17 September 2012

How to get the best deal on technology

Apologies to my international readers.  This post mentions some sites and retailers that apply only to Australia and New Zealand.  The tips for buying techie products, however, are still relevant no matter where you live.

While there’s been a lot of publicity lately about how we pay so much more for technology in Australia than in other parts of the world, there’s still a lot you can do to reduce what you pay.  Here are my top tips for getting the best deal on technology.

Plan first

Don’t turn up in a shop to buy a new product without having a clear idea of what you want.  If it’s a new computer – do you want a laptop or desktop?  What are you using it for – emails and internet, or will the kids be using it for playing games?  What you plan to use your computer for will determine the size of the hard drive you need, the amount of RAM, and the size of the screen.  If it’s a new phone – iOS, Android or Windows?  

Shop Around

Make sure you check the price at a number of retailers.  Check the prices in catalogues, visit the stores, but don’t buy – yet.  In Australia we are lucky to have a brilliant website where you can compare the prices at most of the major retailers as well as a lot of online stores.  www.lasoo.com.au

On the Lasoo site you can search for a particular product and you’ll be given the product details and prices at all the retailers featured on Lasoo (both actual shops and online) who offer that type of product.  The search results can be sorted from lowest to highest price or vice versa, and also by the date any specials are expiring.  If you sign up to Lasoo you can also isolate the search to retailers that are close to where you live.  You can also view catalogues on the Lasoo website.  Of the major retailers selling computers and other technology, Dick Smith, Seconds World, Apple Store, Deals Direct, digiDirect, JB Hi-Fi, Myer, Officeworks, The Good Guys, BigW, Harvey Norman, estore.com.au, and DCA Computers are all on Lasoo.  When you find some products you like you can save them to your shopping list.  Lasoo is also available in New Zealand at www.lasoo.co.nz

1.     Compare the prices on Lasoo, in catalogues and even in-store. 

2.     Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few retailers on Lasoo, check the price on the retailer’s own website.  Some retailers even vary their prices between stores – Officeworks and Bing Lee do.

3.     Check the price through an online store.  There are some online stores featured on Lasoo, but you’ll find 262 online Australian retailers at www.staticice.com.au. A tip:  you need to be specific on this site.  You’ll need to state the brand and model name you’re searching for, eg. laptop computer won’t get you very far – try Acer Aspire.   ‘Apple computer’ won’t get you any results, but ‘macbook pro’ will.  The results are shown in price order, which means you’ll see page after page of accessories for the computer you specify before you get to the actual computer prices.  It’s not the easiest site to navigate, but if you can specify the exact brand and model of the product you’re after you’ll have more success.

Don’t be in a hurry to buy

Beware of sale prices.  There’s been a few reports in the media about retailers advertising discounted prices on products, but those prices are actually more expensive than their normal prices.  Everyone just assumes that the prices are lower when they are ‘on sale’.  If you’ve been researching your purchase you’ll know what’s a good price and what’s not.

Don’t pay the first price

Once you’ve narrowed down your options and you’re up to the buying stage, don’t pay the price you see on Lasoo, or the price on the product in store.  Visit at least two retailers before you buy and …..

·       Ask “can you do a better price”.  Most retailers are not going to say ‘no’ if you look like you’re ready to spend some money.  That doesn’t mean you go and buy as soon as they quote you a reduced price.  You can go to a few retailers and ask the same question.  Just make sure you take note of the salesperson’s name with the quote so you can go back to them if they turn out to have the best price.

·       Buy at the end of the month.  Most of the salespeople at the big retailers work on a monthly bonus system.  An extra sale at the end of the month could be just what they need, and they may be willing to give you an even better price to secure that sale.

·       Use the information you’ve gathered at these retailers so you can go to Shop A and tell them “Shop B has quoted me this price – can you beat it?“   That also applies to different stores of the same retailer.

When you’re ready to hand over the money

If you’re happy with the price and ready to pay – hold on.  There’s another question to ask….

What else can you include for that price?


Here’s what I’ve been given in the last 18 months, just by asking what else they can include, and that’s after I’d negotiated the discounted price on each product:

·       1 year Norton Internet Security subscription (not a trial version) – value $79

·       In-car phone charger – value $20

·       Surge protector powerboard – value $20

·       Additional two–year warranty – after I’d refused to pay for it – value $60

Each of those products was at a major retailer – Dick Smith, JB Hi-Fi and Bing Lee.

If you haven’t tried asking for a discount at one of the major retailers before – give it a go - you’ve got nothing to lose and your money to save.

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