Get ready for November 11

TaobaoNovember and December are probably the most exciting times of the year for shoppers around the world.

In Asia, November 11 is Singles Day and more importantly, the day where China sites such as Taobao dish out bargains galore. With a little patience and budget, there are tons of deals to consider and snatch. From past experience, many of these deals even come with free shipping.

Next up are Black Friday on November 24 and Cyber Monday on November 27. More options are available on these days as many online stores worldwide are also tapping in to these occasions.

Of course, December is the true shopping month — an entire month dedicated to or rewarding by buying stuff for self and loved ones as the year winds down.

Before you hit the sites, do note these tips:

  1. Know what you want or risk spending time browsing aimlessly.
  2. Know which sites to visit. Prepare a list if prioritise if you have many.
  3. Know your credit card deals. Many credit card companies are offering cashback or other incentives for using their cards. It’s time to grab some of these while shopping.
  4. Know the delivery options. This is especially important if you’re planning to buy them as Christmas gifts. You don’t want to go for free shipping only to have the product arriving after Christmas or worst yet, in the next year.

Happy shopping!

Which delivery option is best?

Choosing a delivery option for online orders cAmazon Primean  be simple or may require a little bit more thinking.

It really depends on how fast you want the product and how much you’re willing to pay.

Online stores usually provide different shipping methods, which in turn determines pricing and speed.

  • Fast and free: Without a doubt, all of us would want this. Who wouldn’t want to get your hands on the latest purchase? This is usually possible only with in-country purchases. For instance, Amazon Prime offers free two-day shipping on millions of items, and free same-day and Prime Now Delivery in select metro areas in the US. The service is free only for 30 days, after which you have to pay US$10.99 per month plus taxes. If you buy frequently from Amazon, this is a great option.
  • Slow but free: If you can wait, many in-country and even some international shipments can be free. With a little advanced planning, this can work out well and save you some money. The key is patience. You must be prepared to wait. When I ordered from Alibaba or Aliexpress from China, I had to wait up to 60 days for free deliveries.
  • In the middle: You’re prepared to wait but not for 60 days, and don’t want to pay shipping fees that are close to the price of the product. Most online stores offer such options so pick one that fits your budget and wait tolerance.

Whichever delivery method you choose, the feeling when receiving that package is the same. The joy. The sense of excitement. The thrill of ripping apart the packaging.

How to get the best deal

 

Torch lightA friend of mine once told me that his purchase is better than mine because he paid more for it. He may be right if the products are of different quality but they were the same.

Not wanting to debate too much with him, I was secretly thrilled inside of me that I got the better deal.

After researching on the product and deciding that it’s what you want, it’s time to look for the best deals.

From experience, it boils down to three things: right shop, right price and right timing.

  1. Right place: The sites that you gathered information on the product may just be the right place. Some e-commerce platforms such as Amazon are massive and can list lots of shops offering the same product. And sometimes, brick-and-mortar shop can have great deals too! My family bought a Nakamichi bluetooth headset for under S$20 (usual price is about S$90) while on a trip to Changi Airport Terminal 4 in Singapore.
  2. Right price: Compare, compare, compare. Don’t buy from the first store or site, or even if the ads are shouting at you from your social media sites. I regretted big time one such incident when I bought something online without thinking twice only to find out that it was selling at less than half the price elsewhere.  Take time to search for the best price. Use the “sort” feature in sites such as Aliexpress.com and Lazada.sg. A word of caution. If the product is too cheap, be very cautious. It may be a good deal or a scam.
  3. Right timing: Timing is important if you’re in no rush to buy. Look out for sales and special discounts. The shop of my favourite football team offers discounts and deals regularly — sometimes even several times a week. I take advantage by looking out for “free overseas” shipping because it can save me lots.

I hope that these tips are helpful. I’ll update them if others come to mind — it’s a learning process and we don’t want others to make our same mistakes.

If you have other tips, do share with us.

The search begins…

 

GoogleAfter the thought of buying something, it’s time to start shopping, right? Well, not quite — for me, at least. I’ll do my groundwork to find out more about the desired item. Here’s how:

  • Use search engine: My first stop is usually Google, which is a treasure trove of information.
  • Visit the online shop: Some shops are not online but the products may be found in e-commerce sites such as AlibabaAmazon and Qoo10.sg, or others like Carousell and eBay.
  • Read reviews: It’s good to find out what people are saying about the product. But, do note that some reviewers can be biased because of personal inclination or maybe the company has incentivised them in some ways. Read a few reviews for a more rounded view.
  • Leverage social media: Sometimes, a post on Facebook asking for opinions on social media can help. Your friends may own the product or have heard opinions from those who have one.
  • Check out forums: The most honest views, in my opinion at least, are found in forums. People are less constraint on the Net and if the product doesn’t work, they tend to voice their opinion.
  • Go to the physical shop: Sometimes, it’s good to see and feel the product before buying. If distance is not an issue, pay a visit to the physical shop.

These are just some of the ways of research that have worked for me. Do share with us if you have more tips.

It starts with a thought…

Grey box.jpgWhen do we start thinking of buying something? Well, it could be the need to buy a present for someone for a special occasion, such as birthday or Christmas. Or maybe you’ve read about a new product that got you excited (think the latest smartphone launch). It may even be just the desire to pamper yourself.

It’s OK. We buy things for different reasons but whatever that reason is, it’s important to put on the thinking cap. After all, if we have to give something, then make it so memorable that the recipient will squeal with delight and remember you for life for the right reasons. And if it’s for yourself, well, it’s even more important because you don’t want to splash the cash without considering all options.

So, buying starts with a thought.

The next step is to consider the recipient. What do they like? What do they enjoy doing? What excites them? What do they need?

For self, it’s easier because there is always a reason, or like we say, 101 reasons to buy something. It can be…

  • A reward to self (just to make yourself feel good)
  • A need to replace a particular item (like a worn out pair of shoes or clothing)
  • A desire for something new (like the latest gadgets)
  • A need for something (like a jacket for winter travelling)
  • A hobby item (think bicycle and yoga mat)
  • A response to the latest email promotion or Facebook ad (like that new Kickstarter project)

As you can see, there are many reasons but each starts with a thought stimulated by our senses — usually our eyes and ears.

Now that we’ve established the line of thinking, our next post will be about the search. How do we start our search? Where do we search? Stay tuned.

 

Why 101 Reasons?

GiftsIt’s been a long time coming and we’ve finally gotten down to doing this. But, the final push factor was when we were looking for a pair of shoes.

Only after an extensive search — trawling the company’s website plus lots more — did we find out that that range is no longer in production. This may sound surprising as the Internet is supposed to be a goldmine of information of anything under the sun. But it’s a true experience that has prompted me to take this step. There could be someone else facing the same challenge as us — and spending as much time to boot.

The 101 Reasons blog is intended to share our experience on our journey in buying things — why we buy them (we always seem to have 101 reasons) and our experience in using them.

Happy reading!