The Hoax of Discounted Shopping!!

Black Friday sale, GOSF, Flipkart’s Billions Day Sale, Shopclues’s Flea Market etc etc. We all love these don’t we? Watching a product go on sale turns us on like no other thing does. India is shopping online at a exponentially increasing rate, be it consumer products, electronics or even groceries. If we compare online and brick and mortar retail models from a consumer’s perspective, we will find that these deals and offers are neither better nor worse. They may not actually provide any real discounts or monetary benefits to the consumers. Ecommerce shops have as much hassle as retail shopping has but of course with the convenience of being at home on our laptops, mobiles or tabs.

It might sound blasphemous to say E shopping discounts are worse but it is a fact that we all will realize sooner or later. If you think something that costs INR 1600 at a brick and mortar shop can be given to you for only INR 299 because it is on sale than you are as wrong as Captain Edward J. Smith was when he said Titanic can’t sink. But we never learn from our mistakes, Before Flipkart’s Billion day sale was on we all saw the portal rising prices on all product just to claim that they are offering a bigger discount, which CEO of Flipkart Sachin Bansal admitted later. This is happening all over again and will continue to occur till the online shopping bubble bursts.

Consumer Physiology:- Ecommerce companies are master of Consumer psychology and they very well know how to manipulate and change our perception. Let’s get into some technical terms on what really effects Perception and what perception is actually.

Perception according to Wikipedia “In psychology and the cognitive sciences, perception is the process of getting, interpreting, selecting, and organizing sensory information.” and this tendency of a consumer to search for information makes him/her very vulnerable to marketers. And by using banners like “SALE”, “DISCOUNT” & “ONLY TODAY” they allure their prey to its stupid web pages with filters and T&Cs and hidden Delivery Charges.

Three things that decides perception:

  • Selective Attention
  • Selective Distortion
  • Selective Retention

In short you will only remember the brands name which you see most, you will buy the brand that is more expensive and offering a bigger discount and you will be more happy buying things which claim to be on discounted prices.

This a very Cruel and Effective way of forcing consumers to buy products. Ecommerce companies will keep sending you emails about the great sale that is going on and it will end in 2 days, believe me the sale is on 365 days a year.

Hoax of Discounted Shopping

Marketers have mastered this concept of perception very well and they use it very effectively, I myself just bought a Rs 299 headphones that were on sale for GOSF from Rediff that I later found were cheap imitations. Quality is thus another concern with online shopping. Some of the genuine discount offers may get you a 5%,10% or a 20% off but the rest of the products claiming to give you a 90% off is clearly a ripoff and nothing more. Moreover the quality of these products in these so called “sales” are questionable too, most of these sales are for clearance.

What we buy and at what price is a matter of great pride, we read all review about products, we check different product, we do whatever possible to get a better deal. It all comes to this; We cannot get hypnotized to #72hoursale, #blackfriday, #billiondaysale etc which are more of a bait than real sale. This avalanche of ecommerce will not look for any ethical “Stop” sign, marketers will score a customer anyhow.

Finishing this with a hilarious quote from Louie CK about how we shop :
“ Being a consumer is like a job. You have to make sure you get the best one. If you get a Blu-ray player, you gotta do research. You gotta look at reviews of a player. You gotta go on Amazon and read a really long review written by an insane person who’s been dead for months…..because he shot his wife and then himself after explaining to you that the remote is counterintuitive. “It’s got really small buttons on the remote,”he said… before he murder-suicided his whole family. And now you’re reading it and going, “I don’t know. “I don’t know which one to get, I don’t know. I gotta get the best one.” Why? Who are you, the king of Siam, that you should get the best one ever?
“I’m… Bring me the best DVD…”
Who cares? They’re all the same, these machines. They’re all made from the same Asian suffering. There’s no difference ”