When buying goods online are we buying genuine bargains or being suckered in by a marketers ploy?
Buying online is a big saver over traditional shops as retailers save on overheads of stores and staff and can bring to the consumer brand goods at dramatic savings.
Larger online suppliers with massive buying power can often beat the small firm on price as well as delivery and service making the end buyer well pleased.
Buying brand name products for sure offers massive discounts but buyers need to be sure they deal with established and reputable suppliers - a 75% saving means nothing if the goods never arrive.
Presenting discounts can be offered in several ways and not all are as genuine as they may seem
20% off today only (tomorrow it may be 30% off!!)
50% off (for all orders over 100 USD - in very small print)
Buy 1 get 1 free ( is 50% off but sounds a better deal )
Buy 2 get 1 free (33% discount but FREE is a strong attraction)
Offer closes xxxxx (only to be replaced by another deal, or a later date)
Massive clearout sale ( prices are not reduced much, or are end of line, damaged, returns etc)
Buying by auction has many attractions too where second hand goods are resold on a bidding system when the highest bid wins. Since goods are often being sold by private advertisers quality and delivery must be suspect unless the seller has a high feedback rating which takes time to build.
Many online retailers use a DROP SHIP method of supply, in that they carry no stock themselves but pass on orders to the actual supplier and stock holder who ships the goods direct to the buyer. Any complaint may be hard to pin down and the buck may be passed from seller to supplier - read the terms of business for all suppliers whom you have never dealt with before.
In recent times the ultimate in online savings are to offer goods using a swap or trade system especially for used items. Under this system you swap YOUR surplus item with another of the sites members who wants what you have and they in turn have what you WANT. Until the site has a large stock of offers matching needs with wants may be a problem.
An alternative proving popular is trading for points - you set your item for a number of points and earn a credit for a trade with another of the sites members. Then later you can SPEND your points on "buying" something you want - bonus points can also be earned by referring members to the system or you can "buy" points. All it costs buyers is postage so the buyer gets goods as such for free. "Sellers" need to take the plunge with offering goods as such for free until they build up a credit points balance they can then spend.
In the end saving is no saving at all you are usually SPENDING MONEY in one way or another - even a 85% costs you 15% - so make sure you buy only what you need, rather than just because it was cheap, and on an "unrepeatable deal".
Maurice S Clarke is founder of the wearable goods trading web site http://www.whatweusedtowear.com and lives in Rugby, UK. This article may be freely republished provided it remains intact.