There's simply no need to pay retail prices these days. In our top tech discounts series we're outlining the myriad of ways in which you can pay less for technology
The appeal of the online auction site is hard to ignore, but remember to do your homework. Plus, we wrap up our tech discounts series.
The effect of eBay on conventional retail models cannot be underestimated: by connecting sellers with buyers around the country, it has opened up significant new opportunities for discount hunters and can be a great place to get amazing bargains. Drop by www.ebay.com.au
and search for the product you want, and you'll get a sense of its used price and a Buy Now price that's likely to be competitive with the price you've already gotten.
Be careful to check the organisation's particulars, however: many overseas sellers use eBay to sell goods to Australia and do a great job of it, while others take advantage of the distance to handily separate you from your hard-earned. Check ratings from past buyers, keep track of and frequent stores that give you good service, and remember the old adage – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you like the auction model for tech stuff but are leery of eBay, it's worth checking out www.graysonline.com
, the online home of real-world auction house Grays. Buried amongst the cranes, kayaks, whitegoods and tiles are a range of electronics goods at what can often be good prices. Just read the descriptions carefully, since many lots are refurbished or ex-lease goods that may sell for more than they are, objectively, worth.Pros: Excitement factor; comprehensive catalogue of products
.Con: Act as a shopfront for individual sellers (in the case of eBay), who aren't always necessarily reliable
Traditional retailers aren’t happy at the increasing number of alternatives providing technology at lower prices. Retail magnate Gerry Harvey recently slammed Australian consumers' ability to buy discounted electronics items under $1,000 from overseas without paying GST.
Harvey eventually backed away from the controversy he created, which rallied consumers against a retail industry that had long used Australia's physical isolation and exchange rate to justify charging consumers far more than the US dollar equivalent. This effect has become more pronounced recently, with the Australian dollar at parity with the US dollar but local gadget pricing still broadly higher than comparable overseas prices.
Retailers have fought back with other justifications for the higher prices locally, but a well-educated and price-sensitive population is no longer listening: when it comes to commodity industries, the internet has provided an easy option for shoppers that favour the discounts of overseas retailers over the convenience and tactile experience of shopping at home.
Bookselling giant Borders' recent move into administration was a tangible reminder of just how much things have changed, as empowered consumers move online to find discounts on the products they want. In a global market that now frees retailers to build their own low-cost model anywhere they like and sell to consumers anywhere, discounts talk and customer loyalty walks. These days, price-conscious consumers are more likely to use retail stores as a de facto showroom, where they can touch and play with gadgets they will then go home and buy online.To review all the ways we've outlined to save money when buying tech, see here