Taking advantage of big retail discounts is something that people have been enthusiastically doing for decades. In times gone by, it amounted to huge lines at retail stores as people rushed to be the first in to grab products at prices that might be a fraction of their normal cost.
While this still happens today on a smaller scale, it’s in the online world where massively discounted products are sought after by not just a few hundred people at a mall – but often by tens of thousands of people at once.
But is buying products at a massive discount a smart purchasing decision?
It’s certainly true that we are more inclined to buy something that we otherwise might not have considered when it’s price point has been lowered considerably less than normal. This could be 50% off, but often much more.
Big yearly sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are anticipated all year by bargain hunters. Many will wait until these very days before purchasing an item that they’ve had on a wish list all year. For those with patience, these sales can bring about hundreds, or thousands of dollars in savings.
Coupons and Deals
It’s not only the once a year sales that consumers jump on for mega discounts. Online coupons and group buys are extremely popular all year round, and some bring massive discounts on all sorts of products on a daily basis.
These so called daily deal offers can also extend to services, as well as physical products. They often work by grouping large numbers of people into a bulk buy arrangement with a company or manufacturer who can then offer a bigger discount at bulk rates.
Regardless of which type of discount is on offer, there can be both positives and negatives about buying products at a massively discounted price.
Pros of buying products at huge discounts
Quite obviously there are some big benefits when you can buy at a huge discount. Something that you might not have been able to afford before can suddenly be made possible if it’s being sold at a price that’s 50%, 60%, or even 80% less than what it regularly costs.
Another strategy that some people have to take advantage of big discounts is to do all the birthday and Christmas shopping when products are discounted. This can lead to potentially thousands of dollars saved over the course of a year and also reduces the stress of last minute shopping – a time where people can easily overspend due to lack of time and desperation.
It’s clear that there are numerous benefits of purchasing products and services at a large discount.
Saving money when you can is something that most people won’t turn down. But when it comes to finding and taking advantage of the best sales, it does take a savvy consumer (or sometimes, just being in the right place at the right time).
Cons of buying hugely discounted products
It’s hard to consider that there might be some negative aspects about buying hugely discounted items and services. But sometimes the old saying “if it’s too good to be true”, can come into play.
While most discounts allow you to bag a bargain without any downsides, it’s still important to consider what could go wrong or what the potential disadvantages could be. This especially applies to higher priced products and technology products.
While not always the case, items that are selling at a big discount can often be clearance stock where a new model or product line is about to be released. This older stock will be sold at a greatly reduced price so store space can be made for the latest models.
Electronics like smartphones and cameras, as well as brand name fashion can fall into this category. While there’s nothing wrong with these items, people who want the latest and greatest can be disappointed to find out that their big savings have been overshadowed by the fact that a new product model is released just days or weeks later.
Another customer service issue that can occur with heavily discounted items is the risk of not receiving a refund or replacement if a product is faulty. While buying from a big store like Amazon can usually remove this risk, smaller retailers or third party sellers might not make it so easy to contact support and request a refund if something goes wrong. Otherwise might outright state as a condition of the discount sale that refunds are not available at all.
Another popular way for people to get desirable and often normally expensive items at massively discounted prices is to buy seconds goods. Particularly for products like whitegoods and other home appliances, it’s possible to save large sums of money by purchasing products that usually function perfectly, but can often have cosmetic damage.
The psychology behind discounts and sales
When a store advertises their hugely discounted products and services, they will often go to great lengths to make people feel like they are missing out on the deal of the century if they don’t take up the offer. This concept is known as FOMO – or Fear Of Missing Out.
This can be a very persuasive and powerful marketing technique, and can often lead people to spend money on things that they wouldn’t have even thought about buying before; simply because the price has been slashed so much and they really don’t want to miss out.
So when looking at a deal that looks too good to pass up, ask yourself: do I need this? Is it worth the potential downsides of purchasing, even if the price is so low?
There’s no doubt that buying products at hugely discounted prices is very appealing. The benefits almost always outweigh the potential risks and you can certainly pick up items that would have been out of financial reach before.
For people who don’t mind waiting until the big sale days, or until stores have a clearance sale, or even buying seconds and damaged goods: there are big bargains to be had out there for the savvy shopper.