As festivals and holidays approach, online retailers scream about the special sales and discount packages they are offering. While on one hand, online shopping has made things easier to access for the customer, it has also been encouraging them to fall easily for such temptations.
There are times when one is taken for a ride while availing such offers like Krithi Poovamma, a banker. She says, “I remember ordering a pair of boots and getting a pair of slippers instead. And despite reminders, I still haven’t got any clarification on this,” she says.
Krithi adds that when you see an array of interesting garments and other items at a store, you feel the urge to spend on them if they are available at a discounted rate.
More often, the customer ends up buying lots more than he or she would need. “I remember ‘just looking’ through a site when I saw the a sale of ‘kurtas’ and tops. Before I knew it, I had fallen for the ‘Buy 1 Get 2 Free' offer. And that wasn’t all,” says Anisha R, an IT professional.
She got a coupon of Rs 500 off on more selective purchases which had to be purchased before midnight that day. “I fell for that too,” she adds.
Anisha points out that these seasonal sales come right in time when employees get their annual bonuses or seasonal bonuses. “And before one knows it, they would have spent much more than the extra money earned,” she adds.
Smitha Bhatkal, an administrator (data management), recently observed that the local vendors, from whom she had purchased a ‘salwar’ piece for Rs 499, was selling the same piece for a much higher price online. “This by itself explains that things are sold at exorbitant prices online.”
Smitha adds that once one visits an online retail site, it keeps popping up as advertisements on any webpage they visit later. “These act as constant reminders and entice one to purchase things” she adds.
After spending a significant time surfing through an ongoing sale, there is also disappointment when one doesn’t buy anything especially after hearing tales of others having bagged ‘good offers’.
“This by itself makes you things you buy things you don’t necessarily need. Online shopping always has many marketing tricks. The sales period includes combination offers that add to the confusion,” says Sushma Ramesh, a homemaker. She adds that most of these websites come out with offers — like asking you to buy a certain item with another to get a third product free of cost.
“The offers are so catchy that often you forget that you might not need the initial items you are paying for in the first place. The prices of products are hiked during the offer period and then slashed to make one feel good about their purchase,” she adds.
Sushma adds that there are other hitches as well. Like items not being of the same description, quality or even worth as showcased. “Though the comfort of browsing through sites and shopping at one’s luxury is enticing, these often lead me back to do conventional shopping,” says Sushma.