perhaps the most significant annual sale in New Zealand is on Boxing Day. That said, caveats do apply. Many retailers hold off on discounting big-ticket items on Boxing Day to take advantage of the cash/Xmas gift vouchers burning holes in holiday shoppers’ pockets.
Asking a friendly salesperson before Xmas if the gadget you’re considering will be discounted as part of a Boxing Day sale can pay big dividends.
Also, in the weeks after Christmas, canny shoppers can find “open box” deals – gadgets people have returned after the holidays, which are inevitably steeply discounted.