Monday, July 18, 2011

Purchasing Gadgets in Three Words

No one can stop manufacturers and tech giants from launching one gadget to another in a span of weeks or months. As consumers, we become tempted and eventually long to have that ultimate new gadget in town. But wait! When buying a new gadget, there are three words for you – scout, haggle, and wait.

SCOUT. You have to look at all possible places you can reach in order to know the going rate of the item you want. However, it does not mean that the price of majority of sellers is the price you need to pay. There’s always gonna be that one store that will be exceptional.

Don’t stop scouting within the local market. Try the gray market. If not, go for international sellers. More often than not, they have cheaper rates. Some countries are tax-free and closer from the manufacturing country; thus, lesser cost for shipments.

If you’re not traveling anytime soon, go and ask favor from friends to look around electronic stores abroad. It will be very helpful for you to gauge if the item is cheaper in another country or here in the Philippines.

HAGGLE. It’s always a good practice to try asking for discounts from the seller. Never settle for the price given at once, especially when abroad. They usually lower down the initial price or offer you additional freebies to make it more worth it. Always remember that it’s not a waste of time to try.

Of course, do your own math. If the freebies given will not be useful to you and will just amount to an even higher price as compared to buying them separately from the standard package, do not buy it. Be confident when you ask for price points. Sellers get the vibe if you are clueless of the product you’re asking about and will tend to give you a higher price.

Whether you plan to pay the item in cash or card, ask again. Some sellers give more discounts to customers paying in cold cash. In the opposite manner, several merchants would add up 2 to 3 percent of the item’s amount if you’re going to pay via card. To reiterate, haggle once and haggle again before settling any purchase.

WAIT. Unless you crave for popularity and “power” to be the first owner of a newly launched electronic device in the country, I suggest you wait until prices go a bit lower. If you have something to use that’s similar to what you’re intending to purchase, wait a few more months till the price drops a bit.

Remember the iPad 2 experience in the Philippines? Many people thought our country won’t have first dibs on the Apple product. After buying them at Greenhills for a steep price point, what a heartache it is to know that it’ll later on be officially launched here at a much lower price.

Aside from the price, waiting can be beneficial to be able to get more consumer reviews from fellow techies and online junkies. Who knows, it might end up saving your wallet from buying a useless or non-worthy gadget.

All these tips were useful from a recent experience of purchasing a new digital camera. I’ve dug several online sources, as well as local, international, and gray markets before purchasing my new baby.

It was an effort to jump from one store to another in Singapore, Manila and Hong Kong to haggle for the best price available. Several stores carried the same standard package and price tag, but one store stood out. After much waiting and scouting, it was all worth it. I was able to get the item with several freebies at a very affordable price.

What’s your story?

This article is my twenty-second contribution to Manila Bulletin -- one of the Philippines' leading broadsheets -- published on July 11, 2011 (Monday) in the TechNews Section. You can view the PDF version here.

Photo Source: Google Images


I always buy computer parts here in the Philippines even though it's cheaper by almost 2K in some countries because replacing the item if it has issues is easier when bought from local stores. You got it right, never stop Scouting until you find the price you are willing to pay for the item.

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