People often ask me, how can I know I have got a good price, or a bargain on Tech Products? Read on for my Tips ‘N Tricks…
So you’ve read Part 1, and have chosen your Software or Hardware based on a considered assessment of Features, Capability, Performance and budget right? Now you want to get out and buy buy buy! Here’s Part 2, where I look at how you can save the most $ on your purchase, and maybe even stretch your $ to reach the next item up that you thought was just too much for your budget!
Step 3. Research (again).
Research you ask? Before you even leave home (yes close the door and sit back down) – if you head out to buy that new piece of software or hardware right now – your still basically going to get an impulse buy in the $ you spend. If you take that little bit of extra time now, it can REALLY pay off.
The Internet comes to our aid again, with any wealth of online resources to help keen-eyed shoppers:
* The Daddy of them IMHO for all tech gadgets is: Static-Ice.
This website will search based on your keywords for the lowest priced online match for the product name, code or details entered, reporting back results from the majority of online stores in Australia (not the major names like Harvey Norman, Good Guys etc). Here’s an example of their results for a Kingston 16GB Class 4 MicroSD card.
Straight away, you now have a quick sample of online stores at the lowest price-range for this item. Clicking on each link will generally take you into that online store, to the item chosen (sometimes links wont work quite correctly). This is a fantastic tool for checking your prices against – as it generally offers the bottom-price range the item is usually available for. Sometimes these stores only have online outlets – so be aware of the extra cost of factoring in freight to your destination! There are also other less effective tech price checkers such as Shopbot and others you can Bing/Google.
As a shortcut, you can often use the lowest price for the nearest store to you that also sells from a shopfront to get some of the major retailers to price match too – for instance at the Good Guys, Harvey Norman, Harris Technologies etc. Just ring them, or take a printout of the online store page (showing IN-stock – people are not likely to match if the item is out of stock) and ask them to match. Remember nearly all small to medium independent tech stores will charge surcharge if you pay by credit, so this may be mentioned by the retailer you are matching at when you wheel out your card.
As an extra bonus, if the tech item you are buying is also an item that is stocked by OFFICEWORKS, then they carry a Price Matching guarantee – with a further 5% off if a lower price elsewhere. Nice! Just check their website HERE for terms and conditions to be aware of.
* eBay – I don’t think I need to say much about eBay, it’s…..eBay! Paypal has buyer protection being the preferred payment method. Check seller feedback closely, and always ask for clarification of any details PRIOR to purchase, checking postage costs, multiple item discounts, any other fees etc etc.
* Overseas buying (stores or eBay sellers). Parallel Imports. Parallel imports are official products for distribution in regions outside of the local country. An example is a model of camera, sold into Hong Kong that is then re-sold in Australia at lower than the recommended retail price here.
When buying tech products from overseas, considerable bargains can be had. However there are many traps for the unwary.
- Warranties; Tech products purchased from overseas may not have international warranty cover, meaning the warranty may either only apply if returned to the country bought in or originating OR may actually be rendered invalid by overseas sale and use. Check carefully.
- Power Compatibility. Many mains-powered devices bought overseas will have power connections for that local country – and may not work on Australian 240V. Consider also, any adapters you wish to use, as you need to ensure the power transformer’s incoming Voltage accepts 240V via an adapter, or you can blow the transformer or even the device. A good resource with more info is here
- Make sure you are getting what you paid for – e.g. brand new (not reconditioned or 2nd hand).
- Import Duties and GST charges. Goods purchased overseas are subject to any relevant taxes or duties for the country of sale. Goods delivered to Australia are Duty and GST free – as long as the Delivery (ie overall package(s) delivered in one delivery, not individual item where multiple are delivered) totals <$1000 of retail value. Over this, and you will need to declare the item. More info here
- Region coding – Console Games (PS3, XBOX etc) – Console Disc Playback (PS3, XBOX), Other players: DVD’s, Blu-Ray’s, some software etc are generally all sold with region-restrictions. Click on the link for each in this dot-point to go to Wikipedia or similar link and check which region/games/discs will work with your country (eg Reg 4 for Aussie DVD’s and Region B for BD or Bluray).
- Freight charges and delivery times. Make sure you are aware what the full freight cost is and your options re: timings. USPS (Us postal website) can be used to check charges – as small cost items can sometimes double in price from the US or Canada because of the higher freight costs to Australia.
* Foreign website-stores. Be aware that not all overseas sites will allow the use of A. An Australian Credit Card and/or B. Shipping to Australia. The best US based stores for tech products are:
- Amazon US (sell limited product range for shipping to AUS – eg Books, DVD’s Blurays etc).
- Bestbuy (Now allow use of an Australian Credit Card).
- NewEgg (more restrictive from Australia).
- Provantage (ships to Aus).
* Re-delivery services allow the purchase of goods from countries like the USA based on a domestic (not international) delivery address. They re-arrange the delivery to you and often allow for warranty return cover for a fee. PriceUSA is the most common for USA, (UK option is HERE UKbrandsworldwide) but there are others out there like…….. just hit Bing/Google for more. You will also find reviews and feedback on these service providers, like most other things, at the WHIRLPOOL forums in AUS. Let them be your best friend! There is also a great Parcel Forwarding FAQ and link list over at Never Shopped Out.
* If you know all your region-coding information, or have region free Blu-Ray or DVD players, then you can get great prices from the USA and UK for Discs with TV, Movie, Music etc. With England having the same Bluray region code as Australia – I personally get 95% of all my Blu-Rays from Amazon.co.uk with massive savings available. Look for free shipping deals – like Amazon.co.uk has right now until around mid-May 2011 if you spend >25 pounds…Save over 50% easily compared to local prices like JB and Sanity.
* Books – Try Booko, an Aussie online search engine for cheap book sources. UK tends to be the cheapest price for books into Australia. Other options to try are Amazon.co.uk, The BookDepositoryUK and don’t forget to consider e-books, there can be great savings and convienance factors here. Check out my series of e-books Tips N Tricks starting HERE.
* Finally, for Software – Try using any of the previous online search and research tools. When buying, consider if you want the full boxed edition or simply the program download edition (most help resources are PDF’s or online these days.). MAJOR TIP: Also look into US based software vs Australian software sites. We pay a massive markup here for software and hardware for PC’s etc. Buying a D/L version from the US can save you anywhere up to 50% of the price you pay from the same companies online Australian store. MAJOR TIP 2: Look at the Education/Student-Teacher version of any major software store. Have a child in primary school, high school or University – and you might qualify for savings of up to 80% (or even FREE) on selected major software:
Comparison of selected major Adobe Products via online Aussie retail stores, US store and Student pricing:
How about FREE or MASSIVELY discounted legitimiate Microsoft products:
So research, find your best deals and the shop away. I hope these hints, tips, tricks and links help you to save some money and get the tech product you need more easily.
Link back to PART 1: HERE